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Mold changes through the decades

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I am staring at a mixed lot of bricks from the early 70s through today. Is there a photo reference to assist in determining which bricks are from which era? I don't want to mix classic town with Star Wars or aqua zone with sponge bob. Any suggestions?


  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    You could check Bricklink for the part #'s and set inventories. Parts like modified plates with clips should be easy - newer ones are thick and older ones are thin. There are about 4 different variations I think. Also older bricks didn't have bottom tubes, some had cross supports and some didn't.

    The colour is another clue - old grey and new grey for example. Also older white and blue bricks will possible have a bit of fading or yellowing. Types of window and door frames vary over time too, so best bet to find out is Bricklink again.

    I'm also in the process of sorting out a mix of my old sets and newer sets. Its been a tough job, mainly trying to determine new and old grey - after a while they all look the same :) My oldest sets are from the early 80s though, so not as hard as sorting through stuff from the 70s. Good luck!

  • mooman66mooman66 Member Posts: 122
    Thanks @StuBoy. I have the pieces pretty well sorted now, focusing on the LEGO Lettering and the use of supports on the underside. Right now, I am focusing on getting the pieces right for a 1985 classic town airport #6392. I can't tell from the peeron scans what, if any, supports are on the underside of the pieces. I have some pieces with supports full depth (with some walls thicker than others), some with supports half- depth, and some with no supports. I also notice that the underside of plates has small differences, too, in the "roundness" of the circles.
    I tried snapping some pictures for a name that era sort of puzzle, but my camera just can't handle the extreme close ups.
    I think it would be cool if for basic bricks and some plates, 1xN or 2xN, there could be a photo reference of the underside so folks wouldn't botch recreating older sets. I could care less if some of the stuff in my collection is mish mashed, as long as the color is uniform, but for the classics from the 70s and 80s, I want to get it right.
    Could this become a master thread, so that folks who have confirmed bricks from a given mold era could post pictures of the undersides of basic bricks and plates? Thanks!
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    Have you looked at Bricklink? They often show the underside of the bricks.

    According to Bricklink, all the bricks in #6392 are all standard.
  • ColoradoBricksColoradoBricks Member Posts: 1,659
    ^ they have a few variations: 4285a, 4864a, 4085a, etc. 4085 is now has its 4th mold
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,678
    Also, remember that the 70's and earlier bricks should have the words Pat. Pend. cast into the underside.
  • caperberrycaperberry Member Posts: 2,226
    And that in the mid 'eighties TLG began including element ids.
  • mooman66mooman66 Member Posts: 122
    edited January 2014
    I'm cursing my camera right now. I have a bunch of 1xN pieces I'm looking at right now. No pegs is the earliest, and then pegs with a donut cross section are the newest. I also have a solid peg with a support the full depth, a solid peg with support half deep, a solid peg with full depth supports, but ribs on the interior walls, and that's not to mention there is some variation in wall thickness on each of these. It's fun...but maddening. I think I managed to get my airport correct using the stickered parts as baselines for the rest of the model. Now onto Kings Castle!
  • StuBoyStuBoy Member Posts: 623
    ^ I've also noticed some 1xN bricks have solid bottom tubes and some are hollow. I have no idea which is more modern.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam Member Posts: 571
    There are upwards of 40 mold variations of the 2x4 brick alone. The Leggodt site has a lot of photos of the 2x4 brick variations.

    Variations can include no logo, block letters underneath, bar bell logo underneath, old logo on studs, logo on studs and underneath (rare), new logo on studs, Samsontie logo stud (open O), mixed Samsonite logo (open and closed Os), non pat pend, pat pend, obscured pat pend, void, part id, pip on side, pip stud, center pip, slotted and tubeless bricks, tubeless bricks, tubes without cross supports, slit tubs, tubes with supports, Minitalia X brick, Minitalia tube bricks, no pegs, solid pegs, hollow pegs, CA bricks and ABS bricks. That nearly everything I can think of. Clearly there are a lot of combinations. Some combination would never exist.

    And there is lots of overlap. Once molded, unless it is defective, it will be used. Let's 6080 for example. Sold 1984 to 1987. It would only bricks with the new (ie current) logo and would only have parts made from ABS. The mostly bricks would be void and part id, but the year it was packaged and location can influence the type that was used. Pip location was in flux, but moving to on stud.
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