The history of Fernand Martin toy manufacturer in Paris.
Part four: The Victor Bonnet period.
In the most relevant books about Martin are the toys that are made by Martin and his successors divided into four periods.
According to the latest state of insight, these periods might be classified as follows
Period 1 from 1878 – 1894
Period 2 from 1895 – 1912
Period 3 from 1912 – 1919
Period 4 from 1919 – 1933
The fourth period from 1919 – 1933:
François Victor Bonnet:
Born November 30, 1872 – Paris 6ème
Died 21 November 1951 – Vincennes – France
From 1896 to 1905, He held the grand bazaar, rue de la constitution in Avranches then back to Paris.
Francis Victor Bonnet took over the Martin company on March 29, 1919.
On the left-hand side of this original old leaflet from the late 1930s, the Victor Bonnet & Cie factory is mentioned from 1921 till 1937.
See under “anciens etablissements” (translated: former facilities).
The text on the leaflet also states that the factory of George Flersheim existed from 1913 till 1920, so until 5 years after his death, but that isn’t correct.
The reason for this false statement, made by the designer of this leaflet, may be due to the following dates:
In the “Register Analytique” of the Paris Commercial Register is states that the Victor Bonnet factory official is registered under the number 92537 date: December 29, 1920, so almost 2 years after the acquisition in 1919.
Le “Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés” (RCS)
The RCS is introduced in France by the law of March 18, 1919, supplemented by the decree of March 22, 1920 creating the RCS.
This law required all French and foreign companies to be registered in this register from 1920 on.
This Registre Analytique is a officializing that Victor Bonnet & Cie, which was created in March 1919, was registered in 1920 under number 92537 to comply with this law.
The RCS is both a registration system organized by the public authorities in view of making certain legal acts known to interested third parties and a means of knowing officially the existence of French or foreign traders with either their main establishment or a branch in France.
New traders has one month after the opening of his business to register.
The Victor Bonnet Factory started the production in 1919
In a French patent application (patent number 576,723) for the first Victor Bonnet toy produced (Auto Transports model: Le Déverseur , number 246) mentions a date of April 12, 1921, the publication was on August 25, 1924
The patent application in Germany was on April 21, 1921 under patent number 363805
But many manufacturers have already started production from or before the moment of applying for a patent.
There were sometimes many years between the application and the final commitment and publishing.
The date 1937 mentioned in the leaflet is the end of the Victor Bonnet period, on 30 December 1937 Victor Bonnet donated the factory to his two sons Robert and René, the company name was changed to Bonnet Fréres (Bonnet brothers).
In addition to the F.M. logo came the new “Victor Bonnet et Cie” logo.
Often only the “Victor Bonnet et Cie” or “V.B. & Cie” or “V.B.” logo was used on packaging, bills, letters, toys etc.
In addition to the beautiful and often technically high-quality toys that were designed by themselves, they also produced many successful older models of toys from Martin and Flersheim.
Here the list of toys we know, produced in the period on the 88 Boulevard de Menilmontant From 1919 up to 1933.
246 Le Déverseur
247 Le Pan Pan
250 La Remorque
251 Le Ramier
252 L ‘Homme Toupie
253 Le Clown Orchestre
254 Le Train Tortillard
255 La Charette Paysanne
258 Le Pétard
259 L’Entraineur “Skiff”
260 Madelon Casseuse D’Assiettes
261 Gros Camionnage
262 Tape Fort
263 La Patinette
264 Le Sans Balle
265 Voiture Nounou Poupon
266 Le Costaud
And a few names of toys, whose numbers are not yet known to us: ( and do you know any of these numbers? Please let me know )
??? Le Epervier ( Flying disc launcher )
??? Le Corsaire ( a pistol )
??? Auto-fusée ( a race car )
Below are some of the old successful toys by Martin and Flersheim that were produced by Bonnet again:
L’Ours Blanc number 193 ( bear in white )
Le Pompier L’Echelle number 197 (with another ladder)
La petit Marchande number 185 (with a different face)
Le petit Livreur number 224
Le Motocycliste number 231 (with closed wheels)
Le Gai Violinist number 160
La Pochard number 172
Madelon Casseuse D’Assiettes number 260 (with fabric clothes)
But these toys can always be recognized by the typical Bonnet key
Victor Bonnet & Cie has been administratively dissolved in 1933.
So its entry in the official administrative records has been then deleted.
During these administrative dissolution process some of Victor Bonnet & Cie’s assets were transferred to Victor Bonnet’s privately held company that had been installed 8, rue des Tourelles in the early 1920’s
This Victor Bonnet’s privately held company was producing household items.
It is also very likely that Victor Bonnet’s privately held company (8 rue des Tourelles) acquired in this liquidation process not only the rights of the tin automatons but also the corresponding tooling equipment to produce them at the 8, rue des Tourelles facility.
Until the end of the factory at the old location, Victor Bonnet still used the old Fernand Martin logo and on one of his bill’s shows that he also advertised that he had over 200 Patents, additions and deposits in France and abroad, but that includes the patents from Fernand Martin, George Flersheim and Victor Bonnet.
With the relocation of the production of the Victor Bonnet factory in 1933, the Fernand Martin 88 blv Ménilmontant period was also closed.
Victor Bonnet started a new numbering after the relocation, he started with number 1: a light green awning torpedo truck .
After the relocation the logo “Victor Bonnet et Cie” disappeared in favor of the logo “Vébé”
This logo was already used from 1929, for the household items produced in the location: 8, Rue des Tourelles, Victor Bonnet also no longer uses the old FM logo and the triangular logo with no 138 underneath after 1933.
They continued to produce some of the old toys after 1933 with the logo “Vébé”.
On December 31, 1960, Bonnet received the addition “S.A.R.L.” (Société à responsabilité limitée) Translation : Limited liability company, but in 1964 the company Bonnet finally closed.
Special thanks with the help, texts and image I received from Francois Mesqui
With this description we conclude the series of four articles about the history of the Fernand Martin toys.
All toys with without reference are from my collection