Bergen Toy and Novelty Company is also known simply as Beton and is one of the most prolific figure producers of the 1950's. They were also the first company to mass-produce figures in acetate plastic (hard plastic). The company began around 1935 with some metal casting molds produced by the company Metal Cast. They produced lead figures before switching to plastic in 1938. Some of the plastic figures, such as the running horse, are adaptations of the Metal Cast molds. Because of the use of plastic rather than lead, the company prospered during the WWII era, when most of the toy soldier companies were out of production due to lack of lead. The company eventually faced stiff competition from cheaper foreign made plastic figures, and closed in 1958. The molds were sold to the company Rel, who may have continued to use some of them.
Beton used two different company names on their figures. The earlier ones, especially figures with bases, had the Beton name on them. Later ones have Bergen Toy & Novelty Co. imprinted on them, often inside a cavity in the animals or on the back of the figure.
Beton also used a trademark on most of its later figures. This is a B with a T through it and the copyright symbol above. This can normally be found on the rear flank of animals or the back of figures.
Over the years Beton produced quite a few wild animals that were either sold separately or included in boxed Circus sets. All of these have the Bergen Toy & Novelty Co. name and trademark on them, even though the boxed Circus sets had the Beton name on the cover. In figures there were only four poses used in the circus sets: Lion Tamer, Clown, Ballerina, & Newsboy. The Ballerina appears as a figure on a stand, and also on horseback. There was also a moose included in these circus sets.
Beton created three different sizes of horses in a variety of poses, and an even greater variety of riders.
Besides circus and horse figures Beton also produced railroad figures and farm animals