I enjoyed Lego as a child and there is a good chance that you did too. Lego is one toy range that has truly stood the test of time and has become the most popular building toy range on the market. Lego sets make up most of the top 100 building toys sold with other brands struggling to move up the ranks. They really have become a household name in many countries.
Do you know when Lego was invented?
Just how old is Lego anyway?
The Lego toys that we know is about 70 years old, with its origins dating back to 1947 when plastic became available in Denmark. The inventor of Lego, Ole Kirk Christiansen, purchased a plastic injection moulding machine in that year and made the first Lego truck that could be taken apart and re-assembled. However, the Lego brand dates back to 1932.
Before creating plastic Lego building toys, Ole Kirk had been in the woodworking business, making furniture until the great depression. When his business was struggling he started making miniature replicas of the furniture to use as examples and these became popular as toys for doll-houses, etc. He then also started making a few other toys and this is how he got into the toys business in the first place.
Later, in 1949, Ole Kirk and his son Godtfred began making the traditional Lego bricks similar to the ones that we are familiar with: the basic square bricks with 4 studs and the 2 x 4 rectangular bricks. They were completely hollow underneath and locked onto the studs on top. In 1953 the officially got the name Lego Mursten, “Lego Bricks”.
In 1955 the first Lego “Town Plan” was released as system of related toys. This was the beginning of the themed sets that have become so popular. At this stage they had some problems with customers being dissatisfied with the product because the bricks did not lock tightly together. This is when the Lego company modified the design to the one that is still being produced today, with the hollow tubes inside the bottom cavity.
In 1961 and 1962 the first Lego wheels were introduced. This greatly enhanced the range, allowing different types of vehicles to be built such as cars, trucks, buses and more. In 1964 they began including instruction manuals in the sets.
The first Legoland park was opened in Billund, Denmark, featuring models of miniature towns built entirely out of Lego bricks. I the first year alone the 3 acre park attracted 625,000 visitors.
In 1974 the forerunner of the Lego mini-figures was introduced, but had no face painted on. Four years later, in 1978, the new mini-figures were made with friendly faces and arms that could be positioned in various poses.
In 1975 an Expert Series was introduced that had moving parts such as gears, cogs, levers, axles and universal joints. With these sets he models built were a lot more realistic. These sets became the Technic series in 1982. During this period, in 1979, the Lego Space sets were introduced.
The available sets have grown from there and many were created based on movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter and others. Today we are almost spoiled for choice when it comes to the variety Lego sets, there are so many options available. And to think that this all started from rather humble beginnings in 1947 and now the Lego brand is known all over the world.
This building toy range has truly stood the test of time and I believe it still has a long future. It is not something that the children get tired of and there are advanced sets to offer the children as they grow up.
Get a more detailed version of the history of Lego on Wikipedia