In a city where railway locomotives were built and exported round the world, it would be no surprise to find model locomotives featuring prominently in letters to Santa Claus. This selection of models from Copland & Lye's catalogue of Christmas gifts for 1909 shows what was available in that year.
The topical toy in 1909 was the model Bleriot flying machine. Louis Bleriot was a French aviation pioneer who, on 25 July 1909, became the first person to fly across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air aircraft. The airplane was one of his own design, designated the Bleriot XI. His flight from Calais to Dover lasted 37 minutes.
Bleriot won the prize of £1000 offered by the Daily Mail for the first successful flight across the Channel. Popular acclaim was tempered by the realisation that Britain now needed to look to the skies as well as to the seas in defence planning.
Reference: Glasgow City Archives, TD128/95
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning
Caledonian House, Christmas presents, Christmas shopping, Copland & Lye, department stores, English Channel, model aircraft, model airplanes, model fire engines, model locomotives, model railways, monoplanes, pilots, toys, trade catalogues, train sets