Astrolite from Hasbro (1969)

Company: Hasbro | Release date: 1969 | Where to purchase: eBay

“The fantastic building blocks of the future… in light!”

In 1969, Hasbro released Astrolite, a psychedelic building set that combined the creativity of building toys like LEGO with the eye appeal of Lite Brite.

Designed by the prolific Chicago-based toy design firm, Marvin Glass & Associates, children used Astrolite to build structures using clear, acrylic parts that push-fit together. The creations were mounted on top of an elevated base that housed a 40-watt light bulb and a colour wheel.

When plugged in, the attached structure would illuminate in red, green, yellow, and white hues thanks to the internal light bulb that shone through perforations in the top of the platform. As a bonus, players could spin the colour wheel, creating a colourful, pulsating effect throughout the structure.

Astrolite’s futuristic vibe was reflective of the Space Race that was occurring between the United States and the Soviet Union at the time. Despite the cool-factor, Hasbro’s “adventures in light” lasted a little more than two years, disappearing from store shelves after the 1971 holiday shopping season.

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