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Why no green bricks in the early System?

SueButcherSueButcher AustraliaMember Posts: 22
This one has always puzzled me, but I came to the conclusion that Lego bricks were limited to primaries to keep the colour combinations harmonious even if a model was chucked together by a beginner. Then I hear that it was to stop boys building tanks. Is that actually true? I mean, black is an excellent colour for scary looking military equipment, and they had black bricks. 

Comments

  • AleyditaAleydita BelgiumMember Posts: 600
    I read earlier that when Samsonite knew their licence to produce Lego for the US market would not be renewed, they set about releasing sets using the stock they had already produced, and they didn't have much green left over, so there are very few green pieces in later Samsonite sets.
    Astrobricks
  • LusiferSamLusiferSam MontanaMember Posts: 416
    ABB and Mursten bricks came in green (many shades of it).  Samsonite had green plates in the early 60s.  As to why green was non-existent (other than baseplates) before the late 70s and rare until the 90s, I've always heard the military explanation. 

    Before the first Gulf War green was the most common cameo color.  Most militaries had green as a base color.  Military toys were not viewed as fitting in with Lego's new Principles of Play.  All warlike or violent toys were discontinued until Castle produced medieval weapons in '78 and Pirate add guns in '89. 

    There maybe other reasons.  Istokg surely knows more or can better articulate this then I can.

    madforLEGOFizyxmithridatesnowhitiecatwrangler
  • SirBenSirBen In the Hall of the Mountain KingMember Posts: 496
    I thought the original palette was a nod to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
    Bumblepantsmafoncatwrangler
  • RecceRecce 10,171km away from BillundMember Posts: 675
    Because green is mean? 
  • 77ncaachamps77ncaachamps Aspiring Time Traveler Stuck in the WestMember Posts: 2,054
    Wonder if cadmium was an issue...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,981
    I had not heard the story about TLG not producing green parts due to an anti-military toy philosophy, although I know TLG will not produce modern warfare weapons for that reason.

    I always wondered about TLGs general quirkiness to not producing certain parts to a general hesitation to introduce some parts either in new colors, or often for no logical reason at all.

    For example... LEGO plates... there were 5 plates in the first 10 years ofl LEGO... all large... the 2x8, 4x8, 6x8 and 4x8 right and left curved... mainly only in white from 1955-65, but also a few red ones in 1955-56...  most of those being the waffle bottom plates.  But then when the small LEGO plates were introduced in 1962 ... these smaller plates came in 7 colors (red, white, blue, yellow, black, clear, and (USA/Canada only) green).  The green ones ended production in 1966, and weren't introduced again until castle and Airport sets were introduced in the 1980s.  Not sure of the reason, although it could be of an anti-warfare reason.

    But TLG did other weird things when it came to plates... such as larger plates... the first set that could have used a larger plate in a different color the 326 Small House set of 1965 could have used a 4x8 black plate as the  house baseplate... but instead TLG only allowed for 4 2x4 small black plates instead.  Then in 1966 the 325 Shell Station allowed for the introduction for other color 4x8 and 6x8 plates in a color besides white... namely gray.  It wouldn't be until 1969-72 that other colors in large plates were allowed.  The introduction of the "mini-wheel" sets was the first time LEGO allowed for the introduction of plates in colors besides white in the 4x8... such as red, black and more gray ones.  The introduction of other sized plates... 4x6 and 4x10 also coincided with these small mini-wheeled sets circa 1970 and beyond.  DItto for the introduction of LEGO 45 degree sloped bricks in colors besides the 1958/1960 introduced red/blue ones.  Trans-clear, black, red, white, blue and yellow ones came out in the early 1970s also for the mini-wheeled sets.

    Then we have LEGO bricks.  Besides the early red, white, blue, yellow trans-clear and (starting in 1961-62) black... the first LEGO bricks in another color was gray in the 1974 Maersk Line Container Ship (1650), which introduced gray 2x3 bricks, and then again in the 1978 introduction of gray 1x1 round (solid stud) bricks in the 398 Constellation Set as cannons.  It wasn't until the 1980 introduced 722 Basic Set that gray bricks started becoming common in other LEGO sets.

    I remember seeing a tan/dark gray glued display model of Brussels City Hall in 1985 in a Kmart store in Michigan, even though they weren't found in regular LEGO sets until 1998 when a sudden explosion of different LEGO parts in  an assortment of  colors first came out.

