Lam Leung Tim, Forward Winsome Industries, SCMP article
HF: The Sunday Morning Post of 1st November 2015 contained an article about Lam Leung Tim, whose company Forward Winsome can be traced back to the years immediately after WW2.
The article provides biographical details about Mr Lam from his birth on 30th March 1924 at a hospital in Wanchai. He is now 91 so he has had a long and full life much of which has been spent in the toy industry of both Hong Kong and China.
It is worth remembering that in 1970 HK had about 1,100 toy factories employing about 40,000 people. And in 1972 HK replaced Japan as the world’s largest exporter of toys.
The full story is linked below. Images are by Jonathan Wong and Edward Wong and are courtesy of LT Lam and SCMP.
The SMP article begins: Long before the giant, inflatable rubber duck floated into Victoria Harbour, in 2013, the original, miniature version – just as yellow and buoyant – arrived with a quack in Hong Kong.
“My duck represents a typical Lion Rock story of how we built a global empire from nothing,” says Lam Leung-tim, now aged 91, about his 1948 pet project.
Known as LT Lam in industry circles, the nonagenarian is the sole surviving toy-industry pioneer from the city’s post-war era. With numerous accolades under his belt, the latest being the Industrialist of the Year Award 2015 (to be presented by the Federation of Hong Kong Industries on Tuesday), Lam is proud to see the third generation of his family join his business, Forward Winsome Industries, the history of which can be traced back to 1947….
Later in the article comes Lam’s introduction to plastic in the very early days of that industry in Hong Kong where the first such products manufactured were household goods: His next opportunity came in 1947, when, through a connection of his mother’s, he joined an industrial materials company.
“I advised Norman Young, boss of Yuen Hing Hong, to be an agent for plastic materials from which to make simple products, such as the stands for restaurant menus. With his approval, Winsome Plastic Works was opened at 93 Hennessy Road,” he recalls.
Lam recruited a former dockyard mechanic to build extrusion machines he had designed. Their initial success reignited his childhood fascination with toys.
“My ideal toys are durable and colourful; attractive to children. I studied Japanese toy catalogues and there were chickens, fish, dolls, etc. Then I thought a floating duck would be fun to play with, even in the bathtub. A rubber duck was different from most Japanese toys, which were made of cellulose that was inflammable and breakable. As for the colour, there is an old Chinese saying, yellow goose and green duck. Well, I guess I made a pleasant mistake,” he laughs…
Lam’s story continues so that by the end of 1948 he had saved enough money to start the Lee Man Plastics and Bakelite Manufactory Company in Guangzhou with nearly 100 workers producing simple homeware and toys.
This article was first posted on 8th November 2015.
Source: Hong Kong Toy Tycoons Success Story SCMP 1st November 2015
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