For an excellent outline of the history of Triang and the Lines family's involvement in the toy industry visit HERE.
See also this item on Tri-ang Minic and Tri-ang Minic Push & Go toys.
Below is a brief outline of the Lines' family's business:
- First involved in the production of toys and baby equipment in about 1850. Their first factory was based at Bagnidge Wells and their products were mainly produced in wood. G. & J. Lines was founded by brothers George and Joseph Lines in 1876.
- In 1919, Joseph Lines' three sons William, Arthur and Walter, returned from the First World War and set up a new company (Lines Brothers Limited). The first toys made by Lines Brothers were designed by Walter Lines.
- By 1924 Lines Brothers Ltd. was doing so well it had to move to a new factory in Merton, South London.
- On 4th July 1927 they registered Tri-ang Toys as their brand name in Zimbabwe and I assume the name was registered prior to this date in the UK.
- In 1933 Lines Brothers became a public company with 200,000 shares being issued.
- During the Second World War Lines Brothers stopped making toys altogether and turned all their efforts to producing products necessary during the war. In 1940 the Merton factory was partially bombed.
- In 1945 Lines Brothers set up a factory at Merthyr Tydfil in Wales.
- In 1947 Lines Brothers founded a company in Canada. The trade mark used in Canada was the thistle which had first been used by their father Joseph Lines.
- In the 1950s Lines Brothers also took over Rovex Plastics Ltd., where they produced electric railways. Rovex Scale Models Ltd. moved to a new factory in Margate, Kent, where they produced the Tri-ang railway items.
- In 1951 Lines Brothers purchased fifty percent of the Australian toy company Cyclops which became Cyclops & Lines Brothers (Australia) Ltd. In 1955 Lines Brothers purchased the remaining 50% of Cyclops & Lines Brothers (Australia) Ltd.
- In 1956 Lines Brothers took over an Australian company called Moldex Ltd. This company had produced a range of plastic products and were used to produce the Tri-ang railways items and Pedigree dolls.
- In 1957 Lines Brothers took over the pram company Simpson Fawcett.
- In 1958 Tri-ang bought a company named Mini Models. This company used the trade mark Scalex and had introduced Scalextrics in 1952.
- In 1962 Tri-ang Pedigree launched Sindy. The doll quickly became the rival of the American doll, Barbie.
- In 1964 Lines Brothers bought Meccano Ltd., which included the Dinky Toys range, from Hornby.
- In 1966 Tri-ang owned 41 companies world-wide. Tri-ang and Hornby Dublo Railways were consolidated during this year and sold off the following year to Rovex Scale Models who continued the joint name Tri-ang-Hornby Railways.
- In 1970 Meccano became known as Meccano Tri-ang Limited.
- In 1971, due to failing business overseas and uncertain demand in the UK, Lines Brothers, now the biggest toy manufacturer in the UK, collapsed. Airfix bought Meccano, Dunbee Combex Marx bought Rovex Triang, Triang-Pedigree (which included the Merton factory) was bought by Barclay Securities, the teddy bear range was taken over by Canterbury Bears and the Pedigree production manager Jim Mulholland set up his own factory in Belfast named Mulholland & Bailie.
- The Meccano subsidiary of Tri-ang Toys gained sufficient financial backing to transfer its assets into a temporary holding known as Maofords Ltd., which was later renamed Meccano Ltd. and sold to Airfix.
- In 1978 Triang-Pedigree announced the closure of the company's Merthyr Tydfil factory in Wales, despite a rescue attempt in 1975 with an injection of funds from the UK Government and Airfix.
- In 1983 Sharna Tri-ang Ltd., based at Lumb Mill in Droylsden, Manchester, took over from Tri-ang Toys at Merthyr Tydfil. They launched a new range of toys based on children's TV programs, such as Knight Rider, The A-Team, and Postman Pat.
The New Zealand Connection
- In 1946 Lines Brothers purchased a company called Joy Toys Ltd. which was based in New Zealand. Subsidiary companies overseas helped to solve the problem of increasing tariffs on exportation and to keep prices down. Lines Brothers installed the latest machinery to produce toys from wood, steel, and plastic.
- During 1971, TUBE INVESTMENTS LTD of the UK, having taken over many toy Companies and brands: Lines Bros UK, Lines Bros Montreal, Meccano, Hornby, Raleigh Cycles, Sturmey Archer, Pedigree Dolls, Cyclops Australia, Tri-ang Pedigree, etc., took the NZ company over.
- In 1979, UNDERWOOD ENG.CO.LTD of Inglewood, NZ, purchased the New Zealand Tri-ang and Pedigree brand names and all of the factory equipment in the Auckland Factory, with a further concession to use Cyclops Australia plastic dies, but this last arrangement didn't work out too well and after a few months, Underwoods made new tools for their own use.