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Fascinating facts about the invention
of
LEGO bricks by Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1949.
LEGO
In 1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen, master carpenter and joiner in the village of Billund, Denmark, sets up business. His firm manufactures stepladders, ironing boards - and wooden toys. In 1934 the company and its products now take on the name LEGO, which is formed from the Danish words "LEgGOdt" ("play well").  In 1947 the LEGO company is Denmark's first to buy a plastic injection-molding machine for making toys. In 1949 the company produces about 200 different plastic and wooden toys, including Automatic Binding Bricks, a forerunner of the LEGO bricks we know today.
LEGO Logo ( They are sold only in Denmark. In 1955 after further developing the LEGO Bricks, the company launches the revolutionary "LEGO System of Play": 28 sets and 8 vehicles. It also sells supplementary elements. In 1958 the current LEGO stud-and-tube coupling system is invented and patented. The new coupling principle makes models much more stable. The possible combinations of bricks run into astronomical figures.
Introduced in the United States in 1962, the first LEGOs came in loose sets of bricks. By 1966, however, LEGO kits were guiding young hard hats in snapping together all kinds of buildings, trucks, planes, and ships. The LEGO Group expanded its audience with the 1969 addition of the DUPLO line of big bricks for preschoolers and, in 1977, the TECHNIC line of sophisticated projects for older kids and teens. Within the last decade, an active online community of LEGO fans has developed new designs and drawing programs in which new constructions can be recorded. In 1998, LEGO introduced LEGO SCALA Planet, a kit specially designed for girls that combines the company's traditional construction elements with a family of dolls and fashion accessories, a magazine, and an interactive Web site. LEGO came to the United  States during some of the coldest years of the Cold War, a period that also saw a heightened interest in education and toys that could teach. U.S. leaders exhorted schools to start turning out scientists and mathematicians, who were seen as key combatants in the arms and space races with the Soviet Union. In the spirit of the times, LEGO promised that its bricks would "develop the child's critical judgment, manual dexterity, and ability to think for himself."  It’s no accident that the words "LEGO" and "imagination" often pop up together. The bright, colorful plastic bricks can be joined in countless combinations and have been a favorite with kids, parents, and teachers since their introduction in 1958. Unlike Erector Sets and Tinkertoys, which appeal more to older children, LEGO bricks are loved by builders of all ages, even infants more interested in knocking down than in building.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
History of Toys  from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Tinkertoys 
from The Great Idea Finder
Invention of Lincoln Logs 
from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
Toys!: Amazing Stories Behind Some Great Inventions
by Don L. Wulffson, Laurie Keller  / Hardcover - 128 pages (2000) / Henry Holt & Company
The quirky tales behind more than two dozen novelties, gadgets and games, from seesaws to Silly Putty and toy soldiers to Trivial Pursuit.

Ultimate Lego Book
by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen / Hardcover - 124 pages / DK Publishing - 1999

This book is about an idea, a set of values, and a long-term commitment to empowering children to use their creativity and build their imagination.
Lego Crazy Action Contraptions
Dan Rathjen, the Editors of Klutz (Editor) / Bk&Access edition / Klutz Press - 1998
Complete plans for making marvelous moving machines out of the special Legos that come with the book and some basic pieces you've already got at home.
Extreme Mindstorms: an Advanced Guide to Lego Mindstorms
by Dave Baum, Michael Gasperi, Ralph Hempel, Luis Villa
/ Paperback: 347 pages / APress; (2000)

Through the construction and programming of a demonstration robot, readers will learn advanced MINDSTORMS construction and programming techniques.
Building Robots With Lego Mindstorms: The Ultimate Tool for Mindstorms Maniacs
by Mario Ferrari, Giulio Ferrari, Ralph Hempel / Paperback: 656 pages Syngress Media Inc; (2001)
Introduces the basics of building robots with Lego bricks and components. The author presents techniques for controlling motors and programming the RCX, suggest ideas for different styles of robots to build, and takes a peek into the world of Mindstorms robotics

ON THE WEB:
The Official LEGO Web Site
There is lots to do at this LEGO Group official site, you can even enter a design contest. Lots of COOKIES at this site.
(URL: www.lego.com)
Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891-1958)
"Only the best is good enough," was Ole Kirk Christiansen’s motto and the legacy he left the company he started, LEGO. Brief profile at the Toy Industry hall of Fame.
(URL: www.toy-tia.org/industry/halloffame/1989.htm)
Cool LEGO Site of the Week
There are hundreds of sites dedicated to LEGO. You will find a selection of the best here.
(URL: www.lugnet.com/cool/)
DR. TOY'S CLASSIC TOYS
-Classic Toys provide durability and fun. They have style and have qualities that make them all time favorites. Lego is just one of the toy products chosen.
(URL: www.drtoy.org)
ROBOTIC DESIGN STUDIO
A college course at Wellesley College called Robotic Design Studio. In this introductory Winter Session course students learn how to design, assemble, and program robots made out of LEGO.
(URL: www.wellesley.edu/Physics/robots/studio.html)
Official LEGO Mindstorms

This site from LEGO showcases the Mindstorms systems. Visit the Community to find out about pioneering LEGO MINDSTORMS inventors, building tutorials, robotic missions and much, much more!
(URL: mindstorms.lego.com/)

WHERE TO FIND:
A complete selection of all LEGO products including BIONCLE, PRIMO's; DUPLO; LEGO SYSTEM; TECHNIC, LEGO MEDIA software, and my favorite MINDSTORMS page  from The Great Idea Finder .

DID YOU KNOW:

  • 4.9152 cm is the volume of an 8-stud LEGO brick. It measures 9.6 x 32 x 16 mm. 
  • Thousands of a mm - that's the tolerance of accuracy at the LEGO mould factories.
  • 102,981,500 are how many different ways there are to combine six 8-stud bricks of the same color. If you haven't that much time, you can take three 8-stud bricks - same color - and fit them together in 1,060 ways. Two 8-stud bricks - still the same color - can be put together in 24 ways.
  • 189,000,000,000 (189 billion)LEGO elements and 11 billion LEGO DUPLO bricks - or thereabouts - were molded up to 1998
  • The LEGO company is Denmark's first to buy a plastic injection-molding machine for making toys.
  • The name LEGO, which is formed from the Danish words "LEgGOdt" ("play well"). Later, it is realized that in Latin the word means "I study", "I put together".
  • On the threshold of the millenium LEGO Company once again entered the history books, this time as "Toy of the Century" as voted by Fortune magazine and the British Association of Toy Retailers.

 

2005 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved.
Reference Sources in BOLD Type This page revised February, 2005.
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