A true pioneer of the industry, Dinky Toys began producing diecast toys twenty years before any of the other major players even entered the market. As a result, for collectors seeking out a pre-war antique toy car, Dinky Toys is likely the relics’ manufacturer. Established by Frank Hornby in Liverpool in 1908, the company was originally named Meccano Ltd. and produced primarily model trains and construction sets. In 1933, the company began to sell miniature accessories to complement their train line under the name Meccano Dinky Toys. By the following year, they dropped “Meccano” altogether and officially became Dinky Toys. That same year they produced their first diecast car.
The first diecast toy cars were sold in a set of six cars together: a sports car, a delivery van, a tank, a sports coupe, a truck and a farm tractor. These six cars were cast in lead and were based on a generic version of the listed car. The cars proved popular, and soon Dinky Toys was producing dozens of new models including diecast planes, diecast tanks and diecast ships. For twenty years, Dinky Toys was the only name in diecast cars, until a little company named Corgi Toys introduced “the ones with windows”.
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