July 22, 2024

TDmonthly Magazine

August 2004 | Vol. III - No. 8

Automoblox: Modern Wood Design

By Lisa Durante
August 2004

When it comes to being a car enthusiast, Patrick Calello, founder of Automoblox (ToyShow) has used his passion for cars to develop a new twist on toys made of wood. Using the concept of quality old-fashioned wooden toys, he has come up with a learning tool as well. “This system will truly grow with your child,” says Calello.

When he attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania , Calello’s class was asked by product designers to come up with an idea for a product using wood. He originally was going to school to be a graphic designer, until he saw how product designers made new ideas into real cars and decided that he loved the creativity of making his own ideas into a workable product. Calello says he wanted to “embrace tradition, while modernizing a new concept of the toy car industry.” This was the birth of Automoblox, which is based in Roseland, New Jersey.

Calello wants to “give children the opportunity to create their own cars using this building block system.” The SC-9 Sports Car is made of solid maple in natural color with simple details of headlight and hood ornaments carved into the front and back of the car. Bright red wheels, a windshield and a driver can be added for a sporty version of the Automoblox vehicle. Each section of the car can be taken apart. The windshield is made of tough ABS plastic components that pull off, as are the wheels and small people figures that fit into geometric bases inside the vehicle. Each wheel axel will fit into every other model that is made.

The natural wood grain on all of the body types gives these toys a timeless appearance and is compatible with the other vehicle parts. The S-9 Sedan has the look of an auto manufacturer’s best and newest models for 2004, with wheels and windshields in turquoise blue, and a sleek front end. All of the three-section body pieces have a geometric connection system that moves along to any other vehicle by easily pressing a “release” button.

The T-9 Truck has the shape of a pick-up truck and has bright neon green wheels and a truck driver in the cab. The front end has simple details but leaves nothing out, including headlights, fog lights and a grill carved into the wood as well as the Automoblox logo on the tailgate. The toys are tough, designed for a lot of playtime.

Future products are fast at work with introductions similar to major auto companies. However, Automoblox does not work with auto manufacturers to develop their toys, but uses general shapes of popular vehicle bodies. Keeping up with styles and trends, an SUV body type, a minivan and a city car are in development by Automoblox. All models will be interchangeable and they have decided to have a limited run with each body style. Replacement parts will be also be available by contacting the company.

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