Denys Fisher toys & board games

Born in 1918, Denys Fisher was brought up in Leeds, spending his early years living in a railway carriage in a field. He did not shine initially as a youngster, until illness laid him up for six weeks -weeks that he spent in bed with the company of Lamb's Infinitesimal Calculus. Fisher was captivated, and a lifelong passion for logic and mathematics ensued.

Academia was not to his liking, however, and, after dropping out of Leeds University, he joined the family firm, Kingfisher (Lubrication) Ltd, where he developed new machinery to speed up the production of lubricants while also inventing a new way of producing delicate springs. In 1960 Fisher left the business to establish Denys Fisher Engineering in Leeds. The firm had been going for a year when he won a contract to supply to Nato all springs and precision components for its 20mm cannon shell fuses. It was a particularly tough assignment, requiring a small clock-like spring that no other British firm at the time felt confident it could manufacture. Fisher was undaunted, and spent six intensive months researching the mechanism and developing special-purpose machinery.

Duly impressed, Nato awarded him a £50,000 contract to make five million units. The assignment gave him the security and time he needed to pursue a project closer to his heart. The Victorians had been attracted by the idea of using gears and cogs to create patterns, but their modest achievements had largely been forgotten. Fisher had for some time sought to carry on where they left off, and he spent the Christmas of 1962 building, with his family, various drawing machines from Meccano pieces. Unhappy with the results, he shelved the project -until six months later he had his Archimedes moment.

Late one Sunday night he was listening to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and as the choral movement ended he had a vision: the new device would be made out of a series of perforated plastic cog-wheels and racks. He hurried to his workshop where he created his prototype Spirograph from a Meccano cog and a geared ring. He had originally intended to create a draftsman's tool, but on the advice of a colleague, he decided to market his creation as a toy.

Spirography's trippy, floral patterns were ideally suited to the era of psychedelia and flower power. Ovals, stars and rings produced by the Spirograph were soon found on lampshades, embroidery, Christmas cards, and -in its new year edition of 1967- on the front of Punch. In that year a Spirograph was linked to an IBM computer in Australia, which estimated that the device could make a total of 15,625 patterns. It has sold more than 100 million units in 85 countries.

With this success, Fisher was able to sell his company in 1970. Denys Fisher Toys, as it became, went on to produce Dr Who figures before being bought by Hasbro.

Fisher settled in Dumfries before moving to Clappersgate, Cumbria, in the 1980s. He maintained his passion for inventing, and developed another drawing device, the Cyclex. He also worked with Hasbro in refining the Spirograph.

In 1940 he married Elizabeth Stephenson. They had a daughter and two sons. He later married Kate Wade in 1969. They had two sons. He died in Furness on September 17, 2002, aged 84.

Visit Wikipedia for a complete list of his games and toys.

Updated: 18 Feb. 2018

Denys Fisher value and price guide

What's your Denys Fisher worth in 2021? Here are some recently sold items.

Item Title Date Price
denys fisher rare purdey doll new avengers nrfp Denys Fisher Rare Purdey Doll New Avengers Nrfp 10/2021 £500.00
doctor who leela denys fisher box fantastic condition Doctor Who Leela Denys Fisher Box Fantastic Condition 11/2021 £450.00
doctor who denys fisher mego tardis in original box Doctor Who Denys Fisher Mego Tardis In Original Box 10/2021 £222.89
1976 77 cyborg denys fisher cybo invader interceptor 1976 77 Cyborg Denys Fisher Cybo Invader Interceptor 10/2021 £202.97
doctor who fourth dr 1979 figure italian harbert mego Doctor Who Fourth Dr 1979 Figure Italian Harbert Mego 11/2021 £185.74
no pictureSee all sold items on eBay for more prices12/2021£-.--

Denys Fisher forum

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1 comment
Stephen - October 5, 2018
helloI have a denys fisher turbo tower of power spider cycle unused and in box and its the 1st one I have ever seen and want to know bit more about itthanks
Made in the middle of the 1970s, there were different versions: Batman, Spiderman, Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, maybe more. Kenner also made these under license. You'll see mostly Kenner's version. Value: without box around 15 USD, with box I don't know, maybe 50-125 USD (for example the Spiderman has more value).