Things That Aren’t LEGO

Recently I spent a few days sorting my giant tub of LEGO bricks by color into smaller containers. During this process I ran across several things that weren’t actually LEGO. Here are three of those things, along with a bonus photo at the end.

01. EDUCATIONAL BUILDING BRICKS

One of the first things I found mixed in with my LEGO bricks which was not a LEGO was this big, plastic block. It took me a while to find the name of these building bricks on Google, which turned out to literally be “Building Bricks.”

I can’t remember if I had these at home or not, but I do remember playing with these in my grandma’s living room floor. The picture I found online shows red blocks with white windows and doors and green roof tiles. I am sure I did not have the green pieces, and the ones I played with had both red and white blocks. My strongest memory of these involves building houses for my Star Wars figures and garages for my Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars.

02. GIRDER AND PANEL BUILDING SET

Another obviously named toy were these blue (and black) girders that came with little plastic panels, called “Girder and Panel Building Sets.”

There were only two types of girders: horizontal and vertical. The plastic panels had small holes centered in the top of them that allowed them to be attached to any horizontal girder. These toys seem to have been around for a long time. The ones pictured above were made by Kenner in the mid-50s, although the line was brought back from 1974-1979, which is where these girders came from. While researching these I found this page that covers the history of these toys, which are still being made today and are available on Amazon.

03. TENTE

TENTE was a competitor to LEGO, which was in business from 1972 to 1993. Although they looked similar to LEGO bricks, they were not compatible and could not be connected. All the TENTE kits I remember owning were boats for some reason.

You can see both of the pieces I found attached to the ship above. If you take a close look at that ship, TENTE was actually pretty cool. Check out that radar dish mounted ot the top and the helicopter on the rear of the shop parked on the helipad!

BONUS: BUSTED LEGOS

Down in the bottom of the tub I found these three LEGO bricks. The small 1×2 one was chewed to bits, either by a dog or a kid. The flat 2×4 is broken, which is nearly impossible to do. I don’t remember this happening. My favorite is the pink homemade computer LEGO. I definitely did not do this and it must have come from one of the collections I picked up from a garage sale, but man did that make me laugh. How desperate that kid must have been to have a pink computer!

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2 comments to Things That Aren’t LEGO

  • TENTE! I haven’t thought of that in years. I was a Lego kid, but for some reason I had a couple of TENTE sets, and if memory serves, they were BOTH ships.

    And for the record, being a Lego kid, and once reading it in an official document from the company itself (some book my mom bought on the history of Lego)… it’s always just LEGO. There’s never an ‘s’ at the end. Ever. That was the way it came across to me in the book at the time, and I’ve never forgotten that rule!
    ;-)

  • Paul in AZ

    My brother Tommy got the girder and panel building set for Christmas one year. I think I played with it more than he did. That was a fun toy.