Before 1939, the Union was Tri-angs largest export market, but import restrictions and embargoes were heavy after the war. In order to make a start, it was necessary to buy up an existing firm in the toy trade as the South African Government would not allow, at that time, the starting of a "new" industry in this line of business. Tri-ang therefore purchased after several attempts, the Jabula Company in Johannesburg, which had for some years been making metal products similar to our own, though due to lack of proper tools these were of mixed quality.

Jabula is Zulu for "happy"

The factory was small but it had a nice little factory the size of which Tri-ang had just doubled bringing it up to 60.000 sq .ft.  More important ,though, being a South African established manufacturer there was nothing to stop Tri-ang extending, and the first move in this direction was to buy a modern factory on the Mobeni Estate opposite the Durban Race Course. There was no ulterior motive there, but one could, if so inclined, get quite a good view of the horses from one's office window.

Lines Bros (S.Africa) LDt, Bunsen St. Industries, Johannesburg S.Africa.

These works with rail siding were completely devoted to making large metal toys as motor cars,scooters and pedal cars.

The steel cames from I.S.C.O.R. at Veereeningeng.


The workpeople in the Durban factories are almost entirely Zulus. According to Mr. Walter Lines, a clean, upright, self-respecting people, they all worked well. The welfare arrangements in the Tri-ang factories would be the envy of may of our English employees.

At that moment the White population in South Africa is comparatively small, but the expectation of Walter Lines was that as time goes on the native wages would improve and that potentially would become a good costumer for Tri-angs brightly-painted products.


Lines Bros factory, Leicester road Mobeni, Durban, Natal

This freehold land and 2,5 acre factory was devoted solely to Zulu female workers .



The Welfare section was built to Tri-ang's own specifications and with the help of a Durban Architect. Director Walter Lines wanted the best in South Africa. He wanted the factory and their workpeople to be spotlessly clean.

All their Zula "boys" wear special blue overalls, two sets provided and washed regularly.

The Zulu girls in the Leicester Road factory were in white overalls and they took pride in "super whiteness".

All three factories were completely hygienic and their products "match up".



We don't know much about the toys Jabula produced. Collector Peter Jack, sent us the pictures  below     of a 1931 Jabula plane .

I got with it a very very faded picture of the actual aircraft it may have been modelled on  --  a Fokker Super Universal,  callsign  “2S-ABR”  and the only example of this type seen in South Africa. It was operated by Union Airways from Jan ’30 to December ’31 when it crashed at Kayser’s Beach, East London and did not fly again.


BEDFORD Series In South Africa

I am like you. I love the tri-ang toys and have been a collector for many years .I like your web site its very good indeed thought you might like to see some photos of two old models which were not produced in England because of the start of W.W.2.

The press tools were sent to South Africa and produced by a company there known as  'Jabula' They are featured in the 1937 catalogue in England but were not made. The model of the ambulance is (as far as I know) is one of only a very few known to exist.
All the very best  Roy Callcut


BEDFORD Series In South Africa (2)

Collector Peter from New Zealand has this information:

I took some pics of the Triang & Jabula trucks –  they are made from identical parts but the Jabula is made with wheels further apart – so the bonnet of the Triang is higher than the Jabula because the front axle (which can turn/steer) of the Jabula is spread further out & so is lower than on the Triang.

Here is a pic of the two front wheels – the Jabula on right has wheel spacing 1cm wider than Triang – maybe Triang had some narrower axles ? though actually the Jabula wheel spacing looks too wide.

Thanks for the pictures Peter.


Tri-ang Series In South Africa (3)

February 2013 I received an email from Brian Brown, who lives in Pretoria South Africa:

I came across your web site which I thoroughly enjoyed reading especially the info regarding Triang in SA. I had absolutely no idea that the products were manufactured here albeit very few and not to the same standard as in England.

It made me scratch in the attic as I remembered a broken(hand me down) toy my late father gave me as a very young child in the 1960's. I always kept it and really played with it with great love and appreciation as toys were not easy to come by given the circumstances(apartheid)I was raised in.

Brian's Van

This toy was the envy of the other kids in my street because the front wheels could steer.The wheels were played right off the toy, and at the age of 13 when I got hold of bits and pieces of Meccano I put together wheel sets for the toy.  I put it away and basically forgot about it until now. It is in a very bad way rust wise but the words " Triang Delivery" still stands proudly on the sides of the model. If this is SA made I will certainly be in possession of some great history.Hope you can shed some light on this toy.

In 1938 Tri-ang introduced a Motor Delivery Van (No 103/4)

This Motor Delivery Van is exactly to same as the one Brian found in his attic. except the headlights .

 I'm pretty sure Brian's truck was made in South Africa. (1939 - 1947),

although there is a possibility an English family emigrated to S.A. and took the toy with them.



Do you have pictures of Tri-ang S.A. models?

Please send these to me to increase the information on this page.

Also on behalf of other collectors: Thank you



Junior series in South Africa

The Yellow and   Maroon Junior Diesel (see photo below) is actually already Blue and Red underneath and it has gone into SA and been re sprayed locally. The door transfers were masked off and the South African wheels fitted. All Juniors has a typical transfer on both doors, as shown below


300 series in South Africa

The Tri-ang 300 series made in South Africa are different from the U. K. trucks. Enjoy the below fantastic and very rare trucks !  

I received these photo's from three South African collectors :

Tom Southwood , Dallas du Toit and Peter Jack (thank you very much for these pictures)

The grill on the 300 series are similar to the grill Tri-ang had on the Bedford series.

The grill on the S.A. 300 series are similar

to the grill Tri-ang had on the Bedford series.


Another 300 lorry with the original

SASOL delivery.

(Sasol was the last local fuel manufacturer in S.A.)

John and Teri from South Africa suprised me with a very rare Tri-ang  S.A. Mech. Horse and Car truck with the Sasol decals.

Ian Geringer  from South Africa send me the pictures of the same truck in a BP delivery . Thank you Ian!


300 series in South Africa

In November 2015  Collector Cobus Kanfer, who lives in Boksburg , South Afrika, bought a Tri-ang tipper truck.

It is in almost mint condition, he just gave it a good clean. The result: a rare and very good find.

Besides a rare and good find there is something remarkable with this tipper. It is steerable!

Apparently Tri-ang S.A. produced both the steerable and not steerable lorries.

None of the Tri-ang road vehicles had this feature. ( exept the sit and ride series)

The S.A. steering mechanisme is different to the UK mechanisme

Cobus, thanks for your information and pictures!

                                                             steerable                                                                                   not steerable                                           Tri-ang UK steering mechanisme



I restored the paper posters of the S.A. Delivery Van to their former glory. Aren't they beautiful? (no, they are not for sale)

November 2009 the Artic shown below was in auction at Vectors auctioneers in England.

I was surprised to notice that this Van had the regular Tri-ang paper posters at the site instead of the S.A. posters.


Tri-ang S.A. Pedal cars

The S.A. factory also produced pedal cars.

It is very difficult to find pictures of these pedal cars with the S.A. decals.

Below some samples:

S.A. Jeep

S.A. Commander

S. A. Sandtipper

Collector  Paul Gilman from South Africa is the proud owner of S.A. Tri-ang Commander. (this a an equivalent of the Tri-ang Duke)

He restored the pedal car to its former glory and send me these pictures. Well done Paul!


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