Postwar 1
The Early Postwar Years

Malcolm Hanson

When Minibrix gradually came back on the market again after the war only a few changes were made to the system. Perhaps the most significant was that the Junior set now contained bricks in pastel shades of pink, green, yellow and blue in an effort to make them more attractive to younger ‘Minibuilders’. The style of boxes changed again. For standard sets the yellow colour was retained but with a different illustration on the lid. Tudor sets now came in standard boxes with ‘Tudor’ labels stuck on the lid. The prices of sets were now double those of 1939 and they were soon to rise to three times the 1939 figures. This was partly a consequence of the greatly increased price of rubber. Before the war it had cost only 8d per pound but by 1950 cost many times this amount.

Certain economy measures were taken. The sets no longer came with parts made up into facades. Instead parts were pushed into a card that was perforated in the same way as a base plate. Again, the standard manual was revised with most of the pre-war models disappearing to be replaced by a few Tudor models. In fact the number of pages in the manual dropped from 48 before the war to just 30. Ironically the Tudor sets still had the full pre-war manuals in them, so presumably the Tudor models were placed in the standard manuals as an advertising ploy.

There were plans in the late 40's to produce special Minibrix sets for the use of architects and patents were secured in 1948 for a whole new range of parts. This was to have included 3/4 bricks, 'thin' bricks, different angle bricks and thin rubber strips to simulate mortar between the bricks There were to have been smaller, but more numerous, lugs on the bricks (8 on a whole brick) which would have allowed bricks to have been laid in number of different ‘bonds’. (These bricks were similar in design to the plastic "Kiddicraft self-locking building bricks” that Hilary Page had patented some four years earlier and which were later developed to become Lego bricks.) Unfortunately these plans were never brought to fruition, a failure that typifies the lack of any significant post-war development of the Minibrix system.

Minibrix, along with nearly all constructional toys, was promoted as ‘boys’ toy and all the advertising literature pre-war had only picture boys. A girl did appear on the post-war box lid illustration but she was merely shown admiring her older brother’s handiwork! However, the illustration on the front of the standard manual was subtly changed in about 1953 with one of the boys pictured disappearing to be replaced by girl modeller. From this point on all promotional literature included a female representative.