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Sets that use bricks and mortar

In northern Europe at least, the most ubiquitous building method for domestic architecture is probably bricks and mortar. It is not surprising then that the striving towards realism which is seen in the interwar period for all representative toys led to the production of architectural toys which mimicked this construction method.

British Brickplayer sets comprise quite small ceramic bricks in whole, three-quarter and half sizes along with odd shapes to allow the construction of half hexagonal bay windows. Angled gable bricks are also provided, along with wooden beams (which have to be cut to length) to support the cardboard roof (also cut to fit). It was first produced in the 1930's when the windows and doors were enamelled metal, before being replaced later by plastic. The mortar is a powder which has to be mixed with water and can be removed by soaking the whole model in water to allow re-use of the components.

After the war, 'Contemporary Brickplayer' sets were produced which whilst fairly similar aimed to recreate a more up to date style of architecture. To this end the sets included sheets of card to simulate various cladding materials along with transparent plastic blisters intended to act as roof-lights in flat roofs.

Brick and mortar sets are still being made: the Teifoc range is made in Spain and has a much larger scale of brick - it also has ceramic roof tiles, both flat and pantiled, rather than card. The windows and doors are plastic and wooden beams are provided as is an extremely substantial baseboard. My collection also includes a recent german set with a variety of brick shapes but no windows or doors and another german one from the sixties or seventies which has plastic components which connect together to form rectangular window and door shapes of ones own design.

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