Legos: Facts, History And Trivia About The Universal Building Toy

By | January 27, 2020

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Left: Medieval-themed Lego set from 1979, complete with jousting knights, nobility, and guards, one of the first minifigure packages. Right: Dagny Holm, niece of Ole Kirk Christiansen and arguably the first master builder. Source:

Legos are everywhere. At this point, several generations of people all over the world have grown up building things out of Lego bricks, and the toys have evolved. Once upon a time, the bricks were all basic squares or rectangles of bright plastic. Specialized pieces were introduced; minifigures were introduced, gears and pulleys and motors were introduced -- today, industrious builders can create a scale model of just about anything from Legos, or design completely new structures. 

Lego Began As A Manufacturer Of Wooden Toys

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Ole Kirk Christiansen, the man behind LEGO. Source: (history)

Lego is based in Billund, Denmark and was founded before World II. It arose out of a series of tragedies. Ole Kirk Christiansen began as a carpenter and a fire destroyed his shop. His wife died in 1932, the world plunged into depression after the American stock market crashed, and he was forced to lay off most of his staff. The solution he came up with was to make inexpensive toys out of wood. He was a talented toymaker, renaming his company leg godt (play good), the name which would become Lego. Another fire destroyed his factory and because of the scarcity of traditional manufacturing materials, he began to craft out toys out of plastic.

In 1946, Christiansen purchased a plastic injection molding machine, despite the fact that they were not legal in Denmark until 1947. He started producing Automatic Binding Blocks that year, based on an interlocking brick design from the British company Kiddicraft. In 1949, he received a patent for a wooden version of his blocks, and then, in 1958, shortly before his death, he received a patent for the plastic blocks.