How much do you know about the history of Legos? This popular toy has been available for over 50 years.
The History of Legos
Legos are the brainchild of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a master carpenter and joiner. Christiansen set up shop in Billund, Denmark, in 1932. His company started producing ironing boards and stepladders, as well as a line of wooden toys.
Two years later, the company took the name "LEGO" for its products. The word is derived from "LEgGOdt," which is the Danish word for "play well." The company bought a plastic injection-molding machine for making toys in 1947. By 1949, it was producing approximately 200 toys made of plastic and wood. One of the company's offerings was called "Automatic Binding Bricks," and was an early version of the Legos that children play with today. The Automatic Binding Bricks were only available in Denmark.
LEGO is Developed
LEGO as we know it was introduced to the buying public in 1955. The earliest version released included 28 play sets and eight vehicles. In 1958, the familiar LEGO stud-and-tube design was invented and patented by the company. The advantage of this update was that structures constructed using LEGO were a lot sturdier than those made with other play materials.
LEGO Introduced to North American Market
The first LEGO kits were shipped to North America in 1962. At that point, consumers would buy a loose set of bricks for children to play with. That year, the first LEGO wheels were made available to the buying public. LEGO kits, which would let users work on buildings, planes, ships, and trucks were introduced to this market.
Starting in 1964, LEGO sets came with instruction manuals. The LEGO line expanded to include a train in 1966. This was one of the company's most successful innovations. The original version came with two rails, a 4.5 volt motor and a battery box. In 1968, a larger (12 volt) motor was offered with the train set.
While LEGO blocks were designed for school-aged children, the company's DUPLO line was developed with the needs of preschoolers in mind. This version of LEGO building blocks is larger and safer for children to use. When the children are ready to "graduate" up to LEGO building blocks from DUPLO, it's very easy since DUPLO building blocks can be used with standard LEGO pieces.
Expert Series to TECHNIC
The Expert Series line from LEGO was designed for experienced LEGO users and was launched in 1975. Within two years, it evolved into the "Expert Builder" line. These sets included the following elements:
- Universal joints
With them, users could build very detailed, realistic models. Making a very realistic vehicle was possible for a talented LEGO builder.
LEGO Mini People
LEGO mini people were posable figures introduced by the company to complement LEGO building blocks. This addition to the line meant that users could construct more elaborate scenes that included a human aspect by adding the mini people.
The Appeal of LEGO
This toy is one that children of many ages and abilities can enjoy. Very young children can build a tower, even if all they do is knock it down within a few minutes. While not everyone is going to build a replica of the Chrysler Building, as some very dedicated LEGO users did, the toy can give children hours of enjoyment and create some very fond memories. The history of LEGOS is still being written, and this toy will continue to delight children for many years to come.