Created in 1952 and introduced to the market by Lesney Products a year later, Matchbox toy cars were originally a die-cast car that were sold in boxes that were very similar to boxes that sold matches during the early days of the product.
The focus of this line of toys was to create smaller cars that were sturdy and durable, as characterized by the early models that were made of metal and didn’t have any interiors or windows.
Invented by Jack Odell, the story behind the invention of Matchbox Cars is quite unique.
Odell’s daughter liked to take spiders to school in matchboxes, so one day he made her a tiny steamroller that she could take to school instead.
Made of brass and painted red and green, the steamroller was loved by his daughter’s friends and so Odell hurried to create more of them. They didn’t cost a lot to make, contained no batteries, and were big enough that they couldn’t be swallowed.
In Just One Year, Odell Was Setting Up a Production Line