Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Lego Collectors Guide 1971

This Christmas, neat and safe amongst my other gifts, was a real treasure for me - the Lego System  Collectors Guide To The World Of Lego from 1971 - the year I was born.

1960's Lego sets

Nowadays we're used to a huge catalogue and other leaflets and magazines, but back in 1971 there wasn't so much printed material for Lego lovers, so this is a really special thing. 

1970's Lego

The format is a small full colour booklet just less than 14cm x14cm with only 12 pages in total including the front and back covers. It's a bit yellowed and faded with age, I've retaken the photo's 3 times and this is the best I can do I'm afraid.

The front cover showcases a place I've now been lucky enough to visit -
 Legoland, Billund

Lego System 1970's catalogue The World of Lego 1971

The first inside page starts with Duplo "big bricks for the very young" and I do remember the days when Duplo sets came with a few standard Lego bricks "to lead children naturally into many years of creative play". 

Lego System Lego Duplo 1971 1970's

After Duplo we see a selection of basic sets - the contents of which were beautifully arranged in little plastic trays. A brand new Lego set was a very rare sight when I was a child. I thought you had to be a millionaire or on the TV to be able to afford one.

Lego System collectors book 1970's Build Your Own Legoland

Houses really were my favourite thing to make, I knew what bricks I had and how tall my house could be and I made improvements to my design each time, I think I would have been beside myself if I'd been given one of these sets for Christmas.
 Back in 1971 vehicles were limited to a few base plates, bricks and slopes and every vehicle had no space for a passenger - however there were still plenty to choose from and each one was very distinct and different from the other - and far more easily copied using the bricks you already had at home. I had the small white ambulance in the top left photo - I loved it.

Lego System catalogue 1970's Legoland Cars and The Big Vehicles

Motors were already available for the older and more adventurous enthusiast, with a wired remote control so that you could move alongside your vehicle and gaze in awe at the sight of it moving by itself. There are also the beginnings of what would become Technic Lego - rods, gears and bars with staggered holes - although at this point they had not yet moved right away from your basic 'brick' shape. 

Lego 1970's Legomotors Technic

 Trains have always been popular Lego sets and it was true in 1971 too, with a huge array available. Built in a similar way to the other vehicles, cone shaped wheels with a flange at the rear hold them onto the blue track and they work incredibly well. The track was great on a straight flat floor, a lot less forgiving around corners and on carpets!

Lego Collector's Guide 1970's Supplementary and spares

I remember staring at supplementary packs hanging up in my local toy shop and wishing I could buy lots of the bevelled red bricks so that I'd be able to make an entire roof from Lego - one of my over-riding memories from my childhood is never having enough bricks to make more than a hint of roof!

 All the Lego Spares in the book were not generally available from your retailer, they were offered as a direct service to Lego collectors from British Lego Ltd of Wrexham and included part S15 - a spare 4-stud sealed lighting brick no.995. As a child I saw these bricks and thought they were made of magic - I was an adult before I saw one lit up!

The back cover of the leaflet has a very special treat for anyone who has ever complained about the Lego Friends range. You see, 'girl Lego' is nothing new at all. Before Friends were Clickets, Scala, Belville, Paradisa, and in 1971....

Original Girl Lego 1970's Kitchen Dining Room Table Cupboards

Fantastically 1970's kitchens and living rooms for girls! And you know what? I played with it, and I loved it....

17 comments:

  1. Wow bet you loved that! Looks like it is in such great condition, it must have been well loved.

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    1. It's got a few creases and it's spent most of it's life folded in half, but it's in better nick at 42 than I am! :D

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    1. It is lovely - I'm not sure he bought it entirely for me though, 1971 is also his year of birth! :p

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  3. Aw, loved reading that post, just spent the afternoon at my parents playing with my retro lego which I haven't seen for years!!! It's just like what you describe, there's one of those battery motor's with wires, we are going to get some batteries and see if it still works. They have some of the cardboard packaging so we have been trying to recreate some of the buildings etc. Definitely a blog post waiting to be written. x

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    1. That'll be brilliant! I can't wait. There's a website with all the Lego instructions - I'll find it and send you a link. Remind me if I forget! :)

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  4. wow! that is amazing! I love lego! I have never seen them before! Great find!

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    1. It was a good find - I don't know how long he's been looking for it :D

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  5. I too was born in 71' but I don't remember these booklets. Although now I have seen this I do vaguely remember having a little kitchen like the one in the picture. I don't know what has happened to it though. what a great gift, and something to keep.

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    1. It all starts coming back... :D I bet you played with those figures too!

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  6. Amazing! What a fab gift :))) love it xx

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    1. It is a great thing - definitely beats smellies or chocolate! :)

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  7. Oh Jenny, this is wonderful, took me right back. I had the kitchen and I'd forgotten about the strange hair that Lego people used to have - those bunches and the Grandma - I loved her

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    1. I was always upset there was no Grandad! Glad it brought back some good memories for you :D

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  8. Wow! I bet you were in your element with this

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  9. Lots of Lego!
    Looks fab though :)

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