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History of the JAJ JATO PEPE Toys

Posted by Nelson 22/07/2017 0 Comments

The production of the first traditional toys in Portugal started in 1921 in Alfena.

The first toys made of tin "tin foil sheet" were the bagpipes with wing, followed in 1923 for the first baby rattle, which contained small stones inside originating from the Leça River banks in Alfena, made by craftsman José Augusto Junior "JAJ".

In 1928, along with sheet metal, "JAJ" starts manufacturing wooden toys.

In 1940, an employee of "JAJ", named Armindo Moreira Lopes using tools and templates provided by "JAJ" continues with the manufacture of sheet metal toys under the brand "AML" and also creates new models like the Flea Car, the Pointy car and the Bugati Car. These toys that were transported by "Carreteiras", two women carrying trays on top of their heads boards to the head, to the train station in Campanhã (Oporto), so as to follow their destination. Armindo Moreria Lopes carried on with its production until 1975.

During World War 2, there was shortage of sheet metal, and this led old cans to be sourced from scrapyards so they could be recycled and reused in the manufacturing of toys.

Since its beginning and until the year 1945 the transport of "JAJ" toys was made by a bullock cart from Alfena to Ermesinde and Campanhã (Oporto), where the railway allowed toys to be distributed all over Portugal.

It was mainly for this reason that in 1946 the "JAJ" company moved its production to the nearby town of Ermesinde, and changed its name to "A industrial de Quinquilharias de Ermesinde", where this artisan invented the "steel ribbon rope winding" and became the first to produce a toy moved by this locomotion system.

In 1955 this company changes its name to "Fábrica de Artigos em Plástico JATO de José Augusto Júnior", and starts to use the brand "JATO" in a mix of toys made of sheet metal, plastic and wood. This factory had the first mold injection machine with levers in Portugal and employed around 90 workers, making it the largest toy creator and producer in Portugal.

Toys continue to be produced under the "JATO" brand up until 1969, when an employee called Manuel da Rocha Ferreira leaves the company, taking with him the exclusive production of wooden toys.

In 1977, José Augusto Junior ceased his activity and passed it on to his two sons who had always accompanied him. This lead to the creation of two new brands "JATO" and "PEPE".

These successors carried on their father's legacy, who died in 1984, perfecting and developing his production, creating new all plastic models, and by 1983 they moved the production back to theis hometown, Alfena, where they created a new factory in order to increase production.

From 1983 to 1994, the two brothers try to maintain their family tradition, but due to the economic crisis they had to stop producing some toys and start producing various parts for industry. By the end of 2007, for health reasons, they decided to pass the company on to five of their sons and nephews.

Since the year 2008 these new owners have continued the path of their family, resuming the production of antique toys due to demand of some craft shops and collectors. Some of the toys that are currently in production are the Mercedes Taxi, VW Beetles in their various versions and VW Vans.

These toys can be found here, at Almatoys.

Tags: History

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