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Pat. pending bricks

plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
edited January 2012 in Building and Techniques
I have a couple of apparently old Lego bricks, mostly red and white 2x2s and 2x4s, which are, apart from being rather dirty, are a tiny bit different in design and very worn. On the inside, they say "Pat. pend" (i.e. patent pending). How old are these? Are they particularly valuable? Do they even have novelty value?


  • nodnarb162nodnarb162 Member Posts: 58 not a Mod or anything. but shouldn't this be under the [master thread] help identifying parts? it might be better answered there :P
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,805
    1960's I believe and pretty much worthless I'd say.
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    Yeah, even the good condition ones are only worth pennies, not really much more than new current bricks of the same size.
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
    I don't want to sound like I'm really mercenary or anything! I'm just interested!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    Pat. Pend. and Pat. Pend. removed (where there's a lump on the inside of the brick showing where the Pat. Pend. was carved out of the mold) are 2 older varieties of LEGO brick molds.

    The Pat. Pend. bricks (as Huw mentioned) are generally from the 1960s. Early examples would be made of Cellulose Acetate, a different plastic. Red Cellulose Acetate is the easiest color to spot, since the bricks are an almost orange-red in color.

    The Pat. Pend. removed bricks were produced during the 1970s... up until circa 1976.

    Interestingly enough, some parts (such as macaroni bricks) rarely had Pat. Pend. on the brick underside.

    Unless they are in mint condition, they are basically "filler" bricks. But old time collectors are interested in the mint examples... but they're still not that valuable.

    That's not to say some old time parts are not valuable... but they mostly have to be specialty parts. One that comes to mind was the old 1955-58 1x1 round brick (without tapered base)... in Denmark some of these had Esso Oil stickers attached around the drum in the old Esso Service accessories sets. These can go for $100 or more each!
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    Also, I want to mention that dating LEGO elements... or recreating old LEGO sets can be very challenging. There are no clean start and end dates for different LEGO molds/parts. TLG did NOT throw anything useful away... and so older molds and part inventories were used up before more modern molds/parts were used.

    A good analogy would be the 2003 TLG announcement that old gray elements would be discontinued. Trying to put together (from scratch) 2005 set that has a lot of gray parts would be a challenge, if you wanted to do it accurately. This is because some parts in the set would be old gray, other parts would be new gray.

    With old sets it becomes even more challenging, because you add the dimension of part type (do tiles have a lip or not, are the round bricks hollow stud or solid stud, et al)... and you also add part material (is it Cellulose Acetate or is it ABS plastic?). Although Cellulose Acetate was replaced by ABS plastic in 1963... in USA/Canada you have sets as recent as 1970 that still had at least some CA parts. And then there's issues like waffle bottom or circle bottom plates, the LEGO font on the parts (some USA/Canada LEGO sets have 4 distinct fonts).

    That's why I like to call old LEGO... "LEGO Mayhem". ;-)
  • stagusstagus Member Posts: 256
    Can't you get them carbon dated? ;-)))))
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
    Only if you believe that Lego bricks evolved from lower forms of construction toys. Plus, I didn't dig these bricks up from Utah or Mongolia or the Great Rift Valley. And, as far as I'm aware, they haven't started to decay yet! :P
  • ChrishibChrishib Member Posts: 0
    edited May 2012
    Just bought a bag o' bricks at a garage sale... All marked 'patent pending'. Some of the 1 x 8 bricks have Italian words like teatro, cafe, ... Looks like a city set of some kind. Any ideas? Mostly red and white bricks.
  • caperberrycaperberry LondonMember Posts: 2,226
    The answers might be in this chapter of the new book about LEGO's history, written by forum member @istokg
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
    I actually started a discussion about them a while back...( It won't tell you actual sets, but I'm sure there's some useful info there.
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 528
    Assuming they are ABS, those would mostly be 60's bricks. I don't know about the rest of the world, but Pat Pend bricks could be found in USA set in the 70's. Most early sets would have been predominantly red and white. I think it's unlikely all these brick are to one set. And it's possible it's a Town/City set, but the only one of that era would the Town Plan sets.

