INTRO PARTS
SETS
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MANUALS
Moubal
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MARKETING PRICE LISTS
BUILDING
MOUBAL

RELATED





This page is a "grab bag" of miscellaneous stuff that doesn't fit any of the other categories. Here you will find:

•   Other systems that predate Mobaco, are a direct copy, or similar to Mobaco. Jump directly to:
Pulko Patent Baukasten
McLoughlin's Sky-Hi
Edilizia
El Constructor Infantil (Privilegado)
Casitas FRM
Donald Arquitecto / Donald Architect
Fox Blox
Bouw Mee
Fabro
Okwa Zet-z-op
Wilfried, der kleine Baumeister
Corus
Hubo EL-4 System
Unknown Play Structure
MiniPLEX
Rabius Design
Arckit
•   Articles and booklets by Mobaco collectors about the history of Mobaco

•   Links to related websites





OTHER SYSTEMS

It is said that "plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery."  Well, Mobaco can be proud. There were many companies that make Mobaco-like toys, here some that I found on the internet.


There is even a life-size version of Mobaco, appropriately used for children's play structures!








PULKO PATENT BAUKASTEN

This German system dates from around 1900-1920, and appears to be the inspiration for Mobaco. It was a product of Carl Josef Bollig & Co. Research is currently underway to find out the exact link between Pulko and Mobaco.

Like Mobaco, Pulko has columns and infill panels. The major difference is that all Pulko parts are made of wood. Columns are round. Holes in strips and floor plates are circular, easily made with a drill. Window panels are glued together from three parts, doors from two parts. Manufacturing was labor intensive which probably made the system very expensive.

Mobaco's innovation was to stamp the complicated parts from very dense cardboard, significantly reducing manufacturing cost. Interestingly, Mobaco kept the same door, window, fence and crenelation designs of Pulko, despite that they had much more manufacturing freedom.

Pulko had three sets and two make-up sets. The principal sets were named Addo, Baldo and Caro, the first letters being A, B, and C. The make-up sets combined two syllables of both adjacent sets: Adbal and Balcar. So far only Addo, Adbal and Baldo have been found. The larger sets, Caro and Balcar, were possibly never produced.

Only two Dutch ads have been found featuring Pulko, in 1920 and 1922. Mobaco came out in 1924, four years after the first Pulko ad. In 1928, a Pulko set is listed in a department store sale ad in Batavia (Jakarta), Indonesia, so apparently some Pulko was exported to the Dutch colonies.

These sets are very rare. Below what has been found so far.                                                      
Wood window made with three
                                                                                                                                                                                          hand-sawn parts, glued together.


PULKO - ADDO (SET 1) - GERMAN VERSION

There are German, French and English versions of this set, although the latter two may just have been prototypes. They all have the same layout, with prominently in the middle a sweating/crying frog sitting on a mortar shell in front of what appears to be a rising sun. The copper ring at the back of the shell shows rifling, which means the shell has been fired. The frog's mouth has the shape of a heart. I have absolutely no idea what the symbolism of this image is, and why it sits on a children's construction toy!

The German set had a Dutch manual in it (see below).



    
                                                                                                                                                Image courtesy of Barend Westerveld



    
Images courtesy of Barend Westerveld




PULKO MANUAL FOR SET 1 (ADDO) - DUTCH VERSION

The instructions were very different from Mobaco manuals. The base plates were not shown. You had to refer to a legend to see which
panel would go where. Since Mobaco had a lot more variation in parts, this approach wouldn't have worked for Mobaco. Mobaco's use of numbers
stamped on the parts and shown in the construction diagrams made building in Mobaco relatively easy despite its higher complexity.

I think that the building on the cover represents a railway station with an arched passageway over the tracks. Only people with tickets are allowed on the platforms, others are kept out by the fences. It probably required the Caro Set, as there are no arched parts in the Addo and Baldo sets.


      199 x 251 mm

      16 pages (including covers)

      Black & white

      8 designs

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF





















Scans courtesy of Barend Westerveld





PULKO - ADDO (SET 1) - FRENCH VERSION

The text down the middle of the box translates as "Registered in all the countries of the universe - Models of Set No. 1 - Addo."


    








PULKO - ADDO (SET 1) - ENGLISH VERSION


Only a label has been found of the English version. Other than the text, it's identical to the French version.

  





PULKO - ADBAL (MAKE-UP SET 1a) - GERMAN

This set is essentially a German ADDO box with an ADBAL sticker. On the side is an image of the box, which on its side has an image of the box, which on its side, etc... In Dutch this is called the Droste Effect, referring to a similar recurring effect on tins of cocoa powder made by the Droste chocolate company.

   

       
Images courtesy of Alex Geelhoed and Henri de Graaf





PULKO - BALDO (SET 2) - GERMAN

Here too, a sticker identifying the set is glued over the original identifier. The sticker has the exact same shape as on Set 1a above.

The booklet has different wording on the cover than the Addo manual above. It features 24 different models instead of 8.



  

    
Set and images found on eBay






SKY-HI


McLoughlin Brother's Sky-Hi was invented by Walter Stranders of New York, who filed for a patent on 18 July 1884. In the patent application he states that it is his original invention. It was granted on 3 February 1885.

Perhaps Sky-Hi inspired Pulko? Both feature round columns with 4 grooves. A key difference is that Sky-Hi results in closed buildings, while Pulko (and Mobaco) had openings, increasing the play value.

Sky-Hi was featured in an exhibition by the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal 1991-92 called Potential Architecture: Construction Toys from the CCA Collection, together with many other historic construction toys.
The Canadian Center for Architecture also did a nice write-up about Ski-Hi and several other construction toys.

The wooden box measures 31 x 29 x 7 cm.



Image courtesy of the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, Canada




There is a variation on this set called Ski-Hi (instead of Sky-Hi) with a more obvious Japanese motif. It probably pre-dates the
above version as it closely resembles the patent application below.


Image courtesy of the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, Canada



Image from the Patent application. The Japanese inspiration is rather obvious, including Japanese characters on the deck panels.
However, according to a Japanese acquaintance, the characters are gibberish 😊:


Image courtesy of the US Patent Office


These sets are very rare.







EDILIZIA by Fabbrica Giocattoli MB (= Mario Biffignandi) - 1929


Per favore fatemi sapere se avete ulteriori informazioni o correzioni su Edilizia. Se sei un collezionista, contattami! Vedere la home page per le informazioni di contatto.

Traduzione di Google in italiano


Edilizia is a colorful all-wooden Italian construction system similar to Mobaco, except that the foundation system is based on a grid of interlocking strips rather than a base plate with holes:




Columns have a cross-shaped slot at the bottom to fit over intersections in the grid:




Ground floor panels are supported by small plates that fit into slots in foundation strips A1, A3 and A5. Since the ground floor is up 21 mm, there are stairs to provide access. They fit exactly between foundation strips and have cut-outs for the columns:

     


Upper s
tory floors consist of two layers, similar to Mobaco, with perforated strips connecting columns in one or the other direction. The gaps between the perforated strips are filled with unperforated strips that rest on the perforated strips below. This way, only a handful of different parts are needed.

Roofs are always flat. Walls come in four flavors, closed, with a window, with a door or 1/3rd high as a guardrail. A colorful pattern is printed on each, on one side only. All in all, the system only has 23 different parts compared with appr. 200 for Mobaco

After a long search I discovered what the MB in Fabbrica Giocattoli MB stands for. What helped narrow down the search was that the red manual (see below) was printed by a printer in Rome. In a 1932 industry directory I found Mario Biffignandi, Architettura in legno (architecture in wood), via Castelfidardo 50, Roma.

