LEGO clones that never made it

brixasst.jpg

Retro Thing remembers Brix Blox today, showing off some of the LEGO clone’s marketing stabs from the 1970s and 1980s. Most interesting is how its genesis reflected not simply the ambitions of the manufacturer, but the nature of department stores, which acted like retail zaibatsus, selling one of everything – and insisting that their own brand be on everything.

So Brix Blox were included as part of Sears’ “Little Learners” toy line. … The shape and size of the bricks is clearly patterned after Lego, though the two aren’t compatible. There are also far fewer specialty shapes like windows and wheels.The pieces don’t have the same precision snap fit that Lego does, so I found the models to be a bit less sturdy.

There was another set called Loc Blocs from the same maker. Duplo, if you’re wondering, is by LEGO itself. Jovo was cool.

Brix Blox [Retro Thing]

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9 Responses to LEGO clones that never made it

  1. Rob "Useless Vitriol" Beschizza says:

    I wonder, are the patents long-expired now? Whenever I see generic blocks, they fit just fine with normal Legos.

  2. OM says:

    …My problem is that I’ve got about 10,000 Legos that were bought off of eBay about ten years ago as part of a project to build a really wild case for a Dell mobo. The project never got built, and those blocks are still sitting there, individually bagged by color and/or type – there’s a shitload of specialty parts! – and now that I’ve got some extra time on my hands thanks to “Stumpy”, I keep coming up with mature adult excuses for not breaking out the bricks and doing something with them.

    It’s ironic, kids. When I was growing up, I never had enough Legos to do anything really wild, and now that I’ve got the Legos I can’t bring myself to become a kid again long enough to actually fullfill that wish…

  3. moebrook says:

    I love finding these strange bricks in piles of second hand lego collections. I gather them up with the mega-blox and other useless crap and throw it all in the trash. I’m such a lego snob.

  4. strider_mt2k says:

    I really am too.
    A month or two ago I was given a tote of blocks and had to sort out all the “Non-Lego”.

    It was totally worth it.

  5. bs says:

    I don’t mean to out myself as lumpen riff-raff here, but I had Brix Blox as a kid.
    I’m sure they were hand me downs from some neighborhood kid who upgraded to Lego.
    I could always tell that the few real Legos floating around in the box were higher quality but I still had to ditch them because they weren’t compatible.
    Never did get the real ones but I had hours of fun with the knock-offs.
    I bet I could still snap together a fleet of the spaceships I used to make. And the pyramid-shaped space station.

  6. airshowfan says:

    I had some space-themed Tentes when I was about 4 (1986), between when I played with Duplos and when I started getting real Legos. The pieces were hard but very lightweight, so they held together very well.

    As I think as far back as 1994 or 1995 I remember seeing TV ads for Lego-compatible blocks.

    I keep telling myself I need to make time to take the Legos out of the closet once in a while and play with them… (And this feeling is sometimes helped, and sometimes suppressed, when I go online and see people making hundred-thousand-piece Millenium Falcons and A380s…)

  7. foresmac says:

    For the record, Duplo are compatible with Lego and vice versa.

  8. Doomstalk says:

    Lego are made of a plastic that just seems to hold together so much better.

  9. erzatsen says:

    anyone remember “There is no war in Legoland”, and Tente coming along, making incompatible bricked war machines?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tente_%28Toys%29

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