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LEGO

Toy blocks are the building blocks of success at LEGO. Since 1949 LEGO has made more than 200 billion of its interlocking toys, keeping little hands busy worldwide. In a nod to kids’ high-tech skills, it offers LEGO kits to build PC-programmable robots (such as its Mindstorms line), and its top seller, BIONICLE, features an evolving story line on the Internet and various merchandising opportunities. The group also owns LEGO retail outlets in the US and Europe.

The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called Lego. It expanded to producing plastic toys in 1940. In 1949, Lego began producing the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. These bricks were based largely on the design of Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were released in the United Kingdom in 1947. Lego modified the design of the Kiddiecraft brick after examining a sample given to it by a British supplier of an injection-moulding machine that Lego had purchased. The first Lego bricks, manufactured from cellulose acetate, were developed in the spirit of traditional wooden blocks that could be stacked upon one another; but these plastic bricks could be locked together. They had several round studs on top, and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they required extraordinary effort to be separated.

The company name Lego was coined by Christiansen from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. The name could also be interpreted as “I put together” and “I assemble” in Latin, though this would be a somewhat forced application of the general sense “I collect; I gather; I learn”; the word is most used in the derived sense “I read”. The cognate Greek verb (lego) also means “gather, pick up”, but this can include constructing a stone wall.

The Lego Group’s motto is “Only the best is good enough”, a free translation of the Danish phrase Kun det bedste er godt nok. This motto was created by Ole Kirk to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. The motto is still used within the company today.

The use of plastic for toy manufacture was not highly regarded by retailers and consumers of the time. Many of the Lego Group’s shipments were returned, after poor sales; it was thought that plastic toys could never replace wooden ones.

By 1954, Christiansen’s son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that struck the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play, but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their locking ability was limited, and they were not very versatile. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed; and it took another five years to find the right material for it. The modern Lego brick was patented on January 28, 1958; and bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.

Lego has a large list of video games that appeal to a wide age range, with titles like Lego Star Wars: The Video Game, Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, Bionicle Heroes as well as the Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga and Lego Indiana Jones, a Lego Batman, and the upcoming Lego Universe MMOG. Lego Digital Designer is an official piece of Lego software for Windows and Mac OS X which allows users to build with Lego bricks on their computers. Users can then publish their creations online on the Lego Factory website, or purchase the physical bricks to build them. Lego Digital Designer includes some Lego products which only exist online, including models for the children’s television programmes TUGS, Thomas and Friends and Speed Racer.

On January 28, 2008, Lego celebrated the 50th anniversary of the patent on its interlocking blocks with a worldwide building contest. Google paid tribute to the anniversary by writing its name on the Google homepage in Lego bricks, along with the Lego figure on one of the letters.

One of the largest Lego sets ever commercially produced is a minifig-scaled edition of the Star Wars Millennium Falcon. Designed by Jens Kronvold Fredericksen, it was released in 2007 and has 5,195 pieces. It was recently surpassed by a Lego model of the Taj Mahal which consists of 5,922 pieces.


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Comments ( 9 )
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SnakeDoctor
Comment By: SnakeDoctor
Votes:0Good   Poor
Date: Jun 29, 2009 09:19:17
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Comment By: Goodman88
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Comment By: Longo84
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Date: Feb 22, 2009 20:59:03
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Perfect Complement
Comment By: Perfect Complement
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Date: Sep 05, 2008 20:51:29
One more blocked placed on your weblo castle!
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