The PEBE brand of construction
toys was established in 1955 by Paul Bernhardt in East-Germany.
In early 1958 PEBE offered two
sizes of construction sets (nr 3 - Figure 1-and nr 4). Set nr 3
included three 10x20 yellow baseplates, app 150 bricks of sizes
1x2, 2x2, 3x2, 4x2 and 8x2, two doors, ten windows and a booklet.
The bricks were shiny and the
shades (a dark red and a milky white) were very attractive. There
were also transparent bricks and although using a different connecting
system (Figure 2) they could be interlocked with LEGO. The whole
system, including the red windows and yellow baseplates (Figures
3 and 4), were a shameless copy of LEGO, made possible by the divide
of the Iron Curtain. 2x2 and larger bricks are easily distinguishable
by the characteristic cross-shaped connectors and the baseplates
are marked underneath (Figure 4) but the unmarked 1x2 bricks and
the windows may easily be confused with LEGO parts of mid 1950s
The whole system has a glint
of superior quality and my 1958 nr 3 set is as shinny as new with
bricks showing absolutely no distortion. The minimal set of parts
provided allows the building of constructions with the same simple
charm of the early LEGO (Figure 5).