That this is indeed the right person was confirmed by a listing for the 1929 Barcelona
International Fair (see more below), mentioning that Mario Biffignandi won a Bronze Medal for a toy:


Found in "La partecipazione italiana all'Esposizione internazionale di Barcelona, 1929"




EDILIZIA SETS

So far I have found two Edilizia boxes, both a Set no. 1. From the manual it's clear that there were three progressively larger sets, Nos. 1, 2 and 3 with respectively 91, 146 and 196 parts.

Both boxes are wood with dovetail corners, with a plywood bottom and a slide-out plywood lid with an brown halftone photograph glued to it of an administrative-looking building made with Edilizia.

The two boxes contain slightly different wall parts. For instance, the older version of the door part has a wider opening and an oval top, while the newer door opening is narrower and has a circular top. In the older set, windows have one or three openings, while in the newer set they have two openings. The models featured in the manual as well as the image on the box lid have windows with three openings.


  


   

If you have a set, I'd love to get pictures. Please contact me.




BOX ART

The text next tot the imaged reads:

COSTRUZIONI IN LEGNO DI PICCOLE CASE VILLINI ecc.
SMONTABILI
L'ARTE EDILE ALLA PORTATA DI TUTTI
ISTRUTTIVO
DILETTEVOLE
RICREATIVO

which translates as:

Wooden construction of small houses, villa's, etc.
Can be disassembled
The art of building accessible to all
Instructive
Pleasant
Recreational

The building shown on the lid has a passing resemblance with the noeclassical
Montecitorio Parliament building in Rome, rear side, upper part, designed by architect Ernesto Basile and completed in 1927. It has similar tri-partite windows, tri-partite balustrades, towers at each end, 9 bays in between, and arched openings in the towers. In the model, the balcony has been widened to five bays and the towers to two bays.

A second possibility is that the model was inspired by the building which housed the printer of the manual, Stabilimento Luigi Salomone,
which was located at Via Ostiense n. 75, corner of Via Pellegrino Matteucci in Rome's Ostiense neighborhood. It is conceivable that they were an investor in this venture and that Mario Biffignandi honored them by featuring their building on the box. The building was demolished during a bombardment in 1944. Unlike the model, the building isn't quite symmetrical, but the five tall windows of the printing hall, the corner tower with the arched entry and the flag pole are shown in the model.

If you know of another building the model resembles, please let me know!


 

   
Stabilimento Luigi Salomone, Rome                              Montecitorio Parliament building, Rome
Image from Rerum Romanorum                                                         Image from Wikipedia




EDILIZIA PARTS

Parts are shown at half size.

No.
Description
Image (shown at 50%)
Set no. 1
Set No. 2
Set No. 3
A
Foundation strip
with 2 notches down

3
3
4
A1
Foundation strip with floor support slot and 2 notches up

3
3
4
A2
Foundation strip
with 3 notches down


3
3
4
A3
Foundation strip with 2 floor support slots and 3 notches up

3
3
4
A4
Foundation strip
with 4 notches down


-
3
4
A5
Foundation strip with 3 floor support slots and 4 notches up

-
3
4
-
Floor support strip
(no ID number)
          Counts are estimated >>
9
18
24
B
Post, 1-1/3 stories high

6
6
8
B1
Post, 2-1/3 stories high

6
6
8
B2
Post, 3-1/3 stories high

Shown at half the size of the other parts
-
4
6
C
Post, 1/3rd story high, pointed

2
6
8
D
Ground floor panel

4
8
12
E
Door panel
     
Front v1 (early)   Front v2 (later)   Back v2 (later)

4
8
10
F
Window panel with:
- early version: 1 or 3 openings
- later version: 2 openings

         Front v1 (early)  Front v2 (early)  Front v3 (later)   Back v3 (later)
6
10
14
G
Closed wall panel
     
Front (early)       Front (later)        Back (later)
10
14
18
H
Connecting strip, 2 holes

7
12
14
H1
Connecting strip, 3 holes

6
10
10
H2
Connecting strip, 4 holes

2
5
9
H3
Connecting strip, 5 holes

Shown at half the size of the other parts
2
2
4
I
Upper floor filler plate, 1 module long

6
5
8
I1
Upper floor filler plate, 2 modules long

2
4
6
I2
Upper floor filler plate, 3 modules long

-
-
3
L
Guardrail panel
     
Front  (early)       Front (later)        Back (later) 
14
24
30
M
Exterior steps

2
3
4

TOTAL parts

91
146
196
Images by CM & Barend Westerveld



Module size is 80 mm, compared to 57.5 mm for Mobaco, and panel height is 106 mm, compared to 102 mm for Mobaco. Posts are 14.5 mm square (Mobaco has ±12.5 mm) with 4.2 mm-wide grooves to accommodate the 3.5 mm-thick wall panels. The grooves at the bottom of the posts are slightly wider, 4.5 mm, to fit over the foundation strips which are 4.2 mm thick.

It turns out that in practice the wall panels are a few mm too narrow, they tend to fall out of the grooves. In the diagram below, a secondary line shows what size the panels should be to avoid this. Also the height should be slightly adjusted so 3 guardrails parts are the same height as a wall. Finally, the stairs are only 19.5 mm high while the ground floor is 21 mm high. This could be fixed by making the stair risers 7 mm instead of 6.5 mm.


Wall panels are relatively wider than Mobaco, which gives Ediliza buildings more of a regal feeling, more stature. The visible part of Edilizia wall panels is 65.5 wide x 106.5 mm high, with a ratio of 1:1.63, while for Mobaco it is 45 x 102 mm with a ratio of 2.27, making Mobaco 1.4x narrower.







EDILIZIA MANUALS

I know of two versions of the manual for Set no. 1. Only the cover is different, contents are the same.

Version 1, the older version, has
an art nouveau border and "Brevettato" (Patented) stamped on the cover. Inside are two red stamps, "Medaglia d'Argento, 1a Mostra del Gioccattolo Italiano - Milano" and "Medaglia d'Argentino, Esposizione Internazionale di Barcellona, 1929" meaning Silver Medal at the First Toy Fair in Milan, Italy and Silver Medal at the 1929 Barcelona International Fair (Spain).

Version 2 has an art deco border, a more modern typeface and layout, and printed on the cover is "Giocattolo Brevettato" and "Premiato alla 1a Mostra del Giocattolo Italiano - Milano" meaning Patented Toy and Awarded at the First Italian Toy Exhibition in Milan.


 

On both manuals, the set number is hand-stamped with a rubber stamp, suggesting that the same cover was used for all sets.

Inside both manuals is the same text. It appears the text was written for presentation at the fairs (because of "which our factory presents") and was also used in the manuals:

English translation (Google):

L'EDILIZIA, which our factory presents, is different from the common toy from which the child cannot get any advantage.

L'EDILIZIA is a construction system of maximum simplicity, but of great satisfaction and usefulness for those who build with it. It is extremely interesting for children who demonstrate aptitudes for architectural studies, engineering, etc., without neglecting the benefits it offers in the practice of drawing and perspective.

The examples in the manual supplied with each
L'EDILIZIA set are only a guide for a limited number of buildings, they are the necessary starting point so that the builder's imagination can carry out an infinite number of buildings by himself.

The plywood gives the parts maximum solidity, their ingenious assembly gives the construction complete rigidity and easy disassembly.