    As for the 1x8 bricks, 226 is a likely candidate. It's a bit of a grab bag set of named bricks. The names changed with location and year.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    edited May 2012
    Aha... no wonder I couldn't submit my comments... the thread got merged!! Luckily I copied/pasted them first!... ;-)

    Chapter 48 of my LEGO DVD (as caperberry referenced)... will give you most of the printed bricks sold throughout the world back in the 1955-75 era which was the "golden age" for printed bricks. Today we're stuck mainly with sticker sheets. :-(

    The 1x6 and 1x8 beams that you have... are they hollow bottom (with cross supports) or post bottom?

    If they're hollow bottom, then the date to 1958-65, and likely came from an Italian #226 parts pack (sold in all countries with local language bricks). The first image shows a series of the Italian bricks (each pack was packed a little different). The 2nd image shows a #226 box (NOTE: there were 11 box top images possible, this is just one).

    If your bricks were of the variety with posts underneath (1966-69), then they likely came in a continental European (Italian) #491 parts pack, which had a combination local printed bricks... as well as the spare parts for a 325 Shell Station (gas pumps + canopy parts + SHELL sign). The 3rd image shows the contents of an Italian #491 spare parts pack box. The 4th image shows a continental #491 box.

    After 1965 Britain/Ireland and Australia used a different parts pack than continental Europe for their printed bricks, but a separate box for the Shell station parts pack. There a #426 pack contained the printed bricks (1966-72), and a #431 pack contained the Shell items)... See images 5 & 6.

    Now for your LEGO bricks... mostly red and white. From 1960-65 they would likely have come (with red classic windows/doors) in a 700/0 thru 700/6 basic set... see 7th image. If they came later (maybe depending on your printed brick variety)... they would be from basic sets 010-060... see 8th image.

    These images are all from my 2,800 page LEGO DVD... (over 6,000 images)
    Chapter 48 - Old Printed & Painted LEGO Elements (1955-86).
    Chapter 40 - LEGO Spare Parts Packs (1950-65).
    Chapter 41 - LEGO Spare Parts Packs (1966-79).
    Chapter 5 - LEGO Basic Sets (1953-65).
    Chapter 6 - LEGO Basic Sets (1965-79).

    Which is now available as a downloadable file (no shipping charges) in my Bricklink store, or as a DVD ($3 shipping to overseas from USA)...

    Gary Istok

    P.S. A lot of people newly coming out of their Dark Ages seem to be the most prolific buyers of my DVD... to come up to speed quickly! ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    One other thing... predominantly red/white bricks (with red classic windows/doors) sold well into the 1970s as the predominant color in LEGO basic sets worldwide.

    The best way to differentiate USA/Canada Samsonite parts from those of the rest of the world is to look at the LEGO logo on the studs. If you have bricks mainly in 1 or 2 LEGO fonts (50s and 60s-70s), then it is likely NOT Samsonite. If your parts come in 3 different fonts... 50s, 60s-70s, and small squat Samsonite with open "o".... then they're Samsonite.... in fact some bricks will have more than 1 font on the studs of the same bricks (retooled by Samsonite).

    Another good way to determine Samsonite parts is if the red and yellow bricks look different (Cellulose Acetate). I believe that TLG Denmark sent Samsonite their leftover inventory of red and yellow CA pellets, since parts made of that material could be found as late as 1970 in USA/Canada Samsonite LEGO sets.

    All "LEGO Mayhem"!
  • plasmodiumplasmodium UKMember Posts: 1,942
    What exactly is Samsonite in this context? I've only heard the name as a brand of luggage...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    edited May 2012
    @plasmodium Good question...

    When TLG was expanding from being a small firm of 140 employees at the start of 1958... to being one of the world's largest toymaker's today, there was a period of time in the 1960s where expansion was too overwhelming for such a small company.

    So TLG licensed out the production of LEGO to a British company called Courtauld's (a British Textile/Chemical Company). And Courtauld's produced LEGO for Britain (starting in 1960), Ireland (1960) and Australia (1962) from a plant in Wrexham Wales under the name British LEGO Ltd.

