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2008/158/9 Construction toy, Brick City Conversion Kit Set B 300, and instructions, plastic / metal / cardboard / paper, made by Thomas Hore & Co, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1950s, used by Wyatt family, Hobart, Tasmania, and Roseville, New South Wales, Australia, 1950s-1960s. Click to enlarge.

Brick City construction set made by Thomas Hore & Co., Victoria, 1950s

Made in Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1950-1960.
The Brick City scale model construction set is an Australian-made toy which the manufacturers said encouraged both children and adults to be architects and builders by enabling them to design and construct their 'dream homes'. The Brick City construction toys were made in the 1950s by Thomas Hore & Co. of Carlton, Victoria. This construction toy used domestic architectural designs popular in Australia in the 1950s when the post-war housing boom was under way. It comprises interlocking bricks similar to those used by the Danish firm Lego, whose products did not arrive in Australia until 1962 and have subsequently dominated the construction toy market.

The Brick City instruction booklet claims that the interlocking plastic bricks, which are scaled down Australian house bricks, together with windows, doors and other pieces, enabled the planning and building of 'authentic' houses, stores, schools, garages, churches and factories. Whereas the toy is plainly for children, it is interesting to note that adults are used in photographs in the booklet admiring their finished models. Adults were encouraged to try various designs for the construction of their own brick homes to see how they would look. Even the names of the sets, 'Surfers Paradise' and 'Bellevue Hill', would have appealed to the aspirational home builders of the time.

The Brick City construction set is part of a small collection of toys used by members of the Wyatt family in Hobart, Tasmania, and Roseville, NSW, from 1935 until 1965. The toys were made in Britain, Germany and Australia, and are representative of the types available to Australian children at the time. They are significant in that they have remained in the one family and have been extremely well looked after, many in their original boxes with the instruction leaflets and information.

Margaret Simpson
Curator, Science & Industry
March 2008

Summary

Object No.

2008/158/9

Object Statement

Construction toy, Brick City Conversion Kit Set B 300, and instructions, plastic / metal / cardboard / paper, made by Thomas Hore & Co, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1950s, used by Wyatt family, Hobart, Tasmania, and Roseville, New South Wales, Australia, 1950s-1960s

Physical Description

Construction toy, Brick City Conversion Kit Set B 300, and instructions, plastic / metal / cardboard / paper, made by Thomas Hore & Co, Carlton, Victoria, Australia, 1950s, used by Wyatt family, Hobart, Tasmania, and Roseville, New South Wales, Australia, 1950s-1960s

The Brick City scale model construction toy set comprises interlocking, green and white, plastic bricks for the construction of houses and other structures modelled in a scale 1:32. The set comprises full and half bricks, door lintels, gable bricks, long lintels, doors, corner lintels, gates, copings, windows, and fences. This set is a conversion kit which enabled it to be added to the smaller Brick City 'The Surfers Paradise' set to make up the larger 'The Bellevue Hill' set. The bricks are scaled to be an eighth the size of an Australian house face brick including mortar, the windows and doors are 1/32 the size of full-size windows and doors. The pieces of the construction toy are housed in a cardboard cylinder with a metal lid. The case is decorated with an illustration of a family standing above a constructed town with 'BRICK CITY' in bold letters in the centre. A description of all the parts contained in the kit can be found around the top.

The set includes an instruction booklet entitled 'Brick City Master Builder's Catalogue' which provides instructions on laying foundations and building brick walls and corners then goes on to show a number of completed houses and other structures. According to the instruction manual, the Brick City bricks and other construction pieces are made of 'precision moulded, rigid, shatterproof, non-toxic, non-flammable plastic'.

Production

Made

Carlton, Victoria, Australia 1950-1960

Notes

Despite its Australian appearance Brick City is based upon a building set made in the United States called, Block Builder. A With some differences there was also a British version made by Merit called Brick Builder. Little is known regarding the establishment and history of the Australian firm which made Brick City, Thomas Hore & Co., of 554 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria, telephone number FJ6658. Brick City was one of many toys made by Thomas William Hall (Hore). His company, Thomas Hore & Co., was said to have been one of the pioneers of the Australian plastics industry, and during the 1950s was a large toy manufacturer.

The plastic construction toys, Brick City, came in two series, the Pre-School Brick Blocks of 32 pieces (BB 200) and 56 pieces (BB 500) and the Brick City series for older children and adults. The Brick City series came in three sets: Brick City Set B 400 'The Surfers Paradise' of 158 pieces, the Brick City Set B700 'The Bellevue Hill' containing 298 pieces and the Brick City Conversion Kit Set B 300 containing 140 pieces which enabled conversion of the B400 set to the larger B 700 set.

The 'Brick City The Master Builder's Catalogue' which came with the Brick City Conversion Kit, features a number of advertisements for other products which were either made or distributed by the firm including Pick Up Sticks, The Stallion .38 cap pistol, Little Women's plastic mixer, and the Roly Poly Clown which tinkled when he wobbled.

In the early 1960s, import restrictions on Japanese goods were removed which caused a large decline in the local plastics industry. However, a few years before Hall had become the first in the Southern Hemisphere to produce polyethylene pipe, pioneering its use in rural applications. The pipe manufacturing business was called the Flowmaster Pipe Company Pty Ltd, and was the major supplier of rural, gas and mining PE pipe in South Eastern Australia. Flowmaster was sold to Vinidex Tubemakers in 1992.

Information provided by Robert Hall, Victoria, 2012.

History

Used

1958-1965

Notes

This Brick City construction set was owned by the donor's younger daughter, in Hobart, Tasmania, in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Her older sister had another construction toy, a Clinker Toy set. Both Brick City and Clinker Toy were Australian made construction toys. When the family moved to Sydney in 1965 all their toys were brought too. The Brick City set is part of a toy collection owned by the Wyatt family and presented to the Museum in 2008.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Ruth & Richard Wyatt, 2008

Acquisition Date

5 August 2008

Cite this Object

Harvard

Brick City construction set made by Thomas Hore & Co., Victoria, 1950s 2019, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 28 May 2020, <https://ma.as/380286>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/380286 |title=Brick City construction set made by Thomas Hore & Co., Victoria, 1950s |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=28 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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