Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Lego!

What does it take for me to get off my backside and fire up a post that isn't HNT? How about the 50th anniversary of the best toy in the history of humanity??
That's right, Lego turned 50 today! I loved it as a kid and I love it to this very day. I can't wait until the kids are old enough that I can break out the bricks again. Sure they've go the kid safe stuff, but it just isn't the same.

Over the years it has gone from its humble beginnings when Ole Kirk Christiansen began creating his wooden toys under the name we know today. He drew the name from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well" and by golly I did. The plastic bricks we know and love today were actually based on a 1939 patent from Hilary Harry for the 'Toy Building Blocks' sold under the Kiddicraft name. Christiansen saw the potential and introduced the "Automatic Binding Bricks" in 1949 after obtaining rights to the Kiddicraft design and the rest, as they say, is history.

In their early life the blocks didn't do well and were often returned by retailers who figured plastic toys could never replace wood ones. It wasn't until 1954, when
the son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, was the junior managing director for the Lego group that things began to take off. He saw the toy as a system instead of just a toy. As a basis for an entire system of creative play they lacked some locking abilities so the block was refined and the patent that was to create the block we know today was born on January 28, 1958. It would see 5 years of tweaking, but the system was started when that patent was set in motion. Not that any of us have the old ones laying around, but if you find them, they are still compatible with the bricks of today. In comparison to the toy companies of today who ensure incompatibility to generate sales of newer systems that's pretty damn cool!

From themed Lego and and licensed Lego to the computer controlled an robotic stuff of today the system continues to grow and is even popular with other toy companies who make sure their products are compatible with the bricks. The appeal has spanned generations and captures the heart and minds of many from the folks at Wired to Google on down to us mere mortals. Congratulations Lego and may your next 50 years be as awesome.

5 Comments:

Blogger angela marie said...

Who doesn't love the lego?!? (Besides my vacuum cleaner, I mean).

Pounds and pounds of Legos inhabit my boys' room...and I expect they will for a long time!

10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Hillary said...

Well CLEARYL the best toy ever HAD to come from somebody named Hilary! :) Us Hillaries are bright cookies! :P

3:03:00 AM  
Blogger Hillary said...

HA! Bright cookies, yes. Good spellers, perhaps not... (CLEARLY!)

3:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Xerraire said...

So THAT explains the Google logo!

10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Martini said...

Lego an Eggo for me will ya? I wanna see a huge red eggo made of lego.

3:58:00 PM  

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