I recently came across a copy of The Great Book of Hollow-Cast Figures by Norman Joplin. As the book focuses on British manufacturers, it gives us an idea of which cartoon, comic and puppet characters were popular enough to be merchandised in the UK during the first half of the twentieth century.
A set of 1932 figures based on the comic strip Tiger Tim and the Bruin Boys. Manufactured by Kew.
1951 Sacul versions of Bill and Ben, complete with Little Weed and two terracotta pots.
More 1951 Sacul figures: Rag, Tag & Bobtail; Hank; Billy Bean; Andy Pandy, Looby Loo & Teddy; and Muffin the Mule.
The Bumblies, from 1951. Manufactured by H R Products.
1952 Luntoy figures of various puppet characters, complete with television-themed packaging.
More Luntoy products from 1952: Rag, Tag and Bobtail; Billy Bean; two versions of Hank (the second is actually a unique model made using a prototype mould); Andy Pandy and a Flowerpot Man.
1953 Luntoy puppets of Sooty and Mr. Turnip - the series also included a Flowerpot Man.
1953 figures of the Muffin the Mule and co-stars Peter the Dog, Peregrin the Penguin and Louise the Lamb, manufactured by Argosy.
A selection of prewar figures. In order, we have five versions of Felix the Cat; Dismal Desmond; Bonzo; Pip, Squeak and Wilfred; two penguins, which are probably Pip's Aunt Penny; two variant Squeaks and a variant Wilfred; four Winnie-the-Pooh characters (the set also included Christopher Robin, not pictured); Old Mother Hubbard; the cat and the fiddle; and finally, more versions of Squeak and Wilfred. The book attributes all of these figures, with varying degrees of certainty, to the related manufacturers Pixyland and Kew.
Finally, a selection of figures depicting American characters: a 1935 Felix, a 1937 Buck Rogers set and two 1939 Disney sets, all made by the illustrious Britains; 3 Little Pigs, made by Exella circa 1930; 1951 figures of Peter Pan and Captain Hook, by Sacul; and finally, a set of five superheroes manufactured by Timpo in 1954 (Captain Marvel and his two sidekicks, someone apparently called Icky, and Captain Midnight).