LEGO Toy Bricks First Introduced (1958): The company that makes the famous, little, plastic, interlocking bricks known as LEGO started as a small shop in Billund, Denmark. Established in 1932 by master carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen who was aided by his 12-year-old son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, the company made wooden toys, stepladders, and ironing boards. It wasn't until two years later that the business took the name of LEGO, which came from the Danish words "LEg GOdt," meaning "play well."
In 1947, the company made a huge purchase that was to transform thecompany and lead it to world fame. In that year, LEGO bought a plastic injection-molding machine, which could mass produce plastic toys.
By 1949, this machine was producing about 200 different kinds of toys, including Automatic Binding Bricks, a plastic fish, and a plastic sailor. The Automatic Binding Bricks were the predecessor of the LEGO toys of today.
In 1953, the Automatic Binding Bricks were renamed LEGO Bricks, and in 1958, these bricks underwent a slight change in their design, which transformed them into the LEGO Bricks we know today. Also in 1958, Ole Kirk Christiansen passed away and his son Godtfred became head of the LEGO company.
By the early 1960s, LEGO had gone international, with sales in Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, and even Lebanon.
Over the following decade, more countries started to sell LEGO toys, including the United States in 1973.
In 1964, for the first time, consumers could buy LEGO sets, which included all the parts and instructions to build a particular model. LEGO later introduced themed lines of LEGO, including town (1978), castle (1978), space (1979), pirates (1989), Western (1996), Star Wars (1999), and Harry Potter (2001).
For over half a century, these small, little, plastic bricks have sparked the imagination of children around the world and LEGO remain one of the world's most popular toys.
LEGO World Records
Given people's passion when it comes to the toy, it's not surprising that there are many world records set with LEGO, for example:
- World's tallest LEGO tower at 94.3 ft (28.7 m) with 465,000 bricks
- World's Longest LEGO Construction at 5,179.8 ft (1,578.8 m) with 2.9 million bricks
- World's Largest LEGO Image at 870.15 ft² (80.84 m²), with 1.2 million bricks
LEGO is Really, Really Popular
Consider these amazing statistics, courtesy of LEGO - Thanks Alisa Weinstein!
- There are about 62 LEGO bricks for every one of the world’s 6 billion inhabitants.
- Children around the world spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks.
- More than 400 million people around the world have played with LEGO bricks.
- More than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced since 1949. Stacked on top of each other, this is enough to connect the Earth and the Moon ten times over.
- 7 LEGO sets are sold by retailers every second around the world.
- The LEGO bricks sold in one year would circle the world 5 times.
LEGO Manufacturing Fun Facts
Every year, about 19 billion LEGO bricks are produced. That translates to 2.16 million LEGO elements are molded every hour, or 36,000 per minute! The LEGO manufacturing process is so precise that only 18 out of 1 million LEGO bricks produced is considered defective.
A LEGO brick from 1958 would still interlock with a LEGO brick made today.
LEGO bricks are part of a "universal system," so that regardless of the year it was made and the set it belongs to, each piece is compatible with existing pieces.
In 1961, LEGO was awarded its first US patent for "Toy Building Brick." The design calls for a hollow rectangular bricks with studs on top and a round hollow tube on the bottom. This was a marked improvement, as it allows for the precise "tube and stud" coupling.
LEGO's Humble Beginnings
On January 28, 2016 , LEGO is 50 years old today (precisely at 1:58 pm, actually, when the original patent was filed in Denmark). The plastic toy building brick is everywhere - LEGO has thousands of sets
The first minifigure was created in 1978, and since then, four billion have been made.
In 2009, a man named James May in Surrey, Great Britain, constructed the world's first full-size LEGO house, using 3.3 million bricks. The house contained a working toilet and shower and a bed... all made out of LEGThe Acronyms of LEGO
Perhaps it's the company's name, spelled in all capital letters, that inspired LEGO lovers to use a multitude of acronyms when they talk about their beloved toy. Here are some examples:
AFOL: Adult Fan of LEGO
BFC: Big Freaking Castle
BURP: Big Ugly Rock Piece
HOG: Hand of God, when you move your minifigs around, this is what they think of your hand
LF and NLF: LEGO Friend and Non-LEGO Friend
LS and NLS: LEGO Spouse and Non-LEGO Spouse (guess which one approves of the LEGO hobby)
MOC: My Own Creation