Minitalia was made by LEGO in Denmark for the Italian market from 1970 to 1975. The bricks were made from an inferior quality plastic in order to reduce the cost. The resulting cheaper sets helped LEGO to get access to the Italian customers.
Material: ? (The plastic is cheaper than regular ABS and the Minitalia bricks often show much wear.)
Inner tubes: X and Split tube (split in short direction)
Flowrib / center line inside top surface : Yes.
Mold pip: on the short side.
On the bricks with X support:
A and B in small font size, B and C in large font size.
On the bricks with Split tube support:
A, B and C in large font.
(Note: this image shows the general position and size of the engraved letters and numbers, not the exact font itself)
Mold position numbers: 1 to 24. Usually machine engraved, but scratched on a few bricks.
On the bricks with X support, mold series A and B in small font size, C in large font size, and the bricks with Split tube support, mold series A and B: Full length rib near the top of the brick on both the short and long sides.
On the bricks with Split tube support, mold serie B: Full length rib near the bottom of the brick on both the short and long sides.
On the bricks with X support, mold serie B in large font size: None
Intellectual property protection: “Pat. pend” and “Pat pend”, depending on mold position number. All these bricks also exist with the Pat pend mark erased/obscured.
Colors known: White, Red, Blue, Yellow (two shades), Black and Transparent.
- No logo or brand name is shown.
- The studs are hollow on the top, there are no holes on the inside of the brick.
- These were the first thin-walled bricks. I believe the thin wall, the split tube and the X-support are all attempts to reduce the amount of plastic used in order to reduce cost as much as possible. I suspect the two types of support were used to test these different options for possible use in regular LEGO bricks later.
- Do bricks with X support and a large font size A also exist?
[Original post and comments on Flickr.]