At the Brighton toy museum today, which occupies a windowless vaulted space underneath the Victorian railway station. They've crammed a lot in there. Toys have evolved like living things, leaving behind dead-ends, such as the precursors of Lego: wooden or bakelite blocks that were locked or glued together. The typology of the very recent past is surprising. We discard so much innovation. Toys were a bit more dangerous and fun in the past too. Miniature ranges that cooked real food with real fire! Wouldn't that be more educational than fake plastic stuff? I liked the least spectacular 'austerity' toys the most, the 'micromodels'. These are tiny paper cutout models of historic buildings printed on postcard-sized sheets that must have been tortuous to fold and glue together. My favourite was a model of the entire old London bridge standing about 4cm high. It must have taken weeks to build and cost almost nothing.
British proto-lego (above) and German proto-lego (below).
Cooking with real fire.
Paper 'micromodel' of the old London bridge.