Where it all began

Just for something different I thought I might take a look back at where it all started for Matchbox, not the story of how or why the company began but the first models made under the Matchbox brand, just so we can see how far they have come in 65+ years, now most if not all collectors know the story of how and why it began but for those that don’t you can read a history of the company at the Matchbox Forum website .

Matchbox 01A : Diesel Road Roller

Matchbox 01A : Diesel Road Roller


The first diecast toys made under the Matchbox brand come from 1953 and they were:

01A : Diesel Road Roller

02A : Dumper

03A : Cement Mixer


Like todays toys they are made from diecast metal, but unlike today they were much smaller in size, today the vehicles are made to a scale unless of course its a generic vehicle where as back in 1953 the toys were made to fit inside a match box, hence the brand name.  You will also notice that these were also not just a Lesney product but were indeed a Moko-Lesney product, that was due to the fact that initially Lesney produced the toys and the Moko company distributed them, later this would change to be simply a Lesney product when Lesney bought out Moko.

So looking at the first model released the Diesel Road Roller, this was a scaled down version of a toy produced by Lesney some years earlier and was based on an Aveling Barford Road Roller that you could commonly find on any London street at the time.  With some minor modifications to the design, this model would remain in the Matchbox Series range until 1956 when it would be replaced by a newly cast version of the same model.

Matchbox 02A : Dumper

Matchbox 02A : Dumper

The second model released was the Dumper, the design of this model was based on a similar casting from Condon Products Ltd, another British diecast manufacturer.  This model remained in the range until 1957 when it was replaced again with another similar model. The new casting was 2/8” larger than this original version

The last model released was again a scaled down version of an earlier Lesney casting, this time depicting a Cement Mixer. The Cement mixer was the longest surviving original casting lasting in the Matchbox Series range up till 1960 when it was replaced in 1961 with the Bedford Tipper.

So there you have the first three Matchbox castings ever produced by the company and if we look at what is available today you can still find a Road Roller and Dump Truck in the range proving that these toys and this brand is a timeless classic that kids loved 60 years ago and continue to love today. So with 2023 rapidly approaching, signalling the official 70th anniversary of the Matchbox brand would can we expect to see? I don’t know, but whatever it is I am sure it will include great vehicles and items like these three beauties.

Matchbox 03A : Cement Mixer

Matchbox 03A : Cement Mixer


Collector of Matchbox cars for many years

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