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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Lines family started making toy models around 1850.

In 1876, the brothers George and Joseph Lines started their business G&J Lines as a wood-based toy maker. Their speciality was wooden horses in various scale sizes up to full-size models used to display saddles. They had also been successful in promoting the rocking-horse. While G&J Lines were focused on traditional wooden toys they did make some wheeled items. Joseph's son Walter is credited with having invented the scooter while at G&J, but was unable to persuade his Father and Uncle to put it into production. G&J did make a horse tricycle (a wooden horse with a tricycle platform embedded in it), The idea of children riding wheeled vehicles that were not an animal - didn't seem to be a sound business plan to the older Lines brothers at the time.

Joseph's (3) sons formed Lines Brothers Limited as a new toy manufacturing company in 1919, when they (Walter, William and Arthur) returned to London after they had all served in WWI. Their new company cleverly used Triang as their brand name which was based on the 3 sided triangle. But, over time they used almost every combination of capitalisation available - Triang Tois, TRI-ANG, Tri-ang, and Tri-Ang.

In 1931, they absorbed the G&J Lines range after their father Joseph died.

As before Walter Lines was the driving force to move the company forward into new markets though. He had shown a real talent for almost everything to do with the toy industry, from design to factory layout. Avoiding the more limited vision of G&J and not committed to any particular approach to toymaking, Walter embarked on a program of acquisitions. Where other companies might have tentatively made partnerships with outside companies, Walter would simply buy them outright. He was a fan of vertical integration. If the Lines Brothers used a lot of paint, they bought a paint company. If they used a lot of paper, they bought a paper company, and then entered forestry to grow their own trees.

When Hamleys, a London toy shop went bankruptp, Walter polled the other local toy companies what they would think if LBL acquired the shop but continued to run it semi-independently. When LBL bought Hamleys they also became the UK's biggest toy shop.

They also bought Rovex, a small plastics molding company in Richmond, and set them up with a new factory site in Margate, to make plastic-bodied model railroad vehicles as Triang Railways.

LBL's Tri-Ang "Spot-On" diecast range were made at a new factory located in Castleereagh, Northern Ireland.

Over their history, Tri-Ang made various tin type/pressed steel, diecast ranges, slot cars and railway vehicles. At their peak, they owned over fifty companies in the UK and abroad, including manufacturing and assembly plants in Australia and Canada. In Canada they were known as "Thistle Toys".

Lines Brothers eventually became a gigantic company and at one time claimed to be the "largest toy company on the World". With three founders, all of whom were brought up in the toymaking business, Lines Brothers' empire just kept growing. The range included the miniature clockwork Minic clockwork tinplate vehicles, larger-ride-on cars, tricycles, rocking-horses, dollhouses, FROG planes, Pedigree prams, Fairycycle bicycles, and Spot-On diecast vehicles as a more upmarket competitor to Dinky Toys.

The Tri-ang brand had had multiple sub-brands based around factories with their own particular products - International Model Aircraft and Tri-ang Railways were two of them. But, the heart of the company always seemed to be the products descended from the G&J Lines range of pedal cars, tricycles, doll houses and rocking-horses.

The 1960s were a difficult time for all of the British toy industry. British companies struggling to compete with US and Japan imported toys. Meccano Ltd went bust in the middle 1960s and Lines Brothers acquired them. They integrated most of their product line into their own lineup, but by this time, some of the factors that had been closed down Meccano Ltd were also an impact to LBL. It was a time of buyouts and rationalisations and venture capital acquisitions, and Lines Brothers finally succumbed around 1971, and was broken up as a company.

With the takeover of Meccano Ltd in the mid-1960s, Triang also acquired Meccano, Dinky, and Hornby (with Triang Railways rebranding them as "Triang Hornby").

The traditional "Big Toy Company" business model began to become less reliable through the 1960s, and Lines Brothers Limited called in the administrators around 1971.
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