Thursday, August 14, 2008


In January 1947, two Ex-Servicemen and old friends Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith formed a Company to be called ‘Lesney Products.’ The name Lesney was derived from their Christain Names. The partners astutely anticipated the demand for domestic electrical components, and manufactured these for other companies.
The design and production of toys began mainly as a sideline when the Company was not busy, sub-contracting for toy companies. This gave the partners the confidence to produce their own toys which were then sold through toy factors. One such factor was John Kohnstam whose trade mark was ‘MOKO.’ By late 1948, the first toy – a road roller was produced followed by others. These early Lesney Toys were similar to Dinky Models.
The Company continued to produce toys and by 1953, stimulated by the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, models of the Coronation Coach were released. The success of these, particularly the Miniature, was so overwhelming that Lesney decided to scale down their larger toys to a miniature range. Packaged in a small box about the size, colour and a shape of a matchbox – the ‘Matchbox Series’ was born.

No.1 Aveling Barford Road Roller No.4 Massey Harris Tractors

No.5 Double Decker Bus No.7 Horse Drawn Milk Float No.9 Dennis Fire Escapes

The 40th Anniversary Collection Box design follows the style of the first Gift Set produced by the original Company. The five authentic models re-created from new moulds for this Collection, have been selected from the first 10 models issued from the ‘Matchbox Series.’ This Collection represents the originality and wide ranging appeal of a small toy vehicle which Matchbox Toys and Lesney Products have now been producing for 40 years; including such famous names as Models of Yesteryear, Superkings, Convoy and Dinky itself as well as the “Matchbox Series”.

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