from Mall Showcase #58
"Diecast (or die cast, or die-cast) toys were first produced early in the 20th century by manufacturers such as Meccano (Dinky Toys) in the United Kingdom and Dowst Brothers (Tootsietoys) in the United States. The first models on the market were basic, consisting of a small car or van body with no interior. In the early days it was common for impurities in the Zamak alloy to result in metal fatigue; the casting would crack or decompose for no apparent reason. As a result, diecast toys made before World War II are difficult to find in good condition.
Lesney began making diecast toys in 1947. Their popular Matchbox 1-75 series was so named because there were always 75 different vehicles in the line, each packaged in a small box designed to look like those used for matches. These toys became so popular that "Matchbox" was widely used as a generic term for any diecast toy car, regardless of who the actual manufacturer was.
The popularity of diecast toys as collectibles developed in the 1950s, as their detail and quality increased. Consequently, more companies entered the field, including the Corgi brand, produced by Mettoy, which appeared in 1956 and pioneered the use of interiors and clear plastic windows in their models.
In 1968, Hot Wheels were
introduced in the United States by Mattel, to address the complaint
that they had no line of toys for boys to balance their line of Barbie
dolls for girls. Because they looked fast and were fast (they were
equipped with a low-friction wheel/axle assembly), Hot Wheels quickly
gained an important niche in the diecast toy market, becoming one of
the world's top sellers..." READ MORE
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