    TLG also licensed out LEGO production to USA/Canada to a Colorado suitcase maker called "Shwayder Bros"... makers of Samsonite luggage. They produced LEGO from a Stratford Ontario Canada plant for the USA market from 1961-65. In 1965 Shwayder Bros officially became known as "Samsonite Corp."... and that year USA LEGO production was moved to a new plant in Loveland Colorado (a suburb of Denver). In Canada production started from that Stratford plant for the Canadian market in 1962. USA Samsonite sets of 1961-65 mention "Shwayder Bros" and also "By Samsonite". After 1965 they only mention Samsonite. In Canada all Samsonite sets always said "Samsonite of Canada".

    The USA license was taken back by TLG (via lawsuit) in 1973, because Samsonite was underperforming in the American market, and production was moved to Connecticut.

    In Canada, they toe'ed the TLG line better than in the USA, and the license was sold back to TLG in 1985, and production of LEGO was moved from that Samsonite plant to Connecticut.

    As for Courtauld's... TLG bought the license back for Britain, Ireland and Australian LEGO in 1992, and since then all LEGO sets were produced by TLG. The Courtauld's plant in Wrexham Wales still exists, but not producing LEGO.

    Here's an image from the March 1965 issue of "Toys & Novelties" magazine showing the opening of the new Loveland Colorado Samsonite LEGO plant (image made of LEGO).

    This image is from Chapter 73 of my LEGO DVD... "LEGO Sales/History By Country". It is also an important historical document because it mentions publicly for the very first time that LEGO motors and gears were going to be introduced (by the end of 1965... motors didn't come onto the European market scene until May 1966). Note: the elimination of the words "Shwayder Bros" happened a few months after this publication.
  • LegoBoys99LegoBoys99 WisconsinMember Posts: 4
    Hi.  My boys just picked up a small bunch of Legos at a garage sale.  They were excited to see that the Legos look different from their current ones.  I found this forum discussion and thought you all may be able to give us some insights into what we now have in our collection.  I have already done some research and it looks like these come from the late 50's and early 60's but anything else you can tell us will be helpful.  We are not looking to resell them but if they have any special monetary value it would be fun to know too.  
    I am hoping for any info on all the pieces that we have pictured below but a couple of pieces that have us particularly stumped and explanations on these will be very appreciated.
    The first set are the 1x1's with engraved numbers and letters.  They fit together VERY tightly, not typical "Lego Tightness."  Any ideas of when these are from and what sets they were in?
    Also we have a very thin tile piece that is made up of 2 2x2's connected with a thin strip between them.  I am guessing it was used as a trailer connector but I have not found any images of this piece online.  Also in the bottom of this piece it says two things: "A-6" and "PAT. PEND."  (this is what led me to this forum).  

    Black 2x4 

    Dublo Piece

    Thank you in advance for taking a look and any info you can provide.
    Have a great day.
  • ShropshireShropshire UKMember Posts: 476
    Have a look at set 057-1  for example, the trailer connector came in a few sets.
  • ShropshireShropshire UKMember Posts: 476
    Here’s a photo from the instructions in set 401 which I’ve just taken which shows the towing link
  • ShropshireShropshire UKMember Posts: 476
    The letter bricks will be set 234-1
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,001
    Paging @Istokg
  • LegoBoys99LegoBoys99 WisconsinMember Posts: 4
    Shropshire Thank you.  That was helpful and interesting.  
    MadforLego, I did not see any images on the page that you linked to @Istokg

    Thank you  

  • ShropshireShropshire UKMember Posts: 476
    I’ve got 100+ new unsold sets/packs from
    around then so happy I could photo the instruction leaflet for you.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,001
    edited June 2019
    @istokg is not a page/site, its a forum member that is a living encyclopedia of knowledge of things LEGO (and also has created a LEGO Collectors guide), same with @LusiferSam (Apologies to those I'm forgetting to classify as experts).
    When you @ their IDs they get a notification that someone mentioned them in a thread, effectively 'calling' or 'paging' them to the topic

  • pxchrispxchris Oregon, USAMember Posts: 1,177
    @istokg is not a page/site, its a forum member that is a living encyclopedia of knowledge of things LEGO (and also has created a LEGO Collectors guide), same with @LusiferSam (Apologies to those I'm forgetting to classify as experts).
    When you @ their IDs they get a notification that someone mentioned them in a thread, effectively 'calling' or 'paging' them to the topic

    To reinforce @madforLEGO 's point - as an owner of @istokg 's Guide, I cannot recommend it enough. An absolute wealth of information. I am very, very much looking forward to the new edition coming out later this year!

