Wednesday, 7 January 2015

History of LEGO

The long story of one of the biggest toy companies started in 1916 when Ole Kirk Christiansen begun a woodworking business in Billund, Denmark. He made wooden toys at first, and in the 1930s he named it "LEGO" which derived from two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well".

In 1947 the company moved into the plastics, as that it was cheaper and quicker to make. Creating over 200 different plastic and wooden toys. In 1949, these included plastic interlocking bricks were introduced as "Automatic Binding Bricks". Later became known as the "LEGO Bricks" in 1953.

These bricks are far from the bricks we know and love today, but in 1954, Ole Kirk's son, Godtfred, had an addition of doors and windows, LEGO Bricks almost became limitless in creative building possibilities. 

In 1958, the LEGO Bricks took a design change to include a stud-and-tube interlocking system. This new system was the most important discovery as they lock into place and remain there. These bricks are in-fact almost recognizable to the one LEGO sells today. In this same year Ole Kirk died, so the business was passed to Godtfred. 

In 1960, Godtfred decided to stop the wooden toy production after a fire in a warehouse, which destroyed much of the remaining stock. Now mainly looking at the plastic brick and the huge potential they had in future years. Now the company had comprised over than 400 employees and poised to enter the US, Canada and Italy. 

Within a few years, it spread to other countries. By 1966, the toys were in 42 countries. Within this year the first LEGO electric train was introduced, running on a motor with four and half volts. 

In 1968, LEGOLAND Park was opened, in Billund, Denmark. Within the first day to the public it received 3,000 visitors and continuing to for the rest of the year, reviving about 625,000 visitors.

By the 70s LEGO produced many different themed sets, from spaceships to Castles, many of them had been incorporated with motors, magnet and sensors. In 1977, LEGO DUPLO - larger bricks for younger children, which was followed by miniature figurines (Minifigs) the next year. These are very recognizable from the minifigs that we see today in sets and in the LEGO landscapes. 

LEGO 6703 Space Minifigures 
from the 1988.
In 1995, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen passed away. Now owned by his son Kjeld Kirk Christiansen. As technology is always changing so does LEGO. In 1996, was launched. Once the CD-ROM came into use children could play computer games, such as LEGO chess that came out in 1998. As the mind set for children moved to more robotics, LEGO produced, LEGO MINDSTORM and LEGO TECHNIC that same year. 

Over years to come many new LEGOLAND Parks put up around the globe and the ideas for LEGO set and models still keep coming.

The LEGO flames has not died down, even today they have a huge fan base and still growing. Using new ideas to keep everyone of every gender and age enjoying the LEGO spirit.

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