Krolyn history.

GUIDO KROHN-RASMUSSEN
By Helge Scheunchen

Photo: Leif Pedersen





The firm was founded in 1946 by Guido Krohn-Rasmussen (9th Sep.1896 - 27th Feb.1979). In his youth he had lost a leg and his last years were spent as a blind man at the nursing home Møllegården in Bagsværd, Copenhagen.

Krohn-Rasmussen used his own name for the firm in the beginning. A good friend, Knud Lyngsaa, who was an assistant secretary in the Danish Ministry of Agriculture  quit his job and joined him in 1950. Then the name KROLYN was registered. It was formed by the first three letters of each of the two surnames. Knud Lyngsaa soon left again, as he was not satisfied with the outcome.

When the English came to Denmark in 1945 they unsuccessfully tried to destroy the German industry by declaring all German patents not valid. Now everybody could legally copy products from Germany. Furthermore Denmark was obliged with a lot of cheap aluminium which until then had been very scarce.

It came as sent from heaven. A 150 German airplanes that had been destroyed by the Germans themselves prior to the surrendering of Flyvestation Værløse, all ended up as scrap metal which could be reused!

This is where Guido Krohn-Rasmussen seriously stepped into the picture. He got the idea of casting in this aluminium and he added silicon to make it even stronger. It was a huge success. His son Frits later told that he always had a figure in his pocket when he was a boy. His greatest pleasure was asking big strong men if they could break the figure in their hands. It never happened!

Initially only models of airplanes were made. They were mostly meant to be used for exhibition. Then came the 7,5 cm figures that were mainly copies of Elastolin and Lineol figures.
 


Tom Hutter: Lineol left, KROLYN no. 1205 right.


Indian horses: Lineol left, KROLYN right.


This Lineol indian was obviously a model
for KROLYN no. 1001 Robin Hood. (Here in bronze).


KROLYN cowboys and an indian. All are copies of Elastolin figures.


KROLYN no. 1001 and 1004:
 Robin Hood and Guy of Gisborne.


A selection of  KROLYN´s Vikings.


KROLYN no. 1007 and 1006: Friar Tuck and Allan à Dale.

The introduction of aluminium figures in Denmark was of far more importance though. The figures were painted in private homes as spare time jobs. People wearing glasses would not qualify because Krohn-Rasmussen thought they were unable to do the job properly. The painting was done in shiny festive colours. Unfortunately without use of grounder! Today we see the result of this: Many of the figures stand almost totally blanc because the paint has come off.

The Vikings are the most original KROLYN figures. Some of them are marked 'RØDE ORM' and have a number on the base, referring to the name of the figure. These fierceful warriors depict the heroes from the book 'Røde Orm' by Swedish author Frans G. Bengtsson, who enjoyed enormous popularity in Denmark in those years.  The book was issued both in 1942 and in 1946. It was a founding idea by KROLYN to make portrait figures of boys heroes like Buffalo Bill and Yellow Wolf, Robin Hood and his merry men and the knights Guy of Gisborne and Ivanhoe. Last but not least Hamlet should be mentioned. He was cast in the classical pose saying: ”To be, or not to be!”

Thanks to Leif Pedersens colour pictures of KROLYN´s figures and text, it has been possible for us to show the copying. But it should also be said that Krohn-Rasmussen was convinced that he had acted in good belief when he started production following the collapse of Germany. Not until late in the 1950s a German law-suit seemed to be under way because of KROLYN's copying of Elastolin figures. The trial was never to be though!

In 1957 Krohn-Rasmussen sold his firm to Anne Lise Klinke. Soon after a new owner took over and kept Krolyn going until 1960. Once again, in 1962,  it was sold and hereafter the firm soon vanished for good.


Most of the pictures can be seen in large format in "Gallery".
This article was made  by members of  Figurina Danica.
Translation by tohan, January 2008.


KROLYN no.1206: Seargent King.

Two KROLYN knights no. 1009 with lances in tournament
 (On KROLYN´s copy of Elastolin's indian horse).
KROLYN´s Hamlet.


Copying and production.

That early Danish toy producers copied foreign toys is a well known fact. Another example is Reisler and before that was Fa. Vendelboe's copying of Lineol figures.

The headline below is from an article from 1999 in which Ernst Schnug describes the story of Krolyn. It has some interesting new facts.


          Article in Figuren Magazin by Ernst Schnug from 1999.

Copying.

Like other collectors Ernst Schnug had never been thinking too highly of Krohn-Rasmussens aparantly thievish copying of Elastolin figures, until he began to study the background. This attitude changed to a high degree of admiration for the manufacturer when he learned that he had acted in good faith and fully within the law. He honestly admitted that the early western figures had been copied from Elastolin.




Rights.


According to the Danish konfiskationslov (Law no. 132 of 30/03/1946) all enemy rights to property in Denmark from this date ceased to be valid. Furthermore it is very doubtful that Elastolin's figures were copyright protected in Denmark.

Law-suit.

In 1954, as Krolyn's production had reached a considerable level, a law-suit was imminent. Krohn-Rasmussen put all his cards on the table and suggested he travel to Hausser Elastolin in Germany to sort things out. Unfortunately this voyage was never to be because of the declining health of the manufacturer. Elastolin then decided to drop the case.

Production.

Chaser Ove Andersen has modelled the Robin Hood series. Another line of figures from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen, modelled by sculpturer Hans Ekmann, is assumed never to have reached production. After a slow start the number of figures produced in 1954 totalled no less than  30.000 pieces, calculated from the turnover. A few years later production ceased.

links:
Figuren-Magazin

konfiskationslov (LOV nr. 132 af 30/03/1946)



"Collecting foreign made toy soldiers"
by Richard O'Brian

This book is considered to be the bible of toy figure collection and it covers a wide range of makers from all over the world. Bertel Bruuns research has been the source of a brief introduction to Krolyn.

Besides many black and white photographs of the figures it has a price catalogue for collectors. The prices goes for mint condition copies only. If one has in mind how hard it is to find such figures, especially when it comes to Krolyn, these prices, being from 1997, can hardly be said to reflect the market today.

Another Bertel Bruun article covering Danish figures can be found in "Reisler/Historie".

 




Collecting foreign made toy soldiers,
by Richard O'Brian, 1997.