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1969 -     

Philiform was a plastic construction set system sold by Phillips from ~1969 to 1972.

Philiform girders resembled more skeletal versions of Lego's one-unit-wide blocks, but had holes through the top, and missed out every other peg. These "missed pegs" allowed two girders to be clipped together at a wider range of angles than Lego blocks, and invited the sort of cranelike structures with angles other than 90 degrees that were usually associated with Meccano (or, later, with Lego Technic). Wheels could be fixed through the holes with small plastic pegs.

Philiform vs Lego Technic

Philiform's "free-form connections between angled girders encourage a creation method almost identical to the later Lego Technic, to the extent that it is sometimes suggested that Technic might have been based on Philiform.

However, with studded Technic bricks, the holes penetrate the sides of the bricks rather than the tops (if the studs are at the top), so structures can be built vertically, with horizontal axles for wheels and driveshafts. additionally, most Technics bricks dispense with studs altogether, and rely on a range of additional pegging parts.

By contrast, Philiform's system had the awkward property that if the beams were aligned so that the holes were horizontal, the left side of a girder was different to the right (one having pegs and one not), so that models tended to have left-right asymmetry -- in this respect, Lego Technic is arguably conceptually "cleaner" and more satisfying to use.

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