TYCO Industries first includes
its Super Blocks line in the company's 1984 annual catalog. The Super Blocks product line includes both Pre-School and Super
Blocks. TYCO's Super Blocks were Lego compatible, while the Pre-School Super Blocks worked with Lego's Duplo blocks. There
are five different set of TYCO Pre-School Super Blocks in the 1984 catalog and six Super Blocks sets.
The Super Blocks line expands in 1985 with the addition of Space and Castle themed building
Industries introduced a LEGO compatible block in 1984. The story goes that
LEGO's patents on their building blocks expired in the United States in the early '80s. LEGO reportedly sued TYCO in U.S.
federal court and Hong Kong, demanding TYCO to cease using LEGO's name in advertising and reference to the Super Blocks products.
As the patent on the block was expired, LEGO was not able to stop TYCO from manufacturing a similar building block. The
lawsuit concluded in 1989. TYCO's reported share of
the plastic block market was 10% by 1990.
The Super Blocks were part of an expansion that happened in the '80s for TYCO. At the time
of the Super Blocks introduction in December of 1984, TYCO spokesman Bruce Macguire explained to the Gainsville Sun newspaper,
"Any toy company in the world this year can make blocks that fit with Lego."
In response to the Lego lawsuit Richard Grey, who had been TYCO's president since 1973, stated
to Forbes magazine in 1988, "We knew they had a reputation for being litigous." The court case reportedly cost TYCO $3 million
dollars. The Super Blocks line however was reported to be a stable product line bringing in $20 million to the company.
By the early 1990s, TYCO was stated as being the number three toy company in the United States.
The company's history dates back
to the early 1950s. TYCO was owned originally by the Tyler family, owners and makers of Mantua model trains.
The 1960s success of ready to run HO-scale
model trains helped make TYCO a well known name in the toy market. TYCO was purchased by Consolidated
Foods in 1970, doubtless as part of a corporate diversification project for the firm that is most famous for its Sara
TYCO was sold by Consolidated Foods-Sara Lee in 1984 to a privately held investor group. By
1986, TYCO was reportedly a publicly traded company with a diverse toy product line.
What Is This Site About? This website details a line of toys that was offered in the
U.S. and other countries, beginning in 1984. The Super Blocks toys are no longer made. This site serves as a reference for
interested individuals desiring information and images on these toys.
No TYCO Super Blocks are offered on this site for sale. This is an informational resource only.
The site's author is in no way associated with or supported by TYCO.
Thanks for visiting! Hope you enjoyed your time spent here!
TYCO expanded the
Super Blocks line with variation categories including Robo-Bloxx sets offered in 1986, as seen above.
Also new in 1986 was the Road Builder category of Super Blocks. Below is a television commercial
TYCO used to promote the Road Builder sets.
Historical information presented on this page, includes references from a December 9, 1984 Gainsville
Sun newspaper article regarding TYCO's Super Blocks introduction.
Additional TYCO historical information is referenced from Answers.com.
Images and additional information is from TYCO annual product catalogs.