This element is cultic and fans have given it cool names:
- "Headlight brick" … due to it's first use as headlight bricks in cars
- "washing machine"
- "Erling Brick" … named by the LEGO Designer Erling Dideriksen, who invented this element in 1979
If headlight bricks are turned over by 90° and a plate is attached to the stud then this construction is as high as a standard LEGO brick or a layer of three standard LEGO plates.
In 1979 the first LEGO sets were released which included some headlight bricks. In the early days this element was only used as headlight brick. But this should be change in time …
This cool convertible car from the 80's contained the breathtaking amount of fourheadlight bricks in noble black.
Geometry of the headlight bricks
The geometry of headlight bricks is very interesting. Such a brick has two studs, one on top and one at the side. It also has two anti-studs, holes which will hold a stud from another brick. These anti-studs are located at the bottom (of course) and at the back of the brick, the squared cut-out is as big as a stud.
The numbers in the figure are shown in the so called "LDraw unit", a basic unit which is used in the virtual LDraw CAD system for LEGO elements.
The specific characteristic of a headlight brick doesn't fit a 100% to other LEGO elements. So there are rumours from time to time that this element will be discontinued in the future. But even LEGO designers want to avoid this and they use the headlight bricks in almost every LEGO set …
SNOT with headlight bricks
They started as headlight bricks in cars and trucks back in the 80's. But today this element shouldn#t be missed when it comes to SNOT ways of building.
This example shows how smooth plates can be attached between headlight bricks. The space between the headlight bricks is one stud, the "snoted" part is build by three 1x2 plates.
This construction uses Technic bricks with holes instead of headlight bricks or bricks with studs on the side. The space between these SNOT bricks is two studs, the "snoted" part is build by five 1x2 plates.
Another similar construction. Here the space between the SNOT bricks is three studs, the "snoted" part is build by one 1x2 brick and five 1x2 plates.