Pictured above is an object that seems instantly recognizable at first glance. LEGO has, at various times throughout its history, held a number of patents and trademarks for something just like it. However, pictured above is not a LEGO product, nor a knock-off thereof. It is, in fact, the patented design that LEGO copied to create its now timeless and world-dominating toy line. Even this, however, was not the first studded, rectangular, interlocking block design used as the basis of a children's building toy system; not by a long shot.
- Video: Bricks Before LEGO
This video, especially the first 4 1/2 minutes of it, is the culmination of a few months of casual research and investment. My original intent was to simply find a first-generation LEGO brick and an earlier Kiddicraft brick to display as food for thought for folks who lambaste the likes of Mega Bloks and other LEGO "compatible" brands. I never expected to learn that Kiddicraft made three sizes of bricks (each of which LEGO followed in some way) dating to before WWII. I couldn't have imagined I'd end up with a bag of red 2x4 studded plastic bricks from a brand called ELGO, nor prewar versions of the same made of wood. What came even a half-decade earlier blew my mind even further.