In the Beginning:
Ole Christiansen's company originally sold and made wooden stepladders and ironing boards, until he started making wooden toys. The toys were more popular, so he decided to sell toys exclusively. He named the company LEGO, which came from the Danish phrase "play well".
Kiddicraft patented a building block toy in 1939 in the U.K. They later developed a self-locking building block and LEGO acquired their design rights in 1949. Originally named Automatic Binding Bricks, there was a name change in 1953 to LEGO Bricks and the name LEGO is imprinted on all the bricks.
LEGO System of Play:
In the 1950s LEGO grew to include building sets, vehicles and assorted props to help create buildings and towns. A new patent in 1958 made the brick sturdier and flexible with a tube on the bottom of the LEGO brick.
Today's LEGO :
Although the classic and basic LEGO is still the most popular toy, the company has increased their product lines to appeal even more to youngsters. The Bionicle robots are very popular (over 150 million made) and includes many go-withs. DUPLOs are for the younger set and licensed products appeal to collectors of the various topics.
Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Sponge Bob Squarepants, Harry Potter, Thomas the Tank, Batman, Spider Man and Bob the Builder. There is also a line of Ferrari vehicles and a 3428 count Eiffel Tower!
- Four billion mini-figures have been made since 1978.
- 400 billion bricks have been produced since 1958
- All LEGO elements are fully compatible, regardless of where or when they were made.
Collectibility of LEGOs:
If you've wondered about LEGOs as collectibles, look no further than eBay. The discontinued licensed sets, as well as the mini-figures that come in many of the licensed sets are often avidly collected. Star Wars is particularly hot and often a set is bought just for the mini-figures it contains.