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When grandpa came to visit us from Holland, he brought a Mobaco construction set he played with in the 1930's.
My kids loved it. Unlike Meccano or even Lego, large models go together quickly. And they're just the right size for Playmobil figures!
The original boxes were long gone, but grandpa still had two (partial) instruction books. A small one for Sets 00, 0 and 1, and a larger one for sets 1, 2, 3 and 4.
The system consists of square wooden columns of various lengths that fit into evenly spaced holes in a thick fiberboard base board. The columns have slots on all four sides, into which cardboard panels can be slid. The panels have different colors, and are either solid, or have window or door cut-outs if various shapes.
Structural rigidity comes from horizontal cardboard strips and floor panels that slide over the columns and rest on the wall panels. To make rigid corners and make long walls, you must always install two layers of these strips, overlapping at seams and corners.
The system allows for pitched roofs. There are special gable ends and purlins that form the structural base for the roof. Opposite roof panels interlock at the ridge with hooks, and hang from the ridge beam. There are several roof panel shapes, allowing for complex roof shapes.
With a limited number of parts,
complex models can be made. Models are pleasing to the eye and
have a distinct 19th century look. They are really easy to put together.
I searched the internet for more information about Mobaco. There wasn't much, that's why I decided to dedicate a site to this lovely system.
As a result, I have come in contact with several Mobaco collectors, who have been most graceful with sharing their knowledge and material. I'd like to extend special thanks to Peter Adams, Leen Kalden and Mr. Halbertsma, all in The Netherlands, for their generous help!
In his website, Geoff Lilleker tells about the history of Mobaco:
Manufactured by the Dutch company Mobal between 1920 and 1960 in Zeist, Holland.Mobaco is occasionally found at internet auctions. I collected images of the various sets, and started putting together a history. This is still a work in progress.
Mobal was a manufacturer of sheet metal products but a few times each year would clean their machines and make the Mobaco parts!
Most parts did not change much over the years with the notable exception of the green window, part no. 20. The earlier
windows were rounded at the top, the later ones were square.
During the 1950's the sets were marketed by a company called Jumbo. Typically they were supplied in red boxes in a range
of sizes from A to E. Sets could be upgraded from one size to the next - so set A could be converted to set B by the
purchase of the intermediate set AB.
I also put together parts lists for the various sets.
a small Dutch company started producing an all-wood version of
Mobaco. So after a 40-year hiatus, you can buy it again!
If you have any information that might be useful to add to this site, or corrections that should be made, please contact me at cDOTmolATwanadooDOTfr (anti-spam: replace DOT with a period and AT with @).
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Last updated September 11th, 2005