Sunday, November 30, 2014

We used to make things in this country. #173: The Vanguard Toy Company, Toronto, Ontario


I picked up a box of these "Uni-Blocks" recently.  Imagine the fun kids used to have building things like a Bus Waiting Shelter! Making a cannon that actually fired a wooden pencil at your younger brother was probably even more exciting, what with the trip to the hospital Emergency Room and all.  The instructions also allowed you to perfect your command of French:  "Où est la cabane d'arrêt? Je vais à la balancoire!"

The Vanguard Toy Company operated out of both Buffalo, New York and Toronto.  In 1957, two Ontario inventors (Clarence Leonard Mehan of Port Credit and Douglas Patterson of King City) patented a more sophisticated block, which was later put into production by the Vanguard Toy Company:

The company disappeared, probably because it's products couldn't compete with Lego when it was introduced to North America through Samsonite in 1961.

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