L'EDILIZIA is a toy within reach of all purses, very recreational and useful for the development of the imagination.

Original Italian text (for Search Engine):

L'EDILIZIA, che la nostra fabbrica presenta è diverso dal comune giocattolo da cui il bambino non può trarre nessun vantaggio.

L'EDILIZIA è una costruzione di massima semplicità, ma di grande soddisfazione e utilità per chi ne esegue la struttura. Riesce oltremodo interessante ai ragazzi che dimostrano attitudini per gli studi architettonici, d'ingegneria ecc., non trascurando i benefici che offre nella pratica del disegno e della prospettiva.

Le figure che compongono il catalogo di cui ogni scatola dell'EDILIZIA è fornita non sono che una guida per un numero limitato di costruzioni, è il necessario punto di partenza affinchè la fantasia del costruttore possa da sola eseguire un numero infinito di edifici.

Il legno compensato rende le sagome di una solidità massima, la loro ingegnosa manifattura donano alla costruzione rigidità completa e rapidità per essere smontate.

L'EDILIZIA è un giocattolo alla portata di tutte le borse, di grande ricreazione e utile per lo sviluppo della fantasia.





MANUAL FOR SET 1 - VERSION 1:


      313 x 251 mm

      18 pages (including covers)

      Black & white

      7 designs

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF








Scans courtesy Barend Westerveld





MANUAL FOR SET 1 - VERSION 2:


      313 x 251 mm

      18 pages (including covers)

      Black & white

      7 designs

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF








Scans courtesy CM





DATING EDILIZIA

Hand-stamped in the older manual are mentions of Silver Medals received at the Barcelona International Fair, which was held from 20 May 1929 to 15 January 1930, and at the
First Italian Toy Fair in Milan
, which was held from 5 to 15 September 1929.

Stamps in the manual:


Courtesy of Barend Westerveld



I found a photograph of the Edilizia building being exhibited in Milan! The shape of the windows is different from the production version, so this was probably the prototype.


Image from eBay - Photograph taken 5-15 September 1929


Since the Barcelona and Milan fairs overlapped, they may have had two prototypes. However, the Barcelona fair lasted 8 months while the Milan fair was just 11 days, so I suspect they shipped the model to Milan for a couple of weeks and returned it to Barcelona afterwards.

Poster of the 1929 Milan Toy Fair:

Image from Istituto Documentazione ate Ligure



Poster of the 1929 Barcelona International Fair:

Image from Wikimedia
                                       
In order to arrange a stand at the Barcelona fair, the prototype must have been ready early in 1929.

A
fter the positive reception at the fair, it must have taken them a few months to create the tooling to punch out the door and window openings as well as the holes in the connecting strips, so the first sets to market were, at the earliest, just in time for the 1929 Christmas season. I speculate that production of the manuals was already underway when they received their medals, so they added a mention to the early manuals with hand stamps.


It is unclear how long Edilizia was in production. Italy saw a deep economic crisis in 1931, and I wouldn't be surprised if Fabbrica Giocattoli MB did not survive much beyond that. At least they are still listed in a 1932 industry directory. If you have more info about this company, please contact me!





BUILDING AN EDILIZIA HOUSE

Below the construction of building no. 7 from the Set 1 manual. The instructions only show the foundation layout, one elevation and a list of parts, and you figure out the rest yourself.

            
Scans courtesy of Barend Westerveld


Note that in this set, some doors and windows have little curtains glued to the inside, probably added by the owner of the set.

     
Place foundation strips with upper slots                  Add foundation strips with lower slots                    Insert floor support plates in horizontal slots


     
Detail of floor support plates                                  
Place columns over intersections, and set stairs    Place first floor floor panels (only 4 provided)


  
  
Slide wall panels down the slots in the posts          Place first layer of connecting strips                       Place second layer of connecting strips


  
  
Slide down upper wall panels                                 First layer of second floor, with connecting strips   Fill floor gaps with floor strips


     
Detail of floor strips between connecting strips       Second layer of connecting strips & floor strips     Place guardrails, and admire your work!




VIRTUAL BUILDING WITH EDILIZIA

You can virtually build your own Edilizia buildings using Koos Welling's LeoCAD library of parts. Here all models from Set no. 1:


Modeling and image courtesy of Koos Welling


Here the building featured on the box lid:


Modeling and image courtesy of Koos Welling










EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO)


Por favor déjeme saber si tiene información adicional o correcciones sobre El Constructor Infantil. Si eres un coleccionista, ¡ponte en contacto conmigo! Consulte la página de inicio para obtener información de contacto.


Haga clic aquí para la traducción al español.
Click here for Spanish translation


El Constructor Infantil (Privilegiado) was probably
produced under license from van Mouwerik en Bal by Occhipinti & Ferreri (OF) in Buenos Aires, Argentina. It was a direct copy of Mobaco, even the part numbers are the same. But the manuals were different.

In her book Diccionario de Juguetes Argentinos (Dictionary of Argentine Toys, p. 171), Daniele Pelegrinelli writes that José Occhipinti toured Europe in 1934 in search of products that could be made in Argentina. He visited Prague, Nuremberg, and Brussels, and "spent weeks and weeks observing how products were prepared, assembled, corrected, controlled, even how they were packaged. From that trip comes El Constructor Infantil, inspired by a Dutch toy."

José Occhipinti, a business man, joined with Salvador Ferreri, a 3rd generation cabinet maker, to start Occhipinti & Ferreri in 1932. "OF" made a wide variety of quality wood toys including trucks, miniature kitchen utensils, trolleys, party games, yachts with automatic steering, pianitos, furniture for dolls, bowling games, forklifts and many more, including El Constructor Infantil, and later El Constructor Infantil (Privilegiado). They closed in 1965.
 
OF probably brought the first sets to market around 1937.                                                                                                                            Image from Museo del Juguete, San Isidro, Argentina
Initially, it was just called El Constructor Infantil.
I understand that the moniker (Privilegiado) was added
after World War 2.

A key difference with Mobaco is that El Constructor Infantil's cardboard was thinner, 1.5 mm instead of 2.5 mm, and thus the grooves in their columns. Initially the panels had similar colors to Mobaco, but later the panels were more colorful. The core was tan, with a colored paper on both sides. Click here for more detail on parts.

Base plates were made of plywood instead of fiberboard, with stamped out holes. In the above photograph a cardboard plate is glued underneath the plywood to prevent columns from falling through. This is something Mobaco did for a short time, but quickly discontinued as it caused their base plates to bend. Other than this image, I have not seen any El Constructor Infantil base plates with cardboard glued to the bottom, so it may have been short lived as well.

It appears that initially there were 4 sets, but ultimately, there were 6 sets, named Caja no. 1 through 6. The sets came in different-sized boxes covered in red paper with gold printing, which is quite hard to read (and photograph). Interestingly, each set had a different size base plate.

In addition to the 6 sets, you could purchase 5 make-up sets ("Caja para ampliar") that contained the parts to expand to the next Set up. I have not come across any such make-up sets. You could also purchase spare parts.

Initially, there were different manuals for different sets, with a loose-leaf drawing of all the parts, but later all sets had the same manual, with models for all six sets (see further below), and a drawing of the parts on the last page. Also, a parts list was  shown in the manual.

Except for Sets 2 and 5, all images below are from internet auctions sites, mostly from Mercado Libre. For every set, the first image of the box lid is shown at the same scale (50% at 72dpi), for comparison.

