LEGO turns 50 – Congratulations!

It all started back in 1932 when Ole Kirk Christiansen, master carpenter and joiner, establishes his business in the village of Billund, Denmark. His firm manufactures stepladders, ironing boards, stools and wooden toys. Two years later the company and its products now adopt the name LEGO, formed from the Danish words “LEg GOdt” (“play well”). Later, it is realised that in Latin the word means “I put together”.

The initial LEGO Automatic Binding Brick was introduced in 1949, but the current LEGO stud-and-tube coupling system was not patented until 1958. The new coupling principle makes models much more stable and since then LEGO has produced an impressive 400 billion bricks.

One of my personal favourites is the yellow castle I got for Christmas 1978. The really cool thing about it is that it’s all made of small parts which made it possible to rebuild it into almost anything.

Yellow LEGO castle - 1978

Also the LEGO Space, Train and Technic series kept me busy when growing up. Visit Brickfactory and browse through all the old products, sure brings back some good memories…

Fun LEGO facts [Source]

  • More than 400 million children and adults will play with LEGO bricks this year
  • LEGO products are on sale in more than 130 countries
  • If you built a column of about 40,000,000,000 LEGO bricks, it would reach the moon
  • Approx. seven LEGO sets are sold each second
  • Approx. 19 billion LEGO elements are made every year in Billund – equivalent to approx. 2m elements an hour or 36,000 a minute.
  • If all LEGO sets sold in a year were stacked on top of each other, they would fill a football field to a height of 77.8 m
  • Laid end to end, the number of LEGO bricks sold in a year would reach more than five times round the world
  • On average there are 62 LEGO bricks for every person on earth
  • Since BIONICLE figures first appeared in 2001, more than 150 million BIONICLE “beings” have been born.
  • That’s more than the population of France and Britain put together
  • The eight robots and 15 automatic cranes that work in the LEGO warehouse in Billund can shift 660 crates of bricks in and out every hour
  • The world’s children spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks
  • With a production of about 306 million tyres a year, the LEGO Group is the world’s largest tyre manufacturer
  • In the manufacture of LEGO bricks the machine tolerance is as small as 0.002 mm
  • The LEGO Club has 2.4m members worldwide
  • Approx. 400 billion LEGO elements have been manufactured since 1949

The complete time line can be seen at LEGO.com, and is also visualized at gizmodo.com (US version). Even though they’ve struggled for a few years it looks like LEGO is back to stay. I wish them the best of luck in the future.

Feel free to mention one or two of your favourites below 🙂

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