Nano Bricks - Mini Lego That Never Made It Big
There are lots of toy companies who'd like to build on Lego's success. Lego snapped together an empire thanks to their compatible system of interlocking bricks. Lego pieces from 40 years ago mate with today's bricks perfectly. Over the years, many companies have tried to duplicate Lego's achievement, but were unable to create blocks that could mingle with the big brand.
In 1991 Mega Bloks released compatible bricks. Despite Lego's many attempted lawsuits, Mega Bloks has prevailed, improved in quality, and allowed the company to create other product lines. They introduced the Nano Building System in 2004, quickly discontinuing them only a year and a half later. What happened?
Nano bricks were identical to other Lego style building blocks, but at a fraction of the size. The line inspired creative construction like old-school Lego - there were none of those irritating pre-built chunks that dot Lego today. The overall smaller size of the building elements made for more detailed looking miniature models, but the line folded due to low sales. My guess is that Nano blocks suffered for ignoring the principal trait that has made Lego bricks such a classic - their universal compatibility.
As an adult I was interested in the level of detail I could achieve with Nano, but I imagine that kids were disappointed when they learned they couldn't mix the tiny pieces with their larger Lego collections. Nano still holds the record as the world's smallest building block toy, so they're still interesting to builders. Because of their abandoned status you can find tons of Nano Building Systems rather affordably on eBay if you'd like to get sophisticated with your future toy building projects.