Boxes were larger than comparable Mobaco boxes, which made storage of parts easier. With Mobaco you must really do your best to fit everything into the box, but with El Constructor Infantil you could just throw the parts into the box and it would fit.


Interestingly, an Argentinian psychologist named Arminda Aberastury developed a therapy for children using El Constructor Infantil. She published a book about it called "El Juego de Construir Casas - Su interpretación y valor diagnóstico" which translates as The House Building Game - Its interpretation and diagnostic value.


Below the chronology of sets that I could distill from what I've seen so far. It's definitely preliminary, with a lot of questions about the early period. Type "g" appears to be an anomaly and is perhaps from a transition period. If you have information to add, or corrections, please let me know!








EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) - SET NO. 1

This set has a 3 x 3-hole base plate and 49 parts.
The base plate is 175 x 175 mm.

You can build 5 models with it.

It is similar to Mobaco Set 00, which also has a 3 x 3 base plate and 49 parts.

   
Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina





EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) - SET NO. 2

This set has a 4 x 4-hole base plate and 120 parts. The base plate is 225 x 225 mm.

It is somewhat similar to Mobaco Set 0, which also has a 4 x 4 base plate and 111 parts.

The lid states that you can build 15 chalets, which includes the models of Set 1.

The box lid measures 235 x 232 mm.

     

   

   
Scans & photo's: CM



OLDER VERSIONS:

The lid only mentions 8 models (instead of 15) and a price of $6.90 (pesos?). There is no image pasted on the lid. Unreadable to the left of the price is the mention of Set No. 2. I also found a similar Set No. 3 (see below).


Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina


Here a similar older box without illustration, also with 8 models, but no price is mentioned. The paper is now red. This is probably a later set than the version with price above:


Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina






EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) - SET NO. 3

This set has a 5 x 4 hole base plate and 206 parts. The base plate is 280 x 225 mm.
 
It is somewhat similar to Mobaco Set 1, which only has a 4 x 4 base plate and 174 parts (starting in 1936).

The lid states that you can build 25 chalets, which includes the models of Sets 1 and 2.

  
Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina



EARLIER VERSION OF SET NO. 3 WITH DIFFERENT MANUAL AND SEPARATE REFERENCE SHEET:

In earlier sets, there was a separate reference sheet with drawings of all the parts. This way, you didn't have to flip back and forth between the reference sheet printed on the inside of the back cover of the manual and the model you were building.

The cover of this reference sheet indicates that there were 4 sets available.

The lid mentions a sales price of $9.90 (pesos?), and the ability to build 24 models. Later Sets no. 3 could build 25 models.

The included manual was only for Sets No. 3 and No. 4, but it appears to have included models for Sets 1 and 2.

This set only has a 4 x 4 base plate. Perhaps the 5 x 4 base plate was introduced later when they created the 6-set series?

The illustration on the lid is set in a "frame" that connects to the oval frame around the name. In later sets the two are disconnected (as shown above).

  


Manual for Sets 3 and 4. The first page shows models for smaller sets:

   


Below the reference sheet with all the parts. It states on the cover: "Drawing of the different parts that make up the 4 series of constructions and numbered to facilitate execution."

   
Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina



LATER VERSION OF SET NO. 3 THAN ABOVE:

The lid no longer mentions the price. There is still a loose leaf drawing with all the parts, alluding to 4 different sets. The manual cover is more modern. Unfortunately the photo's don't show the entire item:

   
Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina



LATEST SET NO. 3, WITH BRIGHT PARTS COLORS:

This set must have come after the first Set No. 3 shown above:


Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina



COLORFUL SET NO. 3:

I came across this Set No. 3 with colored columns and base plate. It could be that an enterprising parent painted these, but the colors match the cardboard very well so I think this may actually have been done by OF as a way to make the sets more enticing:


Source: Mercado Libre






EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) - SET NO. 4

This set has a 6 x 4 hole base plate and 278 parts. The base plate is 335 x 225 mm.
 
It falls in between Mobaco Set 1 and Set 2.  Mobaco Set 1 has a 4 x4 base plate and 174 parts while Mobaco Set 2 has an 8 x 4 base plate and 454 parts.

The lid states that you can build 35 chalets, which includes the models of Sets 1, 2 and 3.

The manual is the later version with models for Sets No. 1 through No. 6. The parts are very colorful.

In this example, the frame around the illustration on the lid still connects with the oval frame around the name. This would be Type "h" as designated in the chronology table above.

   


Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina



OLDER SET NO. 4 WITH MORE SUBDUED COLORS

In earlier sets, colors were more subdued: the doors were warm gray instead of blue, the yellow parts where off-white, the green parts a pale green, the red parts a pale red and the tan parts a warm gray, as shown in this Set No. 4. This set came with the later manual for Sets No. 1-6.



   
Source: Mercado Libre, Argentina






EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) - SET NO. 5

This set has a 7 x 4 hole base plate and 372 parts. The base plate is 390 x 225 mm.
 
It is smaller than Mobaco Set 2 which has a larger 8 x 4 base plate and 454 parts.

The lid states that you can build 45 chalets, which includes the models of Sets 1, 2, 3 and 4. To the right, the bottom of the box. These are both scans:




   


The lid measures 400 x 300 x 50 mm high. The bottom box is 65 mm high, together appr. 68 mm high. The base plate just fits into the bottom box:

  


The illustration on the lid was exactly the same illustration as the Mobaco drawing for model no. 38 (on the right), including the same small errors!
On the colored El Constructor Infantil illustration you can even see the remnants of the line indicating the base plate on the Mobaco drawing:

  









The corners were reinforced with corner staples below the red paper. This set was sold at Harrods in Buenos Aires for 365.00 pesos:

    
Scans and photo's: CM






EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) - SET NO. 6


This set has an 8 x 4 hole base plate and 461 parts. The base plate is 445 x 225 mm.
 
It is similar to Mobaco Set 2 which also has an 8 x 4 base plate and 454 parts.

You can build all 55 chalets in the manual.


[No images found yet - please let me know if you have this set!]







MANUAL FOR EL CONSTRUCTOR INFANTIL (PRIVILEGIADO) SETS 1 THROUGH 6

This large manual was used in all later sets. In Sets 1 and 2 the manual was folded to fit in the box.



     268 x 178 mm


     40 pages (including covers)

      Covers: green and white
      Inside: brown & white

      55 designs, as follows:

      • 5 designs for Set No. 1
      • 10 designs for Set No. 2
      • 10 designs for Set No. 3
      • 10 designs for Set No. 4
      • 10 designs for Set No. 5
      • 10 designs for Set No. 6

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD 200DPI PDF








Scans: CM




3D PRINTED PARTS

This toy was brought to my attention by Luis Manterola in Argentina, who created a digital library of all El Constructor Infantil parts for 3D printing. It's available on Thingverse.

The image of the column shows how thin the slots for the panels are.
3D printed panels will fit in the wider grooves of Mobaco columns, but Mobaco panels will not fit in the narrower grooves of El Constructor Infantil's 3D printed columns.

Luis
printed a large number of parts for his kids to play with. The result is great and the possibilities endless!

  

  

  
Images courtsey of Luis Manterola








CASITAS FRM

Casitas FRM is also made in Argentina. It was launched in 2016 by
Florencia Ruiz Moreno, and as of this writing (2022) is still in production. It is inspired by El Constructor Infantil.

The owner writes:
"I remembered El Constructor Infantil from my childhood at my grandfather's, 45 years ago. Because I didn't have the original Mobaco or Constructor Infantil I made the prototype from memory."

