Scalextric is a brand which includes slot cars and slot car racing sets. These first appeared in the late 1950s and were manufactured by the British firm Mini models, however, it is currently owned as well as distributed by Hornby.
History of Scalextric
Before it was Scalextric, it was also known as Scalex. This company was based in London and created a range of tinplate toys and models.
In 1952, the company Minimodels who previously owned Scalextric moved to a larger factory and met the growing demand for toy cars in that period. Over 7,000 Scalex models were being produced weekly at the peak of its popularity. However by 1956, just 4 years later sales began to fall. Due to this, the future of both the company and its employees was threatened.
In an attempt to revive the company, the owner decided to start looking at alternative options. After searching, he was inspired by model car racing tracks. However, he wanted to develop the players’ control of the car. This was done to try and increase the sense of competition. His experiments included putting small electric motors into Scalex cars and running them on a model track. Power was supplied by the batteries which were hidden in a little cardboard hut and players had their own on/off buttons in order to control their cars.
At this point Scalex became Scalextric. It then appealed to all ages including both children and adults as it combined speed, competition and Formula One racing. Due to the high demand, the company struggled to keep up with orders, however, the popularity continued.
In 1960, plastic bodies eventually replaced the original tinplate and a year later the production moved into another new factory. Only 3 years later Scalextric was being advertised as the most complete model motor racing system in the world.
Now it is owned by Hornby Hobbies of England and is still producing slot cars and racing sets.