Matchbox is a brand of toys belonging to Mattel.
Matchbox name appears in 1953 as a mark of the British toy company Lesney, founded by Leslie Smith and Rodney 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 an employee of Smith, John Odell, called “Jack”, produces a thumbnail to his daughter that it could take him to school easily. The miniature is made at the level of a matchbox.
Matchbox toys were so named because originally models were packed in boxes like matchboxes. Matchbox name became the generic name for any miniature measuring approximately 2.5 inches (6.5 centimeters) in length, regardless of brand. In the 70s, matchbox gave way to conventional packaging, plastic and cardboard used by other brands such as Hot Wheels Packaging in matchboxes was recently reintroduced to the collector market.
The Matchbox / Lesney factory was a major undertaking in Homerton, East London, although in 1990 the company moved to Rugby, Warwickshire in the West Midlands.
Lesney company went bankrupt June 11, 1982. Goods company were sold and resold, and finally was bought by Mattel, maker of Hot Wheels.