LEGO is something everyone has heard of. Whether it’s through playing with it yourself, through the movies and theme parks, or being unfortunate enough to step on one. But have you ever wondered how these colorful plastic blocks got so popular? Then look no further, as this article aims to explain the history of the LEGO brick.
Where Did It All Begin?
The origins of the take us back to 1949. But even before then, LEGO first started being manufactured in 1934. Originally, these were various different colored wooden bricks that could be interlocked together. Carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen came up with the idea and called them LEGO after the Dutch phrase “leg godt”, which translates to “play well”.
For a long time, the bricks remained wooden. The plastic alternative wasn’t introduced until 1949, and were called “automatic binding bricks”. However, Christiansen wasn’t all too thrilled with the idea of plastic. He believed that “only the best is good enough” – which is a motto that LEGO still use today. He believed that quality was the most important part in making these toys. In his eyes, the plastic alternative couldn’t compare to the original wooden bricks.
By 1954, Christiansen’s son, Godfred, was taking a more significant role in the franchise. He could see that LEGO had the potential to be something big. There were some problems though: the bricks had limited ability to lock together. It took a few years, but by 1958, they cracked the design and materials in order to make the perfect building block – which is the LEGO brick we all now today. Minifigures, the yellow ones we see in our builds, came into the limelight in 1978. This was to add to the creativity of children in the things they built.
The Evolution of LEGO
Following it’s huge popularity, LEGO was then seen to be used in various ways. LEGO has been used with astronauts, with education and engineering, and also has jumped into popular culture. These multicolored bricks have been the medium for many different artworks and educational programs. In fact, LEGO released it’s own theme specifically tailored for schools and classrooms. Because of it’s worldwide name, LEGO is considered to be one of the most powerful brands, and was one of the original inductees in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
But LEGO isn’t limited to just the bricks. Since growing nationally, LEGO has expanded into theme parks, video games and movies. There are eight Legoland amusement parts all across the globe – in Denmark, America, England, Germany, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Japan. Legoland itself focuses on the building element, allowing people to make dams in waterparks and other interactive activities.
The LEGO movie and videogame franchise also came from the company’s success. The first LEGO movie was released in 2014, following the story of a LEGO minifigure and his adventures through LEGO City. This then expanded into other franchises, such as Batman, which was released in 2017.
The videogame series is a whole different matter. As well as having their own videogames, LEGO has also had releases with Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and many, many, many more. The first LEGO videogame was Lego Island, released in 1997. The first LEGO videogame released with another franchise was Lego Creator: Harry Potter. LEGO Batman has dipped it’s toes in both the videogame and movie spheres.
What Does The Future of LEGO Hold?
LEGO is such a huge franchise, it’s difficult to predict where it could go next. In 2022, the LEGO Group continued to work for more sustainable products, such as paper-based bags in packaging. This is following LEGO’s goal to make their packaging more sustainable by 2025.
Now a decade on from LEGO Friends, it has been said that this will be re-imagined by the LEGO Group. This includes more diversity and representation so all children can feel included in their play. The LEGO Group have also said that there will be more characters, builds and storylines “to excite builders of all ages”.
What would you like to see from the LEGO company? Is there anything new you would want to see? Or do you have a childhood favorite that you’d like to see re-imagined? Let us know in the comments below!