Plastic Building Bricks (Chad Valley)
A set of smooth plastic building blocks (sold as "Plastic Building Bricks"), made by Chad Valley in the 1940s.
Chad Valley used to produce a range of traditional building blocks made from wood, and this set represented an attempt to translate the idea to plastic - in this case, to a hard "Bakelite-like" material. The internal corner reinforcements and reinforcing walls make the internals of the white pieces look very much like the white plastic wall-boxes used for mains power sockets.
The pieces are traditional "wooden block" shapes with a fixed thickness suitable for making into mosaics or stacking to form walls or crude buildings. The exteriors of the blocks are completely smooth, and there's no attempt to make use of the moulding process to incorporate additional studs or ridges or textures, or any form of interlocking or locating details - this is literally a wooden block set, executed in plastic.
- Square, 2×2×1, (Chad Valley Building Block E 20)
- Double-square, 4×2×1, (Chad Valley Building Block E 7)
- Half-square (triangle), 2×2×1 cut diagonally, (Chad Valley Building Block E 17)
- Half-arch, 2×2×1, exterior radius 2, interior radius 1, (Chad Valley Building Block E 11)
- Pillar, 1×1×2, octagonal, hollow
The pillar pieces don't have any obvious internal markings other than a thin raised spiral, which might be there for tooling purposes.
In this example of the set, the pillar pieces are green, the half-arches arches are black, the double-squares come in red, white and blue, and the squares and triangles are white.
- Plastic Building Blocks (Chad Valley), V&A (collections.vam.ac.uk) - photograph of a complete boxes set, with a different set of colours