The Buzza Products building at
80 Hotham Parade, Artarmon, in the 1970s.
Photo courtesy Kraus Products
The German-born brothers August (‘Gus’) and Victor Kraus had commenced manufacturing Morse code sets during the war at premises in the Sydney CBD in 1939. In the post-war years they branched out into the manufacture of Meccano-equivalent building sets, which they named Buz Builder.
In 1955 the Clarence Street premises were sold and Buzza Products moved to a new building at 80 Hotham Parade in the Artarmon Industrial Area, which had been built by Gus. The Buzza Products brass plate from the building is held in the museum collection.1
It was a prosperous period for the innovative and energetic brothers. More complex BUZ Builder sets were added to the range and BUZ Gear Sets were introduced, which widened the appeal of BUZ Builder products, which now sold to schools and technical colleges as well as the hobby trade. A plant for pipe cleaners was installed and, in the 1970s, the firm commenced production of a line of professional potters’ wheels, both manually and electrically powered.
With Gus playing a reduced role in the business and increased competition from Chinese imports trading conditions were much more difficult by the 1970s. Following Gus’ death in 1975, his widow Beryl and sons Richard and Michael kept the business going.2 They introduced board games, such as ‘Spin a Word’ and ‘Spin a Disk’, in an effort to find new markets, while BUZ Builder sets were manufactured in New Zealand by Tri-ang Pedigree (NZ) Limited and marketed under the Toltoys label. The company ceased trading and the Artarmon building was sold in 1977. It is still there, operating as a motor vehicle repair business.
Gus and Vic Kraus at work in their
Artarmon engineering works.
Photo courtesy Beryl Kraus
|1||Photographs of the potters’ wheels are included in the collection donated to the WDHS by the Kraus family.|
|2||Australasian Sportsgoods & Toy Retailer, February 1975, p 45,‘BUZZA’ Products Chief passes on’ by Ted Hamilton|