    You can buy a copy here.
  • LegoBoys99LegoBoys99 WisconsinMember Posts: 4
    Thank you madforLego and pxchris.  That makes sense.  When I first came to this forum, I quickly saw that I could connect with the experts for my questions.   I see that the last time istokg commented on this thread was 2012.  I went to the links for his Bricklink store and the store is closed.   Oh well.
    This has been fun.  It is interesting to think of all these people who played with Legos as kids and now are adults still "playing" with them.  I find it easy to justify my interest because of my kids.  Thank you for creating this community and keeping it alive.

  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 528
    These are all Samsonite bricks and look like they are from the 60s.  Lego used a different font in their logo in the 50s to early 70s.  The O didn't close all the way and is known as an open O (as oppose to the closed O of today).   Samsonite often used to open O logo on their brick early on before moving to the more standard closed O. 

    The clear, flat connected 2x2 piece is the nylon hinge coupler.  It shows up several Samsonite sets.  The red 1x8s are just early 1x8 before they had pins underneath.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but they might be CA not ABS.  Lego often used Samsonite as a dumping ground for their old and unwanted elements.  This is why things like hollow 1x6 and 1x8, waffle bottom plates and other older elements are common in the 60s North American sets. 

    Without seeing more of the bricks and lacking any rare or unique elements you likely can't know what sets these came from.  For the most part these are pretty common pieces for that era.  That said the fact the printed 1x1s nearly spell out Lego twice and has a 5 makes me think of the 605 Wheel Toy.  The rest of the parts are consistent with that, but I'm only looking at a tiny handful of parts.
  • LegoBoys99LegoBoys99 WisconsinMember Posts: 4
    Thank you LusiferSam.  This is all very helpful.  Yes, I only pictured some of the pieces that we have.  I will show my boys the image of the set you recommended and see if they can build it with the Legos they got from the Garage Sale.  
    Thanks again.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,556
    I was doing some experiments on CA bricks earlier. Put one in a cup, pour on boiling water, remove it and twist. Wonky bricks. Don't worry, the bricks were damaged anyway.

    But I noticed that you could take ones that were a bit warped, pour boiling water on them and they tend to unwarp a little without touching them. Better still, remove them then attach them to another 2x4 (carefully) and they straighten up quite nicely.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    edited July 2019
    Sorry to be late to the game... just getting over a sinus infection.  I'll answer more tomorrow... but for right now.... check out a chapter from my Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide... Chapter 48... Printed and Painted LEGO Parts... see page 29...  subchapter 48.4 - LEGO Alphabet/Number bricks (1957-86) for the printed 1x1 bricks by region....

    More info tomorrow.... ;-)
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,253
    Here are the 5 different waffle bottom plate sizes....

    They were introduced in 1955, and most countries switched to circle bottom plates in 1963.  A waffle bottom 6x8 plate weighs 12 grams, while a circle bottom one only weighs 9 grams, thus saving 1/4 of the plastic.

    TLG had a lot of leftover waffle bottom plate molds, so they shipped the still usable waffle bottom plate molds to the Samsonite plant in Stratford Ontario Canada, where all USA/Canada LEGO was produced until 1965 when the USA Loveland Colorado Samsonite plant opened for producing USA LEGO.

    Because there were a lot of waffle molds still in good working order, waffle plates were produced there until 1972.  The rest of the world switched to circle bottom plates in 1963.  (Note: for other plate sizes, they only came in circle bottom plates exclusively.)

    1x6 and 1x8 bricks were produced with cross supports from 1955 until 1964, when they switched to post bottom 1 stud wide bricks.  The 1x2 bricks also came both ways.  Again old molds that were hollow or with cross supports were sent to Samsonite in 1964, and can be found in Samsonite LEGO sets and parts packs until 1972.

    Here is an image from a 1972 Samsonite LEGO retailer catalog showing the calliope pipes (lower right) still using the old 1x6 and 1x8 beams with cross supports.  The beams sold elsewhere all had posts underneath starting in 1964. 

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