Matchbox, Lesney

Lesney Products were formed in London, England in 1947 by Leslie Smith & Rodney Smith. They produced a small variety of toys from 1948. They launched the "Matchbox" series in 1953 & the "Models of Yesteryear" in 1965. During the 1960s, Lesney was exporting to over 120 countries & producing around 5 million toys a week. The economic recession of the late 1970s & early 1980s forced Lesney into receivership. The receivers sold the company for 16.5 million pounds to David Yeh, the owner of Universal Toys in 1982. A new company was created Matchbox International Ltd. Tooling and production were moved to Macau. Today, the Matchbox brand is owned by Mattel, creators of Hot Wheels. Some of the tools and dies created in the Lesney era were still being used in the Matchbox line as late as 2007.

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