This blog discusses old toys from the early 1920's to the end of the 1950's. All kinds of topics are discussed.
The time span was the greatest period for "hands-on" toys, where a young child could actually go outside and play for hours at a time.
You can see the elegance but simple design of these toys. It was a time when huge machines, and people made and finished toys by hand.
The era has long passed, but many of the toys are still around, and that is what I would like to share.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
More Lesney Matchbox Toys
Friday, December 8, 2016 Sun with Cloud -4 Celsius 21 Fahrenheit
Matchbox is a very small type of toy that literally fits into a matchbox, hence the toys are called Lesney Matchboxes. The original company was started by 3 people, Leslie Charles Smith and Rodney Smith and Jack Odell (who subsequently left) started the company in 1953.The company name was devised from the partial first names of the two Smiths. Their first best seller was the toy model coach of Queen Elizabeth II, who made her coronation travels in the original coach . This sold more than a million toys.
The impetus for the size of the toy was based on Jack Odell's daughter. Children in her school were only allowed to play with toys that would fit into a matchbox. Mr. Odell had one of those "Eureka moments", and got the idea to manufacture toys that would fit the size of a matchbox. The first toys were the Elizabethan coach, a dump truck, and a cement mixer. Subsequent toys were mostly modelled after British Cars, with future models being American, and even included farm machinery, and busses.
By the end of the 1960's, major competitors, such as Mattel USA) started to compete with Lesney. Mattel's small toys were called "Hotwheels" and were quite popular. They weren't as realistic to scale or design to those of Lesney, but children all over the world wanted them. Eventually Lesney went into bankruptcy, were bought up by an other company, which also went bankrupt, and Mattel in 1997 came to own the Lesney brand of Matchbox.
Like all collectibles, the Matchbox toys are in strong demand, and sell for a fair amount of money on ebay and other toy-selling websites. Some of the Matchbox toys can demand up to $ 5000.00 USD or more!