It's a colorful system, with a few differences from Mobaco/El Constructor Infantil: roof pitches are lower, there is a new gate with diagonals, and there is a new stairway, which adds to the play value of the toy. Also, they don't have Mobaco's double floor layers which is possible because the cardboard material is much thinner.


Left the "House of Tiger Island", right a fee-lance building:

     



There are just 17 different cardboard parts and three columns sizes:





The makers regularly organize play afternoons for kids. Much fun is had by all!

     



You can purchase a Casita set in a cardboard box, or in a luxury version in two wooden boxes. In the latter, the blue base plate acts is the lid for one of the boxes, and the other lid is transparent, showing off the colorful parts. Both versions have 64 cardboard parts, 30 columns and a base plate, and can build the House of Tiger Island:

   
All images courtesy of Casitas FRM


Sets are also sold online. In 2022, a set in a cardboard box cost 5,800 pesos (~47 euro), and in wooden boxes 6,500 pesos (~53 euro). In addition, you can buy extra columns in five lengths, extra base plates and extra sets of cardboard parts.

For more info, visit their Facebook or Instagram page.







DONALD ARQUITECTO / DONALD ARCHITECT

This toy was manufactured by Manufactura de Juguetes M. Bartrès in Barcelona, Spain, under license from the Walt Disney Corporation in the 1960's and 1970's. There appear to have been two series. In the first series, columns were made of wood, and the panels and base plates from cardboard. In the later series all parts were plastic.

The information here was collected from several auction sites. I have not been able to find original source documentation, so information about dates must be taken with a grain of salt.



FIRST SERIES - WOOD & CARDBOARD

Columns seem a bit thicker than Mobaco, and the cardboard thinner. The base plate also appears thinner. Openings in cardboard are smaller than in Mobaco, probably to compensate for the weaker panel material. There seem to be no interlocking roof panels, rather the roof panels were held in place by protruding column ends. Design of the green fence parts is more elaborate than Mobaco's simple slots.

In addition to Donald building a house, the three little pigs adorn the box. Rolls of drawings rest in the corner of Donald's office. The main title is in English, with a much smaller Spanish title below it.



Image courtesy of todocoleccion




SECOND SERIES - ALL PLASTIC

These sets are very colorful. The base plates are bright green, columns are red, wall panels white, railings green and floor plates and roof sections are bright red. The box has a different illustration with a more prominent Donald, the name is only in Spanish, and there are perspectives of several buildings, some of which are much larger than the set could build. The top example needs a base plate with 7 holes, while there were only 6!

Apparently there were three different sets. I have not yet seen Set 1. Sets 2 and 3 were in an identical box measuring 30 x 41 cm (roughly A3 size), the only difference being a round gold sticker glued on the top-left part of the illustration
with the set number.

The bottom box was partitioned. Most areas were raised, notably below the green base plate. Like the post-war Jumbo Mobaco sets, these boxes contained a lot of air!




                                        Set number 2                                                                                                   Set number 3

     
Images courtesy of catawiki



Left the copyright notice, and right several models shown on the lid:

     
Images courtesy of catawiki



It appears all sets had the same instruction manual, which showed models for Sets 1, 2 and 3.
Strangely, the illustrations didn't show columns. Here a few pages found on the internet:

  

  


Booklet images courtesy of todocoleccion


The parts list was a loose sheet. The one found in the above manual is probably for Set 2. It shows 17 types of parts, in these quantities:

- 10 windows
- 10 doors
- 12 railings (fences)
- 2 screens
- 8 half windows
- 2 roofs, a small and a large one
- 12 columns no. 1
- 6 columns no. 2
- 6 columns no. 3
- 6 columns no. 4
- 6 columns no. 5
- 6 columns no. 6
- 3 floor plates no. 1
- 3 floor plates no. 2
- 3 floor plates no. 3
- 1 base plate

It is unclear what the "half windows" might be. My guess is that this refers to the gable-end walls with the peaked top and rounded window.


Below, photographs of the parts.

On the left, the front and back of the base plate with 4 x 6 holes.
As the boxes were 30 cm wide, these base plates would have been appr. 29 cm long, and the columns were thus spaced appr. 48 mm on center, compared to 57 mm for Mobaco. Based on the illustrations in the manual, Set 1 may have had a base plate with 4 x 3 holes.

On the right, the three types of floor plates. The photo shows that the floor plates had a thinner edge so adjacent plates could overlap without thickening the floor. This innovation reduced the number of unique parts necessary for different floor layouts:
 
  
Images courtesy of todocoleccion and catawiki



Below the six column lengths. The shortest could support a railing/fence, the tallest 4 stories plus a railing. On
the right a railing/fence:
 
    

Images courtesy of todocoleccion



Below left, a screen, a window with a rectangular upper pane, a door and a gable end wall (to be used with the peaked roof). There is a slight recess around window and door openings, suggesting trim.

To the right a picture of a window with a curved upper pane from another set. On the far right the longer roof section.
The roof pitch is appr. 41 degrees, as compared to 45 degrees in Mobaco. The shorter roof section would fit between four columns and the longer roof would extend that to another four columns, so both roofs together would fit between two rows of four columns (= 3 squares). You'd need 4 gable end walls to support the two roof sections.

       
Images courtesy of todocoleccion


Note that the solid wall panels shown in the building illustrations don't appear in any of the sets I found on the internet, nor do they appear in the parts list. Also, it's not clear what was used for the walls below the gutter line of the sloped roofs, the height of which is determined by the gable end panels. Perhaps railings with a gap above them?



Here a model made with a Number 3 set:

   
Images courtesy of catawiki








FOX BLOX




Fox Blox was made by the Fox Blocks company in Pasadena, CA. Apparently is was first available in 1931, and was still being sold in the 1950's.

The toy was invented by Ned Barcley Fox of Norway, Michigan, who filed a patent for Building Blocks on 23 September 1931. Patent no. 1,898,297 was granted on 21 February 1933. Apparently more patents were applied for, as the box lid also mentions "other patents pending in
U.S. and Canada."


Image from Patent Application, courtesy U.S. Patent Office


The adjacent advertisement from 1933 shows that there were 9 different sets available. A Baby Set with 34 lacquered pieces, 3 sets with 50, 100 and 200 pieces, either natural or lacquered, and 2 sets with larger blocks, natural only. If your local store did not carry it, you could order sets directly from the Fox Blocks Company.

Prices varied from $1.00 for the Baby Set to $15.00 for the largest set. Lacquered sets were 25% more expensive than Natural sets. I found a handful of no. 2 and no. 3 lacquered sets on the internet, apparently those were the most popular (costing respectively $5.00 and $8.00 in 1933).


    Image found on eBay




FOX BLOX - SET 2 - LACQUERED

Set 2 contained 100 pieces in a plywood box. Applied to the sliding lid was a colorful sticker with a colorized photograph
of a fenced Fox Blox house with a couple of children, a dog, some potted plants and a tree


Image found on eBay


The box measured 38 cm x 25 cm x 11,5 cm (15" x 10" x 4-1/2") and was full of parts. There were no partitions to organize the parts. Note: the set owned by the CCA, which is from the 1950's, is listed as being 46 cm x 30 cm x 12 cm.

As can be seen, the grooves were dove-tailed, allowing for secure connections between the infill pieces and the columns. This is fundamentally different from Mobaco, where infill panels were held in place through confinement: the posts were secured in place by the holes in the ground plate and the floor plates, and once the panels were inserted in the grooves they could not escape.

