LEGO Mania - the History of LEGO
A little history
Those brightly colored building blocks that nestle deep within carpets, lying in wait for the unsuspecting midnight snacker, and end their days being sucked up by vacuums across the country, began their journey in 1932.
The creator and founder of LEGO, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a carpenter, first manufactured the toy in his workshop, and dubbed his creation LEGO, which he coined from two abbreviated Danish words, "Leg Godt" which means to "play well".
Since those first days of inception, the company has been passed down from father to son and is now the world's fourth largest toy manufacturer with subsidiaries and branches throughout the world, and product sales in more than one hundred and thirty countries.
The familiar building brick, which is literally the foundation of the company, was patented in 1958. Interestingly, all LEGO elements, bricks, people, and accessories, are fully compatible with each other, regardless of when they were made - from 1958 to present, and all LEGO bricks are manufactured in the company's own factories in Denmark, Mexico, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Growth and expansion
The LEGO phenomenon continued to grow and in 1960 the company launched the first building sets with wheels and motors. Six years later, the first LEGO train, complete with a 45 volt motor and rails hit the market, followed by the opening of LEGOLAND Park in Billund, Denmark in 1968.
Realizing that LEGO was universally loved by children of all ages, the company decided to introduce a product designed specifically for smaller children, and in 1969 LEGO DUPLO was born. The dimensions of the popular building bricks were doubled to allow small hands to build easily, and to alleviate choking hazards.
The 1970's ushered in a new concept for LEGO fans - role play. In 1974 the first LEGO figures were "born" and children worldwide clamored for more! Now they could not only build castles, they could mount attacks and defend their kingdoms courtesy of those little square-headed figures that were gaining popularity by leaps and bounds.
Since their birth these little figures have appeared in many forms; from knights, construction workers, race car drivers, space men, scuba divers, firefighters, and military personnel, to many popular movie icons such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Their resulting popularity resulted in the manufacture of over 4 billion figures. How's that for a population explosion?
Older children were captivated by LEGO Technics when the company released their construct vehicles and other machines. At this point, LEGO Group had officially moved into the collecting category. After successfully capturing the imagination of fledgling architects, construction workers, designers and builders of all ages, they continued to expand their products to include different shapes to allow older children to test their building skills as well.
The computer age
From 1980 through the 1990's LEGO Group continued to develop and market new products as our demand for better technology arose. They developed LEGO Technic Computer Controls, designed to be used in schools, and added their name to the fashion industry when they announced the arrival of LEGO kids Wear.
Babies and toddlers were now included in the LEGO family with the introduction of LEGO PRIMA, and computer aficionados were thrilled by the release of computer games based on popular movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars and Batman.
The new millennium brought with it the strange looking alien creatures called Bionicles, complete with their own online universe, and LEGO MINDSTORMS robots hit the shelves, which according to the LEGO website, are capable of hearing, moving, seeing, speaking and feeling! Now that's getting a tad scary!
Collectors and builders
While all the technical strides are impressive, especially to video gamers and computer techs, the most dedicated fans prefer to use a hands on approach...and if you think that the only people who enjoy LEGO are children, then you had better think again!
People of all ages love building, playing with and collecting LEGO sets. Just take a look at some of the sets on e-Bay if you don't believe me.
New and used LEGO bricks could almost be used as currency - it's that popular. More than seven LEGO sets are sold each second and during the Christmas season, up to twenty eight sets are sold each second. Now that's popular!
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