Scalextric came from the Scalex brand of Minimodels Ltd, which was a clockwork powered race car system that first appeared in 1952. Their inventor, Mr B. Francis, showed Scalextric (“Scalex” plus “electric”) cars at the annual Harrogate Toy Fair in 1957. In 1958, unable to meet demand for their popular range, the parent company was sold to Lines Bros Ltd, who operated as “Tri-ang”. Their subsidiary Rovex, which specialised in plastic, then developed Scalextric, converting the metal cars to the easier and cheaper to mould plastic. The track, which was originally a rubber compound, became moulded plastic at a later date. Production continued at Mini-models in Havant until 1967, when it moved to Rovex’s own site.
When Lines Bros collapsed, their subsidiary Rovex-Triang, which handled Scalextric and the Hornby railway brand, was sold off, eventually becoming Hornby Railways. Although Scalextric remained based in the UK, most of the products are made in China.
Results were hit in 2007 by the closure of the Scalextric Race World retail store in Tacoma, however Scalextric-USA created a store front in Auburn, WA showcasing Scalextric slot cars, tracks and accessories.
Corgi Toys first appeared in July 1956, manufactured by Mettoy Playcraft Ltd. in Swansea, Wales, as direct competition to Meccano’s Dinky Toys model vehicles, which had dominated the British toy car market for many years.
The Mettoy company was founded by German emigree Philip Ullmann in 1933 who set up a business in Stimpson Avenue, Northampton, England. Ullmann had twenty one years experience running his own toy company called Tipp in Germany, and he was soon joined by South African born German, Arthur Katz who had worked for him there.
Info gleaned from Wikipedia
The Transformers is a line of toys produced by the American toy company Hasbro. The Transformers toyline was created from toy molds mostly produced by Japanese company Takara (now known as Takara Tomy) in the toylines Diaclone and Microman. Other toy molds from other companies such as Bandai were used as well. In 1984, Hasbro bought the distribution rights to the molds and rebranded them as the Transformers for distribution in North America. Hasbro would go on to buy the entire toy line from Takara shortly after giving them sole ownership of the Transformers toy-line, branding rights, and copyrights, while in exchange, Takara was given the rights to produce the toys and the rights to distribute them in the Japanese market. The premise behind the Transformers toyline is that an individual toy’s parts can be shifted about to change it from a vehicle, a device, or an animal, to a robot action figure and back again. The taglines “More Than Meets The Eye” and “Robots In Disguise” reflect this ability.
Info gleaned from Wikipedia
Action Man commercial from 1978. This advert features Action Man and all the ‘Transport Command’ accessories to accompany him.
Palitoy (from 1968 to 1980, a British subsidiary of General Mills) was the UK licensee for Hasbro Industries the company grew out of a plastics firm established by Alfred Edward Pallett in 1909 and went on to become one of Britain’s leading toy manufacturers until its ultimate closure in 1984.
In the early years Action Man competed with the entirely British Tommy Gunn by Pedigree Toys who were the producers of the Sindy doll. The Tommy Gunn figure copied aspects of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe, released two years earlier in the United States. Regardless, Tommy Gunn was generally regarded as a higher quality in terms of equipment and accuracy of accessories, especially since the Action Man of the sixties was little more than a re-packaged G.I. Joe. However, he was (more…)