The Matchbox name started in 1953 as a brand name of the British die-casting company, Lesney Products. Lesney's reputation would be moulded by Jack Odell, Leslie Smith and Rodney Smith (hence the name "Lesney"); their first major sales success was the million-selling model of Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation Coach.
Shortly thereafter, Lesney co-owner Jack Odell (b. 1920 – d. 2007) created a toy that effectively provided the final, missing link to the company's future. It was designed for his daughter: her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted a scaled-down version of the Lesney green and red road roller. This toy ultimately became the first of the 1-75 miniature range; a dump truck and a cement mixer completed the original three-model release that marked the starting point of the mass-market success story of the Matchbox series. As mentioned above, because the one defining factor for the toys was that each model had to fit in a match-box, the idea was born to sell the models in replica matchboxes — thus yielding the name of the series. It also resulted in the description of the models' scales being "1:box" (as opposed to more "serious" scales such as 1:87, 1:64, or 1:43).