Lieber junger Bastelfreund!
Yesterday I stumbled upon and bought a original book from BRAUN “Was ist Elektronik?” (engl. “What is electronics?”). Unfortunately it was only the book and not the whole experimental set. A little research unveiled that the system itself was invented by Theodor and Johann Egger in 1966. Their company “Egger-Bahn” (wikipedia article, german) was founded to produce model railroads and had even business connections with the “Constantin Film” which was at this time the producer of the Winnetou movies. One of their employees developed a system of simple blocks to teach basic electronics to kids and beginners (see patent specification). This system was 1967 acquired by BRAUN and Dieter Rams himself designed the housing and corporate of the “BRAUN-Lectron” system. During the mid 70’s one of the BRAUN engineer founded his own company and took the system with him. Until 2001 this company existed under the name of “Lectron GmbH”. Since than the company was signed over to a socio-economic society. The Lectron system is still on production and available from here. It is being assembled in Frankfurt a. M., Germany in a sheltered workshop.
The book which came out during the BRAUN era was rated 1969 as “Most beautiful german book for young people” at the book fair in Frankfurt a. M. Also it was rated as “outstanding” by the german “Stiftung Warentest” in 1971.
I think, that we have to go deeper into research about the great ideas which are already outside and have nothing to do with this scientificated concepts of how to teach or not to teach electronics on a basic level. The need to make magical electronic components more understandable is there and a way to do it is through the design of things themselves and their behavior.
I will try to organize a Lectron system by myself and – of course – I will read the book.
FAZ article: Elektronische Experimente mit dem System Lectron
Wikipedia article: Braun Lectron
Article by Bruce Stirling about the Lectron system
Early version in the “Radio-Museum Frankfurt”
Part of the “Talk to Me” exhibition at MoMa, New York
Some pictures: hansotten.com
Collection of BRAUN products: dasprogramm.org