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Dolls' Houses
Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern.
Plus furniture and accessories.

The Lines Bros (Tri-ang) Dolls’ Houses Database

This “database” is a photographic archive cataloguing the dolls’ houses manufactured by the English toy firm Lines Bros Ltd from the time the company was founded in 1919 until 1971, when it went into liquidation. 

The large number of designs plus their variations means that many dolls’ houses need to be illustrated; for this reason, the Triang database is divided into three volumes.

The database has been compiled as an aid to the identification and dating of Lines Bros’ Tri-ang dolls’ houses and to provide evidence of original details for restoration purposes. In all, 131 different designs were produced during the lifetime of the firm. Several designs were in production for a long time such as the No 60 (1930 - 1958, although production was interrupted between 1940 and 1946) and the post-war metal-fronted No 50 (1948 - 1971). Subtle but significant variations in the finish of these and other long-lived models help to date them.

The models shown in the database are arranged mainly in chronological order of the year of first production, but, because this a visual guide to identification as well as a history, houses with different model numbers/identifiers but with a similar appearance to an earlier model immediately follow the entry or entries of the model(s) they resemble, to make comparison easier.

Acknowledgements are due to Marion Osborne for her invaluable work in researching and cataloguing Lines Bros’ Tri-ang dolls’ house, and whose “The Book of Tri-ang Dolls’ Houses 1919-1971” (2012) is a constant source of reference when editing this database.

Using the database to identify and/or date a Tri-ang dolls’ house

If you have an idea of the approximate age of the house, start with the appropriately-dated Volume.

Have a look through the photos in chronological order, first looking for the basic shape of the house you wish to identify. Once that has been found, look amongst the models of that shape for any architectural features your house retains and also for similar interior layouts. Dimensions of each model (when known) are given in the database entries. Check these against the house being identified – there are a number of models of similar appearance but of differing sizes. Dating clues include details such as the style of timbering on a gable, the colour of the window frames and casements, the style of fireplace, any original wall or floor papers and the design of the Tri-ang label, if still present. Bear in mind that not all houses of a given basic design are necessarily Triangs! Houses by other makers can look very similar.  

Dating Triang labels

In 1919, the company trademark was an equilateral triangle, bearing the legend “L. Bros. Ltd./London” on the two sides, and “England” on the base, with a cursive L superimposed with BROS, in the centre. By 1921, “TRIANGTOIS – REGD. – The World’s Best Toys” had appeared as an adjunct to the triangle mark. (TRIANGTOIS is the Lines Bros’ spelling). The firm used “Tri-ang” from about 1927. (It appears sometimes with, and sometimes without, a hyphen from then on). The original triangle device was incorporated as part of the label on Lines Bros’ dolls’ houses until 1955, when it disappeared – the name “Tri-ang” was used alone, thereafter. After Lines Bros ceased trading in 1971, the Tri-ang brand appeared briefly, c1972 - 1973, on four dolls’ houses distributed by the Barclay Toy Group.

Lines Bros used various identifiers for their dolls’ houses: letters and/or numbers, or names, e.g. DH/1, DH/D, No 81, Princess, U. The DH/ prefix wasn’t used for newly-introduced models after 1927, although it was retained for earlier designs whose production continued into the 1930s.

There is not yet an example of every Tri-ang dolls’ house in the database, but new discoveries are added whenever they become available. New photos are always welcome to fill the gaps! If anyone can help, members can contact me via my profile page; non-members please use the Contact Us form.

Databases Curator/Editor and Administrator