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Toy Brands and Manufacturers

Mobaco logo.jpg


1930s -     

The Dutch-made Mobaco architectural construction sets appeared in the 1930s, and were made of wood and treated, hardened cardboard.

The system consisted of upright rods inserted into a baseplate, between which wall and window elements could be inserted, and may have inspired the smaller-scale plastic Bayko architectural sets produced by Plimpton Engineering in England.

The system

The main component of the Mobaco system was a set of square hardwood rods with grooves cut into all four flat faces. These were inserted into a series of baseplates, after which wall, door and window elements could be slotted between adjacent rods.

Floor panels (with suitable square cutouts) could then be lowered over the rods to rest on the wall elements, and the process repeated for further floors of the building. Rods were supplied in various lengths according to the number of floors that they were supposed to span.

For flexibility, floor panels came in a variety of rectangular shapes many fairly small), and could be "paved" over a lower floor. Since this piecemeal approach to floorbuilding would tend to make for wobbly buildings, Mobaco's designs assumed that each floor would use a double-layer of floor-plates, overlapped for rigidity. Angled red roof plates could then be used on the top floor(s) to create sloping roofs and towers.

Although the floor and wall elements are often described as being "cardboard", the pieces were hardened and possibly chemically treated - when two pieces are tapped together, they make an almost ceramic-sounding "chink" sound, so it's possible that they might have been impregnated with phenolic resins or some early plastics, and/or heat-treated.

The manuals

Mobaco's manuals were extravagantly large-format, possibly due to the need to be able to produce complex building plans at a large enough sale to be easily legible. Since the plans were (hopefully) self-explanatory, the manuals didn't include any text other than the company name, which meant that they didn't need to be translated and reprinted for export to other countries.

Page 49 of the manual, for the construction of a model building, showing a line drawing and floor plans

External links

Pages in category ‘Mobaco’

The following 4 pages are in this category, out of 4 total.