Matchbox (company)

Matchbox is a brand of toys – and formerly board games – belonging to the Mattel Group .


The Matchbox name appears in 1953 as a trademark of British toy Lesney , founded by the dregs Smith ( 6 March 1918 – 26 May 2005 ) and Rod ney Smith. The two men were not of the same family, despite their common name. They were school friends and had served together in the Royal Navy during the Second World War .

The company was born when a Smith employee, John Odell, called “Jack”, made a miniature for his daughter so that she could easily take her to school. The miniature is made on a scale of a matchbox.

Matchbox toys were so called because originally the models were packaged in boxes like matchboxes . The name Matchbox , became the generic name for any miniature measuring approximately 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters) long, regardless of brand. In the 70s, the matchbox gave way to the classic packaging, plastic and cardboard, used by other brands, such as Hot Wheels The matchbox packaging was recently reintroduced for the collectors market.

The Matchbox / Lesney factory was a major company in Homerton , East London , although in 1990 the company moved to Rugby, Warwickshire to the West Midlands .

Lesney went bankrupt on June 11, 1982 . The company’s assets were sold and resold, and eventually were purchased by Hot Wheels maker Mattel .


  • J.-M Roulet (1997). Matchbox Guide (1956-1993) . Publisher: Editions Pratiques Automobiles (EPA) . 125 pages
  • Jean-Christophe Carbonel, 1973-2000 Models Matchbox , History and Collections, coll.  “Figurines and toys n ° 8”,, 84 p. ( ISBN  978-2-35250-187-9 , online presentation  [ archive ] )

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