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LEGO Brick Basic Design History

Updated on May 1, 2012

The History of the LEGO Brick

The LEGO Brick is a modern design classic. A lot of people have very fond childhood memories of growing up with LEGO. And as an adult, less fond memories of standing barefoot on a stray LEGO Bricks in the middle of the night - ouch!

The LEGO Brick is a real design classic. While most people see it as a good education and development toy, they don’t realise that there is a lot more to the humble LEGO Brick than meets the eye (or the bottom of your foot). These little bricks are a miniature engineering feats. Their design has been very carefully thought out.

The origins of these colourful interlocking plastic bricks dates back to the 1930s. It all started in a carpenter’s workshop in Billund in Denmark, when Ole Kirk Christiansen started to make wooden toys. In 1934, his company became known as LEGO. The name 'LEGO' is an abbreviation of the two Danish words "leg godt", meaning "play well”.

However, It wasn’t until 1949 that LEGO started to produce a plastic Automatic Binding Bricks, which were based on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Brick design, that LEGO modified and improved. In 1958, the modern LEGO Brick, that we all know and love, was patented. The LEGO Group has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder.

The original design and patent for the LEGO brick
The original design and patent for the LEGO brick
Current Modern LEGO logo
Current Modern LEGO logo

The LEGO Brick and the Design

The famous plastic bricks are part of a simple interlocking system, that has just the right amount of grip, which a child can take apart with ease. The consistency of the LEGO design is part of the secret to its enduring success. In fact, the modern bricks produced today will interlock with those produced back in 1958.

The basic brick has two basic components: a set of studs on top and a number of tubes on the inside. The new pieces were first marketed under the name LEGO Mursten in 1953. From 1992, the pieces were simply known as LEGO System, which remains today

The reason the bricks stay together is the studs are ever so slightly larger than the space between the tubes and the sidewalls of the bricks. This and a bit of friction keeps the bricks ‘glued’ together with the right amount of grip. In engineering terms it is call an interference fit, and is very simple and very effective.

All LEGO components use this basic method. The basic LEGO brick colours have always been and remain as red, yellow, blue, green, black and white

The plastic LEGO brick is made by an automated injection moulding process, and LEGO factories produce 33,000 bricks every minute. It has been estimated that over 400 billion bricks have been produced. That’s approximately 66 LEGO bricks for every person on the planet.

LEGO Facts :

Did you know that: Approximately 7 Lego sets are sold every second around the world.

Did you know that: LEGO products are sold in more than 130 countries.

Did you know that: LEGO is ranked as the world’s fifth-largest manufacturer of toys.

Did you know that: LEGO products are sold in more than 130 countries.

Did you know that: Six eight-stud LEGO bricks can be arranged in 915,103,765 different ways.

Did you know that: 400 million people around the world have played with LEGO bricks.

Did you know that: Laid end to end, all the LEGO bricks sold in one year would go around the world five times.

Did you know that: There are now over 4 billion LEGO Minifigures on the planet since they were first introduced in 1978.

The simple design is why the LEGO bricks have been and continues to be so successful. LEGO was named "Toy of the Century" by Fortune magazine in 2000, and I should look where I am treading with my bare feet in the middle of the night…


© David Lloyd-Jones 2010

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    • Midnight Oil profile imageAUTHOR

      Midnight Oil 

      6 years ago from Isle of Man UK

      The LEGO Brick is a modern design classic. A lot of people have very fond childhood memories of growing up with LEGO. And as an adult, less fond memories of standing barefoot on a stray LEGO Bricks in the middle of the night - ouch!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 

      7 years ago from I'm outta here

      My daughters enjoy building robotics using lego. Lego bricks in all shapes and sizes helps to create a great challenge for the robots. Well done! :) Katie

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