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Samlo Instructions Book A-E (Waddingtons).jpg


1936 -     

SAMLO was an card building construction set system designed and produced by John Waddington Ltd. in the mid-1930s. Inventor Hans Alfred Frederik Sieck of Denmark applied for a UK patent for the system in early 1935, and had the specification accepted in early 1936 (patent GB443055). The patent records also list someone of the same name having lived at Princes Avenue, Liverpool in 1930, and patenting an ornithopter (an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings).

Waddingtons were well-known manufacturers of playing cards and board games, so a card-based construction set would have been a natural developement. The basic system consisted of pre-cut walls with large interlocking tabs that could then be folded flat. Buildings were built on raised folded card bases, and the scale was a slightly odd 1:36, or "one inch to the yard". Buildings could be taken apart and the walls reused if one was reasonably careful.

Waddingtons' concept with Samlo seems to have been to promote it as a way of encouraging children to become architects, and the instruction booklet included a page for pricing the construction of real buildings, by the square yard.

One of the advantages of the Samlo system was that it could cope with curved walls, and many of the Samlo booklet designs included semicircular Art Deco features, which worked well with the slightly textured cream-coloured card, which gave the impression of painted rendering.

Samlo Sets

Samlo had five main sets, A-E, and four intermediate upgrade sets, Aa-Da. Set Aa turned a set A into a set B, Ba turned set B into set C, and so on.

All parts were also available separately, and there were also three room sets of wooden furniture

Instruction manual overview

Introduction to Samlo Building Outfits

Samlo is the most complete and instructive hobby ever invented. Samlo is easy to assemble and easy to dismantle. The same Samlo parts can be used innumerable times, being made of a special material. Glue, scissors or other tools are not required. Samlo will be an invaluable help to the young architect, constructional engineer and builder of the future. In the past, too little attention has been given to the utility and artistic merit of buildings, and the result is that most of the houses in Great Britain lack those essentials. The young people of to-day are artistic, inventive and practical; Samlo will give them an opportunity of propounding their ability to its fullest extent. Investigation has shown that the houses designed by women are easy to keep tidy and clean. Girls of the future should take as much interest in designing a house as in "running it".

Villages, cities and towns in Great Britain will have to be rebuilt during the next fifty years, and architects and builders will be in greater demand than before.

For instance, railways stations – most of them are ugly and dirty, cold and uncomfortable for the passengers, and usually built with a material that collects smoke and dirt. If you will only look round, you will see many instances showing that there is a real need for the young architect and young builder with new ideas.


On page 29 is a brief estimate of the various "quantities" required in building a house. With this information, the young architect will be able to work out the approximate cost of the house he has designed. Samlo is in a proportion of one inch to one yard, i.e., a Samlo floor is 8 in. × 5¾ in. inside the slots which would equal a room 8 yards × 5¾ yards or 24 ft. × 17 ft. 3 in.

Samlo parts list:

  • 51 – Floor, oblong
  • 51EL – Floor, oblong (for elec. light)
  • 51A – Suntrap, base
  • 51B – Suntrap, ceiling
  • 52 – Foundation, 5 tongues
  • 53 – Foundation, 7 tongues
  • 54 & 54EL – Small circles
  • 55 & 55EL – Large circles
  • 56 – Strips, with 3 tongues
  • 57 – Strips, with 5 tongues
  • 58 – Strips, with 6 tongues
  • 59 – Strips, with 7 tongues
  • 60 – Strips, with 9 tongues
  • 61 – Wall, plain
  • 62 – Corner, double for suntrap
  • 63 – Corner
  • 64 – Wall, for 3 windows
  • 65 – Wall, for 2 windows
  • 66 – Wall, for 1 window
  • 67 – Wall, for 2 windows and door
  • 68 – Wall, for 1 window and door
  • 69 – Wall, for door only
  • 70 – Chimney, small
  • 71 – Chimney, large
  • 72 – Dormer window wall
  • 73 – Gable window wall
  • 74 – Door
  • 75 – Window
  • 76 – Roof, large section
  • 77 – Roof, small section
  • 78 – Dormer roof
  • 79 – Plain
  • 80 – Corner tiles
  • 90 – Mansion doors
  • 91 – Fire station doors
  • 92 – Private garage doors
  • 93 – Shop front (grocer's)
  • 94 – Shop Front (sports)
  • 95-99 – Garden walling
  • 100 – Back wall, hinged panel
  • 101 – Tunnel, curved beam
  • 102 – Special long windows

Samlo Furniture

"Samlo Furniture is made of coloured, smooth, highly polished wood sections."

Kitchen Furniture
Box of Kitchen Furniture containing 3 Chair, Kitchen Table, Sideboard and Plate Rack, Carpet and Linoleum Surround. 1/- per box.
Dining Room Suite
Box of Dining Room Furniture containing Table, Desk, 3 Chairs, Carpet and Linoleum Surround. 1/- per box.
Bedroom Suite
Box of Bedroom Furniture containing 2 Beds, Dressing Table, Dressing Table Stool, Side Table, Chair, Carpet and Linoleum Surround. 1/- per box.

External links

Pages in category ‘Samlo’

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.