The columns in this set have square corners. In some other sets the corners are rounded. It appears those are found in post-war sets.


Image found on eBay



The Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA) has a lacquered Set 2 with a manual in its collection, which was on display in the
"Dream houses, toy homes" exhibition
in 1995-96. Here you get a glimpse of the manual, which shows the Set 3 house with garage:



Image courtesy of the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA)


Their model shows that you could actually build the house shown on the lid (except for the decorations):

 
Image courtesy of the Canadian Center for Architecture (CCA)




FOX BLOX - SET 3 - LACQUERED

Set no. 3 contained 200 parts and added a 2-car garage to the house. The house was taller than in Set no. 2, there were doors, and the windows had green trim. In addition to the decorations shown on Set no. 2, this picture also shows a table with a sofa and a chair, a cat on the fence and a tractor in the garage, none of which were included in the set.

Although this was a modular system, it's not clear how much variation was actually possible.


Image found on Pinterest



The box measured 47.5 cm x 30 cm x 15 cm (18-5/8" x 11-3/4" x 6"), which is roughly double the volume of the Set no. 2 box.










Images found on Worthpoint


If you know more about this system, or have manuals, I'd love to hear from you! See the home page for contact information.










BOUW MEE

Bouw Mee, which loosely translates as Let's Build, is a cross between Mobaco and ELBA. It was produced by Albouw, headquartered in Baarn, The Netherlands.

Albouw designed and sold many toys under the S.I.O brand name, which stands for Speelgoed Industrie Overijssel (Toy Industry Overijssel, with Overijssel being a province in the east of The Netherlands). The factory was established in Vroomshoop in 1938. The sales office was at Herengracht 25 in Amsterdam. Some of the production was also done in Baarn.

The company was owned by Mr. Scholten and a partner. Most of their designs were developed by Rokus van Blokland (1926) and his wife Corry van Blokland-Mobach (1929). It is not known if they also developed Bouw Mee.

In 1982 the factory in Vroomshoop burned down, and in 1984 all operations ceased.

They put out two Sets, A 1 and B 1. The manual mentions that they are in the process of expanding the range, but I don't think any other sets were ever made.

   
Images courtesy Rien ten Bos






BOUW MEE - SET A 1

The box is partitioned with an area for small parts.

In addition to a manual, there is a fold-out "architectural" drawing showing all the parts.



   

   

   
Photo's courtesy Leen Kalden                                                                                                Detail of parts drawing courtesy Rien ten Bos






BOUW MEE MANUAL

This same manual was used in Set A 1 and Set B 1.


      240 x 156 mm

      20 pages (including covers)

      Front cover: 4-color
      Inside: black & white

      14 designs

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF





Images courtesy Leen Kalden





BOUW MEE SALES BROCHURE

This marketing brochure shows what could be built with Bouw Mee.

Price for Set A 1 was fl. 5.90 and for Set B 1 was fl. 6.90, only one guilder more.



      Size unknown

      12 pages (including covers)

      Brown printing

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF















Images courtesy of Stichting Groenegraf Baarn







FABRO

FABRO was a Mobaco look-alike made by Aeromodels in Liverpool, England. According to the Wakefield Council's Museum Collection Online, this system dates from around 1940.

In an early version of the box, the label stated "Contains over 200 finished parts • Simple to build • Unbreakable • Over 100 different models can be built":


Image courtesy of www.meccanoindex.co.uk


Later this text was covered with a sticker with Set No. "0". This suggests that there may have been a Set No. 1, but I haven't found that yet. Nor is there an allusion to other sets in the Manual for Set No. "0".

However, the two models shown on the box lid and on the manual cover have a 4 x 4 base plate, while the base plate in Set 0 had 4 x 2 holes, so perhaps there exists (or they planned to release) a set with a larger base plate.

Note: it appears that in the above box lid, a label was stuck over the oblique text and removed, so this box was likely an example with the label.

Here and example of Set No. "0" with the label:


Image from Wakefield Council's Museum Collection Online


Parts were very colorful and roofs had a tile pattern printed on them.

Parts could be purchased directly from Aeromodels. The manual contained a parts list and their prices. There were 17 different parts, compared to appr. 200 for Mobaco. All parts except the base plate were sold in lots of 3, 6 or 12 units. Interestingly, you could order uprights at any length up to 2 feet:




Parts had an odd numbering system. Fortunately, the construction manual listed the parts needed for each model using parts descriptions rather than part numbers, so these numbers may have been principally for internal use. Because of the small number of different parts in Fabro this approach was workable, but for Mobaco a simple numbering system made much more sense.


Note the color difference in the set below with the parts in the set above from the Wakefield Council's Museum, which are much brighter:

  
Images from eBay


Below the manual for Set 0. There is no dating info anywhere in the manual.

The illustrations on the cover and on the last page show windows with round uppers, while the photographs of the models inside the booklet all have square uppers. Also, the doors shown on the cover and on the last page are full-size Mobaco doors (4" tall), while the model photographs show shorter doors.

The story height of the models is 2-7/8" (as compared to 4" for Mobaco), the height of the window part, and the doors and wall panels have the same size. The doors in the model photographs look like cut-off Mobaco doors. However, the actual doors did have a strip along the bottom of the opening, as seen on the photo of the Wakefield Council's Museum set above.

Floor panels were not gray like Mobaco, but red, the same color as the roof panels. The "white" parts initially were a pale tan and later bright yellow. Crenelated panels were green instead of grey in Mobaco.

The base plate had 4 x 2 holes, a size that doesn't exist in Mobaco.

I have no further information on this system. I didn't find any ads in the British Newspaper Archive, nor did I find the patent that is alluded to on the label, nor did I find the Fabro name in the UK Registry of Trade Marks.

If you know more, please contact me (see Home page).





FABRO SET NO. 0 MANUAL


      246 x 174 mm

      8 pages (including covers)

      Cover: black, red, green
      Inside: black, red

      6 designs

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF





Images courtesy Leen Kalden








OKWA ZET-(Z)-OP
BOUWDOOS VOOR KLEINE ARCHITECTEN

(= OKWA Zet-(Z)-op construction set for small architects)


OKWA stands for Okkerse Waddinxveen.


Rien ten Bos writes that the Okkerse family established the factory in 1901. It was, to his knowledge, the first real wooden toy factory in the country.

In the 1930's they started manufacturing play stores. In the 1950's they were big in doll houses. By the 1960's they
were the largest toy manufacturer in the Netherlands, making a wide variety of wooden toys, board games and card games. Production ceased in the late 1970's.

Their Mabaco-like system had pegs in the ends of the columns so you could stack the columns. The plates are plastic. The roof halves are held together by a longer square rod. A major difference with Mobaco is the lack of a ground plate.


"Zet ze op" is a Dutch play on words which means both "go for it" and "put it on", a reference to their column system.

The system was launched in the fall of 1969. So far, I have found images of one set (two versions) and Complementary Sets 1 and 3.





OKWA ZET-Z-OP SET

   

Image courtesy Rien ten Bos                                                                                                  Image courtesy HONGS



   
Image courtesy HONGS                                                             Image courtesy HONGS




Here a (later?) version with a blue box, orange lining and orange inserts inside the box and a bright green band in the instructions manual.
The building on the right is euphemistically called "Villa with garden"!

