Lego

Only the best is good enough

The name ‘LEGO’ is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”. The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. The company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Christiansen, a grandchild of the founder.

The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic toys.

Lego Motto

“Only the best is good enough” – created in 1936

In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now familiar interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. By 1954, Christiansen’s son, Godtfred, had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group.

Lego Fact

In 1946, Ole Kirk buys the company’s first plastic injection molding machine

It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that led to the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play, but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their locking ability was limited and they were not versatile. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed; it took five years to find the right material for it, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer[1].

A patent application for the modern Lego brick design was filed in Denmark on 28 January 1958, and in various other countries in the subsequent few years.

1958 patent – Inventor: Christiansen, Godtfred Kirk Current Assignee: Interlego AG

LEGO bricks soon caught on throughout Europe, and in 1968 the first LEGOLAND theme park opened in Billund (additional parks were later established in other locations internationally).

In 1969 the company started selling the DUPLO line of larger bricks for young children who had trouble handling the regular LEGO bricks. Nine years later LEGO introduced Minifigures, the typically smiling yellow humanoids that became regular presences in the company’s themed play sets.

Lego Facts

The first Lego wheels roll into Lego sets for the first time

In 1995, the first Lego video game “Lego Fun To Build” launches in Japan. “Lego Island” followed in 1997. About 70 other games have followed so far, including games based on the Lego movies and TV series. In 2014 Warner Animation released “The Lego Movie”. This was followed in 2017 by “The Lego Batman Movie” and “The Lego Ninjago Movie”. 2019 saw the release of “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”.

Lego Facts

In 1998, Lego bricks were one of the original inductees into the 
National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York.

Over the years, Lego has licensed themes from numerous cartoon and film franchises and even some from video games. These include Batman, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Minecraft.

Although some of the licensed themes, Lego Star Wars, and Lego Indiana Jones, had highly successful sales, Lego has expressed a desire to rely more upon their own characters and classic themes, and less upon licensed themes related to movie releases. Some sets include references to other themes such as a Bionicle mask in one of the Harry Potter sets. Discontinued sets may become collectible and command value on the black market.

Lego also initiated a robotics line of toys called ‘Mindstorms’ in 1999 and has continued to expand and update this range ever since. The roots of the product originate from a programmable brick developed at the MIT Media Lab, and the name is taken from a paper by Seymour Papert, a computer scientist, and educator who developed the educational theory of constructionism, and whose research was at times funded by the Lego Group.

Merlin Entertainments operates nine Legoland amusement parks, the original in Billund, Denmark, the second in Windsor, England, the third in Günzburg, Germany, the fourth in Carlsbad, California, the fifth in Winter Haven, Florida,

the sixth in Iskandar Puteri, Malaysia, the seventh in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the eighth in Nagoya, Japan. The ninth opened on May 29, 2021, in Goshen, New York, United States, and the tenth in 2022 in Shanghai, China.



Footnotes
  1. Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is a common thermoplastic polymer. Its glass transition temperature is approximately 221 °F. ABS is amorphous and therefore has no true melting point. ABS is a terpolymer made by polymerizing styrene and acrylonitrile in the presence of polybutadiene. The proportions can vary from 15% to 35% acrylonitrile, 5% to 30% butadiene and 40% to 60% styrene. The result is a long chain of polybutadiene crisscrossed with shorter chains of poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile). The nitrile groups from neighboring chains, being polar, attract each other and bind the chains together, making ABS stronger than pure polystyrene. Acrylonitrile also contributes chemical resistance, fatigue resistance, hardness, and rigidity, while increasing the heat deflection temperature. The styrene gives the plastic a shiny, impervious surface, as well as hardness, rigidity, and improved processing ease. Polybutadiene, a rubbery substance, provides toughness and ductility at low temperatures, at the cost of heat resistance and rigidity. For the majority of applications, ABS can be used between −4 and 176 °F, as its mechanical properties vary with temperature. The properties are created by rubber toughening, where fine particles of elastomer are distributed throughout the rigid matrix. [Back]

Sources

Lego
Wikipedia
Britannica


Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: