Palitoy was a British toy company that was based in Coalville, Leicestershire. 

Palitoy sold some of the most popular toys ever made, such as Action Force, Action Man, Care Bears, Play-Doh, Star Wars and Tiny Tears. They made toys between 1937 and 1985.

In 1966 Action Man was made by Palitoy and sold in the United Kingdom. This toy line was hugely popular and continues to be popular today. 

After the release of the film Star Wars in 1977 smaller toy figures were created and were hugely popular. Palitoy made and packaged Star Wars figures from their factory.

Palitoy and other toy company’s realised that smaller figures were the way forward. In 1982 the first Action Force figures were produced by Palitoy. They were based on the twelve best selling Action Man figure outfits. 

On 1st May 1985 most work ended at Palitoy. Out of 585 staff in manufacturing and distribution 327 were made redundant. Manufacturing shifted to overseas. 

Despite the Palitoy factory not existing anymore there are still signs of where it used to be! A plaque was put up by Leicestershire County Council in the Coalville Business Park (where the factory used to stand) and a nearby road was named “Action Man Road.”  

The history of palitoy

In 1919 Alfred Edward Pallet founded the Cascelloid Company in Coalville, Leicestershire. The company was created to produce celluloid and other goods. 

In 1931 Cascelloid was bought by British Xylonite. In 1935 the word “Palitoy” was created as a trademark for their toy division. In 1941 injection Moulding was developed by British Xylonite and used for the Palitoy toy ranges. 

In 1968 Palitoy was sold to the United States company General Mills. Palitoy formed part of Gerneral Mills’ toy division which was sometimes known as CPG Products Corp (Creative Products Group Products Corp).

In 1971 General Mills acquired non-UK rights to Meccano in France from the receivers of another British toy group Tri-ang. 

In 1981 the British toy group Airfix was aquired by General Mills. Airfix were famous for making model kits and model railways. The Airfix kit range and their railways were thus acquired by General Mills. General Mills also got the rights to Meccano. 

In 1984 Palitoy ceased to be an independant business. Its parent company CPG (part of General Mills closed its design department leaving it effectively just a sales and marketing operation. 

In 1985 General Mills announced it would be leaving the toy business. In the United States its toy business was three different companies. Kenner dealt with toys, Parker Brothers dealt with games and Fun Dimensions focused on crafts and model kits. General Mills merged Kenner and Parker brother’s and sold Fun Dimensions. As a result of this Palitoy adopted the Kenner Parker name and withdrew from the model and craft sector. 

On 1st May 1985 most work ended at Palitoy. Out of 585 staff in manufacturing and distribution 327 were made redundant. Manufacturing shifted to overseas. 

In 1985 General Mills’ toy division CPG separated from its parent as Kenner Parker Toys Inc. The subsidiary Kenner Parker was floated on the stock exchange with General Mills shareholders getting equivalent shares in Kenner Parker. 

In 1987 Tonka purchased Kenner Parker (including Palitoy) for $555 million. Due to the cost of this purchase Tonka had to borrow money. This led to Tonka itself having to find a buyer and in 1991 it was acquired by Hasbro. 

In 1994 Hasbro closed the former Palitoy site. The last product there was Play-Doh and this was transferred to Hasbro’s Irish factory. 

In 2016 fans of the popular Palitoy Action Man toy gathered at the Palitoy site to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the toy. In 2017 Palitoy was honoured with a plaque by Leicestershire County Council for helping “stoke children’s imaginations.” The plaque is at Coalville Business Park which now stands on the site of the former factory. 



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