Category:Alcon construction sets

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Alcon logo.jpg

Alcon construction sets

1950s -     

The Alcon (="aluminium connector"?) construction set system consisted of dyed matchwood sticks of various lengths and colours, and a range of lightweight aluminium end-connectors made of stamped and shaped metal sheet, reminiscent of (and probably inspired by) aluminium electrical crimp terminal connectors.

The basic idea was quite clever: the end-pieces were probably stamped out and folded using modified equipment designed for manufacturing standard electrical crimp connectors (making mass-production easy), and the matchwood "rods" were probably purchased in bulk, chopped to length in batches and dunked in coloured dye.

The Alcon Construction Kit system
Jet Car, Alcon Model No.1

Patent details

A patent for the system (GB661126) was applied for by Constructo Toys Ltd. of Bridge House, 4 High Road, Ilford, Essex on May 7, 1949 and was granted on 14th November 1951, with the inventor listed as being Heinz Deshaw.

Heinz Deshaw also shared a number of patents with Zoltan Deshaw, for the construction and manipulation of filaments for lightbulbs, for Ismay Lamps Ltd. of Ilford, Essex, so Heinz would have been very familiar with equipment used to manufacture electrical terminals and connections.

Alcon Constructors' Club

Here then is a extremely thrilling hobby and so that your interest may be sustained we have formed the ALCON Constructors' Club for boys and girls. The Club provides its members with the latest designs for model making, and in addition constantly offers prizes for new and original ideas.

An entrance form is printed on the centre pages and you are asked to fill in your name, address and age, and send it with a sixpenny postal order to:
ALCON CONSTRUCTORS' CLUB, BRIDGE HOUSE, 4 HIGH ROAD, ILFORD ESSEX.

In return you will will be given a membership form and a club badge.

... made by Trix

Although the system was cheap to make, producing a successful construction toy system also requires marketing and distribution. Although our example has the Ilford address, later examples listed online in collections were produced in the 1950s under the Trix name, so it would appear that after having attempted to sell Alcon sets themselves, the owners seem to have sold or licensed the system to Trix Ltd., who would have been in a better positions to market it.

Trix Ltd. were already selling their Trix construction sets that undercut Meccano on price, so they would have had an existing list of retailer customers interested in buying cheap construction sets.

Addresses

Constructo Toys Ltd., Bridge House, 4 High Road, Ilford, Essex

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