     
Images courtesy of Koos Welling, from parelsbreda.nl





OKWA ZET-Z-OP COMPLEMENTARY SET 1

     
Images courtesy HONGS




OKWA ZET-Z-OP COMPLEMENTARY SET 3


Image courtesy Koos Welling, from smullenvanspullen.nl




FALL 1969 ARTICLES

These fall 1969 articles announce the launch of Zet-Op. Left from Nederlands Dagblad, 3 December 1969, right from De Tijd, 22 November 1969.


 
Source: delpher.nl






WILFRIED - DER KLEINE BAUMEISTER

Wilfried
sets were manufactured by Heller & Co (HECO) in Wutha [Farnroda] near Eisenach, 200 km north-east of Frankfurt.

It is a straight copy of Mobaco. The drawings are identical to the 1931 Gnomes manual.

From the description it appears there were two sets, No. 1 and No. 2, and the manual below was for both. Models shown in the booklet are the same as in Mobaco Sets 00 and 0, specifically models 002-005 from Set 00 and Models 01-04 from Set 0.

Inside the cover is this text (in German):
Wilfried's Heco construction kit, the ingenious toy for boys and girls.

HECO is a first-class product that is well thought out down to the smallest detail and is very educational and entertaining. The material consists of wood and wood fiber in beautiful colors and of selected quality.

Every part fits exactly!

One of the first architects declared that HECO was the most outstanding toy. From an architectural point of view, it is excellent. Not only are children interested, but also young people find this attractive game interesting. Since each piece is numbered, even small children can understand the instructions without difficulty and put together beautiful houses with HECO. All parts can be delivered immediately.


Wilfried's Heco construction kit, the ingenious toy for boys and girls.

On the back cover it states "legally protected ("gesetzlich geschützt"). The printer was Grafischer Betrieb Carl Kaestner in Eisenach, which relocated to Steinau an der Straße in 1960.

Dating is uncertain, but must be somewhere between 1931 and 1960. If before the war, it was a product of (Nazi) Germany. If after the war, it was a produced in the DDR (East Germany). Most likely it was a pre-war product.

I don't have pictures of the accompanying set. 






WILFRIED MANUAL FOR SETS 1 AND 2


      147 x 167 mm

      8 pages (including covers)

      Printing: B&W (dark brown ink)

      8 designs

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF




Scans courtesy Leen Kalden



From an auction site, below an image of a Wilfried set and manual, possibly from a later date. The manual cover is in color and the typeface is more playful than the above booklet.

The parts appear to be slightly bent, indicating thinner cardboard than Mobaco. They are glossier than Mobaco parts. The door is green rather than gray/black. The green and black parts are made with light-colored cardboard faced with colored paper. The base plate is thinner than Mobaco.

The photo of the model shows columns that are not inserted into the base plate, and they are spaced too far to actually fit in the holes. Also, the windows do not quite sit on top of the panel below, indicating that the panels jam a bit. This could be the result of bent panels, of bent columns or tight grooves. The latter would also explain why the columns don't quite fit, so that's probably the issue.

The Set number is unreadable on the manual. Since the base plate has 4 x 4 holes, it can't be a Set no. 1 which had 3 x 3 holes, as shown above. Also, there are more parts than in a Set no 2, including roof panels, so it can't be a Set No. 2 either. Possibly it's a Set no. 3.

The model shown on the cover of the manual requires triangular roof panels which aren't included in this set, so there was possibly a Set No. 4 with triangular roof panels with which you could build that house.

The house on the cover is very similar to Mobaco model no. 23 from Mobaco Set No. 1, but it's drawn from a different angle and has fewer fence parts than the Mobaco version (see below right). The illustration on the cover was possibly made by HECO and not by Moubal. There is an error in the drawing: the rear wall suggests three panels, but there are only two!

Although the text in the circle on the manual cover is illegible, I believe it says "3 u 4" (meaning 3 and 4), similar to the "1 u. 2" on the cover of the manual above.




















           For comparison: 

 
       Mobaco Model no. 23
















Image courtesy of Leen Kalden









CORUS WOOD-METAL CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM


When I found a box with metal plates and wood columns on a secondhand site I had no idea what it was. Thanks to Tony Knowles I learned it's a French system call Corus, which was introduced around 1924, the same time that Mobaco was introduced.



   
Source: Marktplaats



The system consists of brightly printed metal plates set into grooved wooden columns, similar to Mobaco. But instead of using a base plate and perforated strips to hold everything together, Corus uses a system of spring clips. This allows for complex geometries and results in models that are pleasing to the eye. Like many other systems, windows and doors are not open, so the inside of buildings is not accessible for play.

For lots more info on Corus, please download Tony's excellent overview. Tony maintained the Other Systems Newsletter with many fun toys to peruse. Sadly, Tony passed away in 2022, but his work is continued by Timothy Edwards who has an amazing overview with hundreds of construction toys, well worth a visit: 'Other' Constructional and Allied Systems Manuals and Brochures




Below a picture of a Corus set with the manual and a lay-out sheet. The box was large, appr. 50 cm wide. On the right a Corus building:

       

       


Scans of the metal parts:

     
Photo's and scans cortesy Timothy Edwards



In the manual below, there is a thorough 8-page (!) explanation on how to put things together. Building a Corus model required more insight and dexterity than assembling a Mobaco building. Here a translation of the first page:


ENGLISH TRANSLATION

REMARK

To facilitate the assembly of the many models achievable with our "CORUS" construction set, we present this catalog which will give you an exact idea of ​​the use and assembly of each of the parts.

ASSEMBLY METHOD

To make a model correctly, it is important to do the following:

1 - Choose, using the grid, the columns and the metal elements suitable for the realization of the desired model. For this, it is advisable to apply the wood facing the bands formed by the grid, in order to compose before assembling it, one of the sides of the chosen model. As a result, the location of each of the metal elements is determined at the same time.

2 - Assemble this side – It is recommended during the assembly of each side, to keep the assembly flat on a table.
Proceed in the same way for the other three sides

3 - Assemble the four finished sides.

4 - Place: Fireplace, Balcony, Staircase as necessary.

5 - Fix the roof clips, the supports. Place the tiles starting from the base, as for a normal roof.

If you lack parts for the realization of the model you are undertaking, ask for "CORUS" spare parts



FRENCH (here for search engines)

REMARQUE

Pour Faciliter le montage des nombreux modèles realisables avec notre jeu de constructions "CORUS", nous vous présentons ce catalogue qui vous donnera une idée exacte de l'emploi et du montage de chacune des pièces.

MÉTHODE DE MONTAGE

Pour réaliser correctement un modèle, il est important de procéder comme suit:

1 - Choisir, en se servant du quadrillage, les bois el les éléments métal convenant à la réalisalion du model désiré. Pour cela, il convient d'appliquer les bois en regard des bandes formées par le quadrillage, afin de composer avant de l'assembler, l'un des côtés du modèle choisi. De ce fait on détermine en même temps l'emplacement de chacun des éléments metal.

2 - Assembler ce coté – Il est recommande pendant l'assemblage de chacun des côtés, de maintenir l'ensemble bien à plat sur une table.
Procéder de la mime facon pour les trois autres côtés

3 - Assembler les quatre côtés terminés.

4 - Mettre en place: Cheminée, Balcon, Escalier s'il y a lieu.

5 - Fixer les attaches de toiture, les supports. Placer les tuiles en commençant par la base, comme pour une toiture normale.

