George and Joseph Lines founded their company, G & J Lines in 1876. Based near London’s Caledonian Road it soon grew to become the largest toy manufacturer in Britain. In 1919, returning from the Great War, Joseph Lines' three sons William, Arthur and Walter, who had worked in their fathers' company since leaving school, took over the running of the business and by 1924 they had relocated their still rapidly expanding company to Merton, South London.
Because a triangle is made up of three lines they registered Tri-ang Toys as their brand name. By 1931 they employed over 1,000 staff and even purchased Hamley’s, the famous London toy store. Soon after, they registered Pedigree as the name of their subsidiary doll-making business and also established International Model Aircraft Ltd with the brand name FROG (flies right off the ground). Non-flying models such as cars were manufactured under the brand name Penguin (a non-flying bird – geddit?)
Founded in 1946, Alexander Gregory Vanetzian’s Rovex Plastics Ltd, specialised in toy trains. Because Lines Bros were looking to expand into railways they purchased Rovex and began selling their new range as Tri-ang Railways from 1951, moving the new subsidiary, Rovex Scale Models Ltd to a new factory in Margate, in Kent, in 1954. Later this factory would become home to Airfix when it was acquired by Hornby Hobbies.
Tri-ang introduced the first 'Battlespace' model in 1957. A slow burner with just seven models at first, it took off in a big way during the Tri-ang Hornby years (in 1964 Tri-ang purchased Meccano, the then owners of Hornby), reaching its peak with over 20 models by 1967.
Sadly, Lines Bros went bust in 1971.
Rare mint in shrink wrap Tri-ang Battle Space! Tactical Rocket Launcher complete with a squad of 7 Battle Space Commandos, one of whom can be seen in the small window.