The W. Britain brand name of toy and collectable soldiers is derived from a company founded by William Britain Jr.
a British toy manufacturer, who in 1893 invented the process of hollow casting in lead
and revolutionized the production of toy soldiers.
The company quickly became the industry leader, and was imitated by many other companies
such as Hanks Bros. and John Hill and Co.
The style and scale of Britain's figures became the industry standard for toy soldiers for many years.

In 1907 the family proprietorship, William Britain & Sons, incorporated as Britains, Ltd.
The Britain family controlled the firm until 1984 when it was sold to a British conglomerate, Dobson Park Industries.
They combined the operations with an existing line of toys and renamed the company Britains Petite, Ltd.
During the first half of the 20th century, Britains expanded its range and market. By 1931 the firm employed 450 at its London factory.
The catalogue had expanded to 435 sets and twenty million models a year were being produced.

In the early 1950s Britains was associated with W. Horton Toys and Games which made the diecast Lilliput ranges of small-scale rather generic cars and trucks and other vehicles. Later, Britains acquired Herald Miniatures, plastic figures designed by Roy Selwyn-Smith. The company was also known for its American Revolutionary War soldiers.

Also in early 1950s, one of the first Britains vehicles was a Bluebird land speed record car of famed driver Sir Malcolm Campbell. It had a removable body and the box showed a detailed cut-away illustration of the car.

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