    And then there's the LEGO train system, whch started up in summer 1966, where new parts in odd sizes/colors (such as very large plates) was introduced.  The 1970s and 1980s  had the introduction of odd color classic LEGO windows, unusual sized and color fence pieces (those 1x3x2 LEGO latice gates in red or black was  one such group of odd parts)... and the large number of odd color parts that were introduced in 1980s 12V train sets.

    Today we are "inundated" with an endless series of LEGO parts in so many colors (not enought for a complete "systm" in any one color unfortunately)... that we take for granted that there is still no rhyme or reason for introductions of new colors or parts.

    But yes... TLG was rather stingy in the introduction of new parts/colors in the earlier decades of their existence (after their explosion of colors in bricks in the 1950s slotted brick era).  But coming up with reasons for why they did what they did... is as baffling today as it was back then...  I just call it LEGO Mayhem.


    P.S.  Here is the entire LEGO building bricks inventory of 1960, including the spare parts pack numbers that the parts could be purchased in.... from the 238 Building Idea Book No. 1....


    Fizyxmafonstluxmak0137madforLEGOSirBenMynattcatwrangler
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 240
    edited January 5
    That picture at the end is really interesting.  I wonder if anyone has made similar compilations through the years, as that would be an awesome thing to see how the parts inventory has changed over the years.
  • 19741974 Member Posts: 126
    It's been officially stated by older designers that is was GREY that was a no-go due to kids makin' them bad bad army MOCs. Never heard anything about green. Brown is also a colour missing from the early years. And both are not primary colours either. Perhaps that's why?

    Oddly enough both colours (and tan, sand green etc) could be found in LEGOland/Billund in those years, but of course I don't remember seeing any WW1/2 dioramas
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,419
    Removing a colour doesn't stop kids building tanks if they want to build tanks. I didn't have many bricks as a kid, so most builds were multicolour anyway.
    M_Boss
  • SueButcherSueButcher AustraliaMember Posts: 22
    SirBen said:
    I thought the original palette was a nod to Dutch painter Piet Mondrian.
    That's what I was thinking, early Lego was influenced by Modernism, and therefore they stuck to primary colours. Another example of this is the early colour episodes of The Magic Roundabout, where there is no green, and the trees are flat cut outs and mostly blue. The combination of red, yellow, and blue was associated with toys, and flatness is a Modernist (and cartoonist) thing.    
  • SueButcherSueButcher AustraliaMember Posts: 22
    Istogk, there were large red or yellow coloured plates in some of the trucks introduced in 1967.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 1,981
    Istogk, there were large red or yellow coloured plates in some of the trucks introduced in 1967.
    Yes that's right the 1967 introduced 331-337 trucks, (introduced in USA/Canada in 1968), which had the steering mechanism that required a 4x5 or 5x6 modified plate with the hole in the middle (or as close to the middle as they could get) for the steering column to go thru).  Those plates made by Samsonite were not even made of ABS plastic... they were made of that same plastic as the 2x8 white train track sleepers.

    And then there's the 1969 345 House with Mini-Wheel Car with early large black plates.... I love this pic... :D


    Fizyxsnowhitiebgl_84Mynattcatwrangler
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 240
    Istokg said:
    Istogk, there were large red or yellow coloured plates in some of the trucks introduced in 1967.
    Yes that's right the 1967 introduced 331-337 trucks, (introduced in USA/Canada in 1968), which had the steering mechanism that required a 4x5 or 5x6 modified plate with the hole in the middle (or as close to the middle as they could get) for the steering column to go thru).  Those plates made by Samsonite were not even made of ABS plastic... they were made of that same plastic as the 2x8 white train track sleepers.

    And then there's the 1969 345 House with Mini-Wheel Car with early large black plates.... I love this pic... :D


    That picture is slightly terrifying.  It looks way to close to the pictures of subdivisions from the air in the mid to late 20th century where all the houses were exactly the same, lol.  I guess at least their trees were at least slightly different though :P
    KingAlanI
  • SueButcherSueButcher AustraliaMember Posts: 22
    At the time our family bought its first Lego set around 1963, we were living in an area of Dundee that had street after street of red roofed grey pebbledash houses that came in only three closely related variations and their mirror images. It did look a bit like a giant Lego model! Looking back, I kind of like it; that sort of total design of suburbs is rare in Australia.      
    Fizyxcatwrangler
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