Electric Shaver Museum, Distler exhibition

This is the no-frames/text-only version of the Distler exhibition of the Electric Shaver Museum. To see the photographs in this exhibition, or to visit E|S|M's other exhibitions click here (unless forced, not available for mobile devices with a screenwidth less than 640 pixels).

The companyElectric trains and carsThe shaversSources/literature

The company
The company "Johann Distler KG" was established in Nürnberg (Germany) in 1895. Distler started as a penny-toy manufacturer, specialized in lithographed tin toys. Distler's range of products comprised 500 items. The most famous one was a street organ player. After Johann Distler's death in 1923 his partners took over. In 1936 they sold the company to Ernst Völk, the chairman of the Nürnberger Chamber of Commerce. From 1938 Distler co-operated with Trix, another toy manufacturer (toy trains and construction sets). The Trix company, which had Jewish owners, was "transferred" to the same Ernst Völk as a result of the then anti-Semitic German legislation to ban Jewish ownership of companies.

Electric trains and cars
Just after the Second World War Distler started to manufacture electric toy trains and, later, electric cars as well. Distler's electric Porsche 356 model, produced since 1955, was a beauty. Distler's rather simple printed tin models were usually not sold in specialized toyshops, but in department stores. In the beginning of the sixties, Distler could no longer maintain it's position against the larger and better brands like Schuco, Trix and Märklin in Germany, and for example Dinky Toys in the UK. The production in Germany was discontinued in 1962. The company was sold to Belgium (including the machines and the production rights), where Distler Toys S.A. in Nivelles continued the production of the Distler brand until 1968.

The shavers
During the fifties and sixties Distler produced two battery-powered shavers: the Piccalo and the Tourist. The Piccalo was a very small shaver with a rather large batteryholder, which was used as a place to store the shaver as well. The Tourist did not have a batteryholder; the batteries were inside the shaver. The shavers built after 1962 have a sign "made in Belgium" on it. The sieve-type shaving heads (with two small blades rotating under the sieve) were probably built by a specialized shaver factory in Munich (Germany). The company had small but significant success with the shavers. The shavers were sold in many other countries in Europe, for example in France by CIMAT, Paris, and in the USA by Daro Co., Salem (MA). In the USA the Distler Tourist was sold in a brown version with for example the brand "Barton Globetrotter", and in an ivory version with the brand Mark"69", in a combination package with "Arden for men" pre electric shave lotion. The Piccalo shaver was sold in the USA with the name "Town n' Country shaver". In 1968 Distler's shaver production was discontinued.

Klaus-Peter Huschka, Aus Katalog und Kaufhaus, in: Trödler (DE) nr. 217, Dec. 1997
Phillip L. Krumholz, A history of shaving and razors, Bartonville (IL, USA) 1987
Ludger Spielberg, Trödler & Sammlen Blechspielzeug (special), Gemi Verlags GmbH, Reichertshausen (DE) 1995

Electric Shaver Museum
Please note that this is the no-frames/text-only version of E|S|M's Distler exhibition. To see the photographs in this exhibition, or to see E|S|M's other exhibitions click here (unless forced, not available for mobile devices with a screenwidth less than 640 pixels).
Texts, photographs and illustrations © 1999-2011 Peter de Weijer (E|S|M), unless indicated otherwise. Noncommercial use of the information on this site is permitted provided the source is stated expressly.

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