Si vous manquez d'éléments pour la réalisation du modèle que vous entreprenez, demandez les pièces détachées "CORUS"



CORUS MANUAL FOR SETS 00, 0 AND 1

 
      225 x 155 mm

      21 pages (including covers)

      Cover: black, brown, yellow
      Inside: black

      17 designs for Set 00
      2 designs for Set 0
      3 designs for Set 1

      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF





Scans courtesy of Timothy Edwards






HUBO EL-4 SYSTEM

Hubo is a Dutch chain of do-it-yourself products. In 1978, they sold an ingenious do-it-yourself furniture system consisting of grooved posts and infill panels. Their catalog showed several examples, but you could make whatever you imagined.

There were three base elements, as shown on the right page below:
- a square post with 4 grooves, available in four lengths: 21 cm, 28 cm, 35 cm and 270 cm.
- a flat bar with a single groove, 35 cm long
- 7 cm-wide infill planks, in three lengths: 40 cm, 83 cm and 260 cm

So the "module" was 43 cm x 43 cm x 7 cm. The posts were appr 5 x 5 cm and the distance between the grooves 3 cm.

Planks were glued and screwed into the grooves. Screw holes were pre-drilled in the square posts. All you needed was a screwdriver and wood glue, and for more adventurous assemblies, a saw.

















Scans courtesy of Robj Schiff









PLAY STRUCTURE

I'm not sure where I found these pictures of a play structure that uses Maboco-like columns.

   










MINIPLEX


In the early 2000's, MiniPLEX, a small Dutch company in Ede, started producing an all-wood version of Mobaco.

They made a complete Mobaco set named Ridderhof, which came with a birch chest, instructions, and more than 200 parts. The flat parts were made from 3 mm plywood that was cut on a large self-made CNC table that could accommodate 5' x 5' plywood panels (152 cm x 152 cm).

Unfortunately, it is no longer produced.



  

  
Images courtesy of MiniPLEX









RABIUS DESIGN

Mobaco has entered the digital age.

Niels Rabius of Rabius Design in Delft created a 3D-CAD library of Mobaco.

With it, any size "model" can be virtually built, there are no limits to the number of parts!



    
Images courtesy of Rabius Design








ARCKIT



Image courtesy of Arckit


Arckit is a new construction system from Ireland, introduced in 2014.

Although different in conception, Arckit also makes buildings. But much more refined than Mobaco.

An important similarity with Mobaco is that you build with modularized elements that are a single story high.

The scale of Arckit models is 1:48, and is based on a 1.2 m square grid. So each module is 25 mm wide and 50 mm high, compared to 2-1/4" x 4" = 57 x 102 mm for Mobaco. This would make Mobaco about 2x larger, except that the width-height ratio of the modules isn't the same, so an exact comparison is not possible. But on the whole, Mobaco is roughly twice the size of ArcKit.

  
Images courtesy of Arckit



A major difference is that Mobaco works with structure and infill (a concept further developed for real buildings by architect John Habraken in the 1960's), while Arckit elements are load bearing.

Arckit has 26 components, with more to come:


Image courtesy of Arckit


Arckit also plans to release component files for 3D printing, so you can make special parts yourself on a (home) 3D printer.

Also, using (free) SketchUp 3D software, you can build your own Arckit buildings after downloading Arckit components from the SketchUp library.

As these pictures show, Arckit models are clearly "modern". In that sense, Arckit is a worthy 21st century successor to Mobaco!

Kits can be purchased over the internet at www.arckit.com.


Arckit Official Animation from ARCKIT on Vimeo.













ARTICLES AND BOOKLETS






8 NOVEMBER 1931 - ARTICLE IN NATUUR EN TECHNIEK

DOWNLOAD PDF

Scan courtesy Gerard Poort
This article describes how Mobaco was made. There a several interesting facts and photo's.

On page 2 is a photo of the windows mold. It has square uppers. So by 1931, Moubal were making "square" windows. Note the design of the mold: it has two stampings. Here how it works: a cardboard strip is fed from the top, behind the face plate. First, it is inserted ± 2 inches, upon which the window openings are cut out. The strip is then moved ± 2 inches. The same mold now cuts out the entire window, while at the same time cutting out the openings of the next window. This way, every time the stamping mold comes down, two operations (= 1 entire window) are executed simultaneously. Spacing indicates there was little waste.

On page 1, there is a small model featuring a number of new parts.
These parts are mentioned in the first version of the gnomes Brochure: a chimney, a stairway, a conservatory, a balcony, a new entry door, a taller fence, a canopy and a flag pole (not shown). Also shown is a new gate. None of these parts were ever taken into production but in 2021 Koos Welling created replica's with a laser cutter.

In the photo of boys packing the boxes, we see the square Set 0 art deco manuals indicating these are Set 0. This shows that the art deco manual was used in 1931. These were probably left-over stock, as the gnomes manuals were also used in 1931, as can be seen in this photograph. Also in the boxes are a price list with the illustration by Job de Nijs, and a small leaflet with building instructions. In the background a stack of Station #2 boxes is awaiting to be filled.

Finally, they mention a machine that planes and grooves the wooden columns. So this was done in-house, not out-sourced.





Scans courtesy Alex Geelhoed







HALBERTSMA BOOK (2008)


T. M. Halbertsma put together a 70-page Mobaco book with history and images from various sources. All his material has been incorporated in this website.
There are several versions of this book, this one being the most recent (as far as I know).




      A4 size

      70 pages (including covers)

      Color copies

      Text is in Dutch

      Text version 18 October 2008


      See pages

      DOWNLOAD PDF (33 MB)








Scans courtesy of Henri de Graaf






JUNE-JULY 1990 - ARTICLE IN VERZAMELKRANT

This article is about toy construction systems in general, but mostly about Mobaco and Anker. No new information.
It's part of a series about toys on display at Museum Kinderwereld in Roden.

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Scans courtesy Rien ten Bos







MARCH 1993 - ARTICLE IN VERZAMELKRANT

This article is based on information provided by Nick Cranendonk. It gives a broad overview of the history of Mobaco, and asks collectors to contact him.

In 1993, Cranendonk wrote the first issue of what was supposed to become a magazine for Mobaco collectors. Once I have his authorization, I will put that first (and only) issue on this website.

DOWNLOAD PDF




Scans courtesy of Rien ten Bos








JANUARY 2001 - ARTICLE IN MODEL COLLECTOR






Scan courtesy Leen Kalden








MARCH 2011 - ARTICLE IN SPEELGOED EN HOBBY

This article gives an overview of the history of Mobaco.

Note a Spanish version of the Job de Nijs price list.


Scan courtesy Leen Kalden
















LINKS



Museum Kinderwerld
This Children's Museum in Roden (near Groningen) has a Mobaco display.

Brighton Toy Museum
They have a very rare Set 4! Set in a series of Victorian railway arches underneath Brighton Station, Brighton Toy and Model Museum is one of the world's key centres of excellence for the preservation and display of toys and models, focusing on the golden age of British toymaking from the first to the fifth decades of the Twentieth Century. Brighton is on Britain's south coast, about 62 miles / 85 km due south of London.

Speelgoedmuseum Deventer
This museum regularly holds events where you can actually build with Mobaco. Type Mobaco in the search bar to see when. It may also have some sets on display.

HONGS
HONGS, which stands for Historisch Overzicht Nederlandse GezelschapsSpellen (=  Historical Overview of Dutch Games)  was a collector's website maintained by Rob van der Linden. It had lots of information on Mobaco, much of which is on this website, and many, many other Dutch toys. Unfortunately, this fantastic resource was taken offline in 2018. 






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