The Tri-ang brand name was created by Lines Bros Ltd which was a British toy manufacturer of the 20th century.
In 1876 George and Joseph Lines founded G & J Lines Ltd where they produced wooden toys including dolls houses and rocking/hobby horses, They had 150 employees, and became the largest toy factory in Great Britain at that time.The first factory was at Bagnidge Wells, near Kings Cross London.
In 1887 they applied for a patent for a toy horse invention.This year was also Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee so the new horse became known as the 'Jubilee Hobby Horse'. Many of G. & J. Lines' rocking horses were supplied to the central London department store, Gamage's, based in Holborn
Joseph was the active partner while George later left the business and went into farming. Joseph had employed his three sons, William, Walter and Arthur as soon as they left school. They were sent to evening classes at Camden School of Arts and attended building, carpentry and cabinet making classes so that they could develop as allround toy-makers.
In 1919 William, Walter and Arthur returned from the First World War. They were full of new ideas and in the same year the three bothers set up on their own to form a new company, Lines Bros. In 1924 they re branded the company as Triangtois -a triangle is made up of three lines (three Lines brothers) and then later changed the name to Tri-ang Toys.
G&J Lines, Lines Bros and Tri-ang Trademarks
Although Joseph's sons had set up their own company, they all remained on good terms.The original firm of G. & J. Lines continued in business until Joseph's death on 31st December 1931, then the company merged with Tri-ang.
The earliest surviving catalogues, which date from the early 20th century, show solid-looking town houses and mansions. A 1922 Lines Brothers Advert (double page) showed that they had 27 different Model Doll's Houses and Period Furniture to match.
These houses were of the highest quality and were built to last. The wallpapers were specially-printed miniatures of contemporary designs.
A Sample of Lines/Tri-ang Houses
Tri-ang sold a large range of dolls' houses, all of which reflected popular taste in domestic architecture and interiors, including cottages with and without thatches, country houses, bungalows, and geometric Modern Dolls Houses of the 1930s. However, it was the range of Tudor houses that proved to be the most popular and these were manufactured for several decades.
Tri-ang also made dolls' house furniture to go with their range of houses, including a period range, and a large number of fretwork kits.
Art Deco Style Houses
These houses are two of a range of "Ultra Modern Dolls' Houses" made by Lines Bros. Ltd. under the Tri-ang Toys trademark in the latter part of the 1930s. They reflected the architectural trends of the Art Deco period in their design.
The 1930's was a busy time for Lines Brothers. They now had over 1,000 staff and they bought the famous London toy store, Hamleys In 1933 they became a public company when 200,000 shares were issued.
During the Second World War Lines Brothers stopped making toys and joined the war effort. They made machine guns and magazines for Hurricane and Spitfire aircraft, as well as shell cases and land mine cases. In 1940 the part of the Merton factory was damaged by a bomb .
In 1946, Lines Bros. Ltd. started on their overseas expansion programme, acquiring Joy Toys Ltd., manufacturers of dolls and soft toys, in Whangerei, New Zealand. This acquisition of overseas companies, which continued for the next 20 years, was necessary for the continued growth of Lines Bros. In 1947, Lines Bros. (Canada) Ltd. was founded. This was housed in a 170,000 sq. ft. factory on the Lachine Canal, Montreal, which was fitted out by
In 1951 Lines Bros purchased fifty percent of the Australian toy company Cyclops, which became Cyclops & Lines Brothers (Australia) Ltd. The remaining 50% of Cyclops was purchased in 1955, and this company in turn took over Moldex Ltd., based in Melbourne. Included in this new acquisition was a range of plastic moulding equipment to produce Tri-ang scale model railways and Pedigree dolls.
1954 saw expansion into South Africa, with the formation of Lines Bros. (South Africa) (Pty.) Ltd. and the take-over of the Jabula Company, Johannesburg. This was followed with new factories in Durban, Natal and Mokeni, producing toys and Pedigree carriages.
By 1966 the Tri-ang empire owned over 40 companies worldwide, These included Hornby, Pedigree, Meccano, Scalextric and Dinky
Between 1971 -72, due to failing business overseas and uncertain demand in the UK the Lines Brothers empire collapsed and was sold off in sections to other companies.
Most of the information given here concentrates on dolls houses but there is so much more to learn about the Lines/Triang empire and it's famous brands and products.