DIETEL- the System in Play LEGO clone

The old Dresden company of DIETEL relocated in Bad Arolsen (West Germany) after the Second War. In the late 1950s it started selling a construction toy (figs 1, 2, 3) very different from LEGO, based on a small-scale brick of positive connection by means of small thin pins.

    Figure 1 - Dietel- box cover of a medium-sized set box.
    Figure 2- Interior of the same box (circa 1960) and Figure 3- bricks vs LEGO (bottom)

Notwithstanding the obvious differences in the construction elements, Dietel copied the System in Play concept by launching a number of sets in matchbox-like packages (Figs 4, 5, 6) that clearly cloned equivalent LEGO products leading to legal action that brought an end to the business.

The larger Dietel boxed sets are quite tasteless. The small sets are by far the most collectable Dietel products.

    Figures 4, 5 - Dietel's own Esso Service Station

    Figure 6 - The Kiosk (déjà vu?)


João Manuel Mimoso, Lisbon, Portugal- Nov 25, 2009
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