The Brick Separator

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In the earliest days of LEGO two securely affixed 1x2 plates would generate such massive clutch power that a stubborn AFOL or naïve child lost nary a quarter hour trying to separate the two pieces.  Two 4x4 plates were best treated like a sleeping dragon – both should be left alone.

In those ancient times there were no brick separators, we were forced to use the primitive tools we had available like our teeth or screwdrivers. Objects whose designers never intended for such perverse usage. The consequences of such tool usage led to one of the following (in order of most to least likely):

1. Deformation of LEGO

2. Damage to soft tissue

3. Ingestion of plastic

4. The separation of two stuck LEGO parts


Then in 1990 LEGO introduced the first brick separator and it was revolutionary. 1x2 and 2x4 plates were set free.

However, LEGO tiles continued to shatter fingernails for 22 years until the current brick separator (in unforgettable orange) arrived. The upgraded separator had a smooth and thin edge designed to free tiles and included an axel piece to help separate certain pesky Technic parts as well.  Except for the addition of a second color, teal, to its palette, the 2012 version has remained unchanged. 

While soft tissue injuries, chipped teeth, and stuck plates are a thing of the past, the brick separator's ability to help us when we make mistakes is its true gift.

It is when we feel free to explore, dare new combinations, and make mistakes that we grow most. Now when we want to change our builds we can do it quickly before we lose our inspiration and do it with all of our teeth intact.

article and images by James Feeny