July 10, 2013
My daughter and grandson will be coming to visit us this month, so we’ve been thinking of things to see and do while they are here.
I immediately thought of visiting Powell Gardens to see the exhibit NATURE CONNECTS: LEGO® Brick Sculptures. We visited LEGOLAND® at Crown Center last year when they were staying with us. I thought it might be fun to share some of the history and facts behind the construction toys called LEGO bricks.
The LEGO Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called "Lego," from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well." It expanded to producing plastic toys in 1947. In 1949, LEGO began producing an early version of the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks." By 1954, Christiansen’s son, Godtfred, had become the junior managing director of the Lego® Group. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed, and it took another five years to find the right material for it, ABS polymer. The modern LEGO brick was patented on January 28th, 1958, and bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.
Each LEGO piece must be manufactured to an exacting degree of precision. About 18 bricks out of every million fail to meet the standard required. LEGO factories recycle all but about one percent of their plastic waste from the manufacturing process every year. If the plastic can’t be reused in LEGO bricks, it is processed and sold on to industries that can make use of it.
Primary concept and development work takes place at the Billund headquarters, where the company employs about 120 designers. The company also has smaller design offices in the UK, Spain, Germany, and Japan. The average development period for a new product is around 12 months.
LEGO has expanded into theme parks, retail stores, children’s clothing, board games, video games, films and television, and books and magazines! Just check the library catalog for the subject "LEGO" and a variety of items will appear.
In 1998, LEGO bricks were inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York.
Blue Springs South Branch