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2014/118/2 Toy construction sets (2), 'Folley's Bricks', plastic / cardboard, designed and made by Alex Folley Pty Ltd, Victoria, Australia, 1970-1987. Click to enlarge.

Folley's toy brick construction sets

Made
These two sets of Folley's plastic construction bricks are of significance as they were designed and made by the Australian toy company, Alex Folley (Vic) Pty Ltd. These construction bricks illustrate the Australian toy manufacturing industry of the 1970s and 1980s and are excellent examples of the then newly developed injection-moulding process for plastics. This is a technology which developed in the 1970s as a result of new, gas-assisted injection moulding processes. These processes allowed …

Summary

Object No.

2014/118/2

Object Statement

Toy construction sets (2), 'Folley's Bricks', plastic / cardboard, designed and made by Alex Folley Pty Ltd, Victoria, Australia, 1970-1987

Physical Description

The first set consists of an unused and unopened box containing 48 pieces of Folley's bricks. The packaging is labelled 'Item 713 wheel sets' and comprises a set of construction bricks, wheels and axles for vehicles. The instruction guidelines and images of the pieces are printed on the box. The box is blue in colour and has a hole at its top, designed to allow it to be hung from a display unit in a shop.

The second set, which is labelled 'PACKET OF / BRICKS', is also unused and unopened. The pieces are housed in clear, plastic packaging which is sealed and stapled at the top to a colourful, cardboard sleeve. Pictures of models made from 'Folley's Bricks' can be seen alongside the company logo, address and details. The contents included in this packet are red, blue, yellow, green and white bricks and wheels which can be used to construct a variety of vehicles

Production

Notes

These construction bricks were made in Australia by Alex Folley (Vic) Pty Ltd.

The process of injection moulding was used to make these plastic bricks and their corresponding parts. Injection moulding involves shaping plastic by melting it and injecting it into a pre-designed mould. This process is very fast and can be used to create a wide variety of products of differing sizes, complexities and applications. The injection moulding process requires the use of an injection moulding machine, raw plastic material and a mould. The plastic is melted in the injection moulding machine and then injected into the mould, where it cools and solidifies into the final product. This technology was invented in 1946 by the American inventor, James Watson Hendry. In the 1970s Hendry went on to develop the first gas-assisted injection moulding process. This process permitted the production of complex, hollow, plastic objects of differing sizes. This greatly improved design flexibility as well as the strength and finish of manufactured parts while reducing production time, cost, weight and waste. Today, almost all injection moulding machines still use Hendry's gas-assisted injection moulding process.

Information provided by Jenny Folley, May 2020

"Folley bricks were designed by my father-in-law, Alex Folley, and manufactured by his son, Roy Folley (my husband). Alex Folley, a brilliant engineer, worked around the Lego patent to produce this brick that would fit Lego. There was a time, due to it being cheaper, there were more Folley bricks sold in Australia compared to Lego. Hence Lego sued them in a few countries, to no avail.

The case was won in England against Lego. Alex Folley continued to produce these bricks, however this was a side line, and their main focus was manufacturing garden ware, kitchen ware, bike helmets and parts for Nissan. Many years later the plastic manufacturing plant went bankrupt due to the sudden and unexpected closure of Nissan in Australia. Unable to survive after a massive investment to purchase machines to manufacture the parts for Nissan, the company closed. The moulds for Folley bricks were sold off.

A few years later when the patent was due for renewal, Roy Folley didn't bother as we no longer had the moulds and they did not seem to be in use. We believe Lego applied to have this cancelled, we are unsure how this was managed, considering they lost the case in the UK."

History

Notes

The donor purchased this second hand and there is no known provenence.

Source

Credit Line

Gift of Paul Donnelly, 2014

Acquisition Date

29 October 2014

Cite this Object

Harvard

Folley's toy brick construction sets 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 17 October 2021, <https://ma.as/494270>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/494270 |title=Folley's toy brick construction sets |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=17 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}