Written by Dixon George
Lego toys were originally made of wood, but ever since the Danish company began producing multi-colored, interlocking plastic bricks back in 1949, Lego has been beguiling and delighting generation after generation of kids (and adults) in many countries in the world.
Which of us doesn’t look back with nostalgia on the endless fascination of putting together plastic houses, tearing them apart, rebuilding them, adding new stories, new walls, new roofs and so forth.
There is a reason Lego has withstood the test of time.
Other toys are much more restrictive in their play possibilities and kids quickly bore of them.
Lego’s strength is its simplicity. Lego bricks hold children’s interest and attention for years and years. There are elaborate Lego sets where you get instructions for putting together a complex pirate ship, or lunar lander, amongst other things, but the most fun, to my mind, is derived from the good old-fashioned set of basic multi-purpose bricks which can be used over and over again to build pretty much anything you fancy.
The name Lego was coined by the company’s founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund in Denmark, in 1934 when he was still making wooden toys. In 1940 he started producing plastic toys, and in 1949 brought out the famous interlocking bricks the whole world knows and loves as Lego. The name derives from the Danish phrase leg godt, meaning ‘play well’. An appropriate name!
Early Lego bricks were not very versatile, and their locking ability was limited. In 1958 the brick was extensively redesigned, and this is the form of Lego we have all come to know and love. Bricks from 1958 will still interlock and work with bricks from 2010. There is actually a very fine balance in the Lego system – bricks must hold together until pulled apart, but be easy to pull apart when required. They are manufactured to a very fine tolerance.
Surely you will want to find out more about how Lego toys have evolved in the last 60 years.
For more information on this classic, timeless toy click here: Lego toys.