The forerunner of SCALEXTRIC was Scalex, which Fred Francis first produced through the Minimodels company which he had a turn founded in 1947. The company was based a London and produced toys and models. The first products included the Startex range of toy cars and the very famous Scalex, introduced in 1952. Scalex was a range of toy racing cars with clockwork engines.
In 1952, Minimodels moved to a larger factory to meet the growing demand for toy cars. At the height of its popularity, over 7000 Scalex models were produced weekly. By 1956 the novelty of racing cars a watchmaking had vanished and sales began a decline and the future of the company and its 100 employees was a risk.
In an attempt to revive the fortunes of his company, Fred Francis began a think a alternatives. He was inspired by looking at the racing car circuits, but also wanted to develop a system of control of the car by the player, in order to increase the sense of competition. He began a experiment by putting small electric motors on Scalex machines and running them on railway tracks. Later he introduced the grooved track to collect electric current in the wake of the track.
The power was provided by the track while the players had their own command to control the cars, so Scalex-Electric became SCALEXTRIC.