Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bing after B-4

When I posted on Bing set B-4, I only included the design pages for that set, plus the smaller set design that actually appeared as the title image, but I suggested I might return with examples from Bing sets that came after B-4.

So today's photos are of the two Bing B-5 designs included in the B-4 booklet to tempt customers onward and upward. Built here with modern Anchor Stones, to preserve my imperiled equilibrium and because I only have a Bing B-4, not a B-5.

Unlike Ankerstein, Bing went from set 4 to set 5, rather than set 6. And Bing's B-5 seems to fall between Richter's GK NF 4 and GK NF 6. A major motivation in my building these two designs together was to see what stones from GK NF 6 were not used.

So I built one, dismantled it without returning the stones to the box, and built the second. Missing from both constructions, and presumably from Bing set B-5 are the large split arch (Anker 101G/102G), the four corner roof pieces (Anker 212B), and the four half roof pieces (Anker 210B). The paired half-thick full small arches (2x Anker 110R) may or may not have belonged - both construction could have used them as a substitute for one of the full small arches (Anker 108R).

That was more or less what I guessed before I started. A few smaller stones were also left over, but of types that are represented. The real point is that Bing B-5 designs are fully constructible with an Ankerstein GK NF 6. [Bing B-5 seems to have been identical with Richter GK NF 4½, which makes sense - more on that in the fullness of time].

The second design was nasty - very unstable in the upper reaches, where the large arch is supported only by cantilevers of the split small arch. Amusing that stability had just been a topic of discussion.

It would seem that the Bing B-series sets originated before World War I, in the period when Bing may have been the world's largest toy manufacturer, and Ankerstein sets were the world's most popular commercial toy.

One can certainly understand why Bing would feel obliged to tap some of stone construction set market, and also meet the desires of their wholesale clients.

I find it interesting that the B-series design pages show blue-gray roof stones, just like Richter's, while the actual stones in the set are green. Was there a problem with Richter? A desire to distinguish the Bing sets for marketing reasons?

Or did the color change when the A-series was introduced? The green stones look even better in the A designs, and my B-4 booklet shows green stones in the A-series constructions on the cover and inside.

I'm hoping that sooner or later folks with Bing sets will stumble across this pair of posts and fill in the gaps in this information - and perhaps share some more design scans with us.

To end this post at the beginning, and go a bit beyond Bing after B-4, the remaining designs from sets before B-4 are included here as well, albeit after the ones that came after.

Good Block Play.

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