Lines Bros. Ltd./Tri-ang
Lines Bros. Ltd. manufactured toys in the 1900s using the Tri-ang brand name. When they were at their peak, Lines Bros. Ltd. was one of the biggest toy makers in the world. Arthur, Walter and William Line formed the company shortly after the first World War. They took the name Tri-ang because three lines make a triangle. The company suffered a big blow when the British government deemed toys were non-essential when World War II was beginning. Their toy making facilities were converted to produce weapons for the war effort. Toy production started again soon after the war was over. When they were at their biggest, the Lines Bros. owned 40 companies around the world. These included the Dinky, Meccano and Hornby brands. Financial problems caused Lines Bros. Ltd. to be broken up and sold off in 1971.
Chad Valley is a line of toys owned by the Home Retail Group. The company originally started from a Birmingham printing company started by Anthony Bunn Johnson in the late 1800s. His son Joe and grandson Alfred changed the focus of the company to producing toys. They moved the business to a suburb of Harborne that was in the valley of a stream known as the Chad. This is where they came up with the company name. It was taken over by Palitoy in 1978. In 1988, it was acquired by Woolworth’s until they went out of business. Chad Valley products are now exclusively sold at Argos, which is owned by Home Retail Group.
Britains toy company became famous by producing die-cast soldiers. After this success, they expanded to produce die-cast vehicles, such as military trucks. William Britain, Jr invented the process of hollow casting in lead in 1893. This helped to revolutionize the process of making toy soldiers. He started his company and it wasn’t long until the company became the leading maker of toy soldiers, resulting in imitators such as John Hill and Company and Hanks Bros. The company later bought Herald Miniatures, a maker of plastic figures. In 1966, lead soldier production was stopped because of new U.K. safety regulations. Herald plastic figure production was moved to Hong Kong. In 1997, the company now known as Britains Petite, Ltd. was purchased by Ertl, an American die-cast toy maker. Another American company, First Gear, bought Britains in 2005. They started to sell figures under the W. Britain name. All of the figures they produce are sculpted by hand. Their primary audience is collectors.