We all remember growing up with various toys. However, one of the most classic toys that has stayed a favorite of children over the years is the LEGO brick. These simple, colorful blocks offer children a way to enhance their imagination and make their dreams become a reality. Whether it is building a future dream house, a fantasy castle, or trying to build the tallest lego building, kids just love legos.
These are excellent toys not only to be used at home for fun play time, but also in the classroom or after school care facilities to create an imagination filled curriculum for students. While using Legos for science projects or just for fun is great and easy, it is important to recognize the journey these blocks underwent to become a favorite toy choice for American families.
The remarkable journey begins in 1932 with a man known as Ole Kirk Christiansen. In Denamrk, this entrepreneur opened a business to take advantage of his carpenter talent. Working with his son, the business grew to include about 7 employees in a matter of 2 years. The company decided to officially declare a name, and that name is the very same name that is now familiar to millions of families across the globe. Incidentally, the name chosen, LEGO, is Danish for “play well” and Latin for “I put together.” These two themes have held true for describing the toy and the actions of children and adults who engage in it.
The Christiansen family receives a major blow when their factory burned down in 1942. However, with dedication and a drive to make toys, production soon resumed in the same year. In 1946, wooden bricks with letters were produced, and in 1947 they invented “Monypoli.” Finally, in 1949, the company cranked out what we know as LEGO today, a binding brick with studs for connecting. Interestingly, the Automatic Binding Bricks (Legos) were sold exclusively in Denmark. The company about 200 toys that year and introduced the first packaged toy with four different colors.
In 1953, LEGO renamed Automatic Binding Bricks to LEGO Bricks. They also began printing the LEGO name inside each block sold and finally submitted an application for a registered trademark that was accepted in 1954. In an effort to expand production and sales across the globe, LEGO developed a comprehensive package, known as the LEGO System of Play, which included 28 block sets, 8 block vehicles and other supplementary items.
In 1955, with new confidence in their integrated toy package, LEGO went to a German toy fair where sadly reactions were not enthusiastic for the toy. However, the company pushed through the criticism and opened their first foreign sales company in Germany. In 1960, LEGO experienced another catastrophe due to fire. They lost their wooden toy shop and decided to not reopen their wooden toys production . International sales began first with the US and Canada in 1961. This continued to grow the following year with Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, and Morocco.
Through the next 5 years, the company experienced explosive growth and attention as children and parents alike became obsessed with the imaginative toy system. LEGO inspired more fame and admiration when they introduced the LEGO Train that was operated by battery for added effect. The creation of LEGOLAND in 1968 attracted a whopping 625,000 visitors during its first opening season, shortly followed by the first LEGOLAND film in 1969, which was also quite successful.
They 1970s and 1980s were busy for LEGO as well. In 1975, English became the company’s official language. In 1978, the company created the LEGO Road Show that launched in Dayton, Ohio. This later became the LEGO World Showcase. In 1988, the first LEGO World Cup, a global building competition, was established in August.
In the 1990s LEGO was declared one of the top 10 toy manufacturers in the world, the only one that was based in Europe. By this time, LEGOLAND reached a magic barrier with over one million visitors in a single year. In 1999 LEGOLAND expanded by opening up a park in the United States, known as LEGOLAND California.
LEGO has been an integral part in the lives of children across the world for many years. Not only do they supply building blocks for children to enjoy fun and inspiring play time, but they have evolved to include other educational tools such as books, building sets that engage children in science, transportation vehicles, and action figures. LEGO has released many products that are inspired from popular movies and shows, including Harry Potter, Prince of Persia, Toy Story, Star Wars, SpongeBob Square Pants, Bionicle, and Thomas and Friends.
The history of the LEGO company is an interesting journey. Starting out in a small town in Denmark and eventually growing global the company has stuck to their goals that were established and promised to costumers in 1963:
- Unlimited play potential
- For girls and for boys
- Fun for every age
- Year-round play
- Healthy, quiet play
- Long hours of play
- Development, imagination, creativity
- The more LEGO, the greater the value
- Extra sets available
- Quality in every detail.
What are some of your LEGO memories? Leave a comment below and let us know.