LEGO (1949 – present): The Most Popular Plastic Construction Toys in The World

Welcome to GeezeZone!
This is a community dedicated to the discuss all things 90's and 2000's! Here we discuss and write about old tv shows, music, movies, games, toys, etc. Feel free to join to will be able to: comment on articles , join our events, and share your own memories! We'd love to hear them!
Join today!

It has been a while since we last talked about the popular and nostalgic toys of back in the days. Today I have been inspired to write about the Lego after watching the movie. This took me back in time when the I first received my Lego set. At that time, it was the best present one could have. I loved the creativity that the Lego toys instilled in us back then.

Background History of the Lego Construction Toys

The Lego construction toys have been adopted into many forms. There are movies, series, toys and even buildings that have been built with the Lego concept in mind. The Lego have really evolved over the years and this has made Lego remains one of the most popular brands in the world.
Because the company’s founder started off making wooden toys, rather than plastic ones, it has come a long way. At the time, it was thought that plastic toys couldn’t possibly replace wooden ones because children tended to detest the material in general. In contrast, LEGO toys have become one of the most popular toys for both children and adults.

LEGOs appeal to both children and adults, and it may be one of the reasons why LEGO has become so popular. Adults can now be seen playing with LEGO blocks without any remorse or embarrassment at all. In fact, if you can build LEGO sets swiftly and creatively, you are deemed cool. It is also worth noting that certain sets are simply too pricey for youngsters, especially because LEGO has a history of designing such sets based on the real-life structures and even historical events such as the Apollo 11 Lunar lander.

Furthermore, the LEGO Bugatti Chiron is an outstanding and detailed reaction of the original Bugatti Chiron, which costs a stunning 2.5 million pounds. LEGO has been a favorite of mine since back then. Your will appreciate the LEGOs more when you learn the origins and the genesis of the LEGO.

How it all Started: The Genesis of LEGO

Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of the LEGO Group started making wooden toys since 1932. When he first started out, the only created wooden toys but by 1947, the company began making plastic toys. They were not LEGO building blocks as we know them today, but rather plastic toys. Interlocking bricks were in their simplest form in 1949 when the company began producing them.

LEGO’s creations are getting more and more complicated and interesting as time goes on. Lego is a Danish word that means play well. In Latin, LEGO means “I put together” despite the fact that only the first two letters of each word were joined to produce the acronym. Ole Kirk had no clue that LEGO would become a corporation that crates bricks you put together in another language, making it fantastic and ironic what LEGO ended up becoming.

Christiansen emphasized the need of producing high-quality products at all times in accordance with the LEGO group’s philosophy, which translate to ”The best is not too excellent”. As a result, the business has never compromised on quality and is constantly exploring for new ways to produce better brick pieces that are more sustainable in the long run. Taking Ferrari’s position as the world’s most powerful brand back in 2015, its continual product improvement earned the company the title.
In 1949, the firm began making plastic toys, but it wasn’t until 1978 that the first mini-figures were made. Various LEGO toys, such as spaceships, supercars, and even treehouses,, have been produced since then. LEGO sets appear to be endless in their variety. In other words, LEGOs are so popular that they’re used in classrooms and even decorative accents around the office and houses.

Godtfred Christiansen, the son of Christiansen, became the LEGO Group’s Junior managing director in 1954. After talking to an international buyer, the idea for the toy system was born. Godtfred realized that LEGO bricks had the potential to become a system for creative, but their locking ability was restricted and they were not very adaptable. The current brick pattern was created in 1958, but finding the suitable substance, ABS polymer (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene), took another five years. It was in Denmark in January 1958 that a patent application for the contemporary Lego bricks design was filed, then in other countries during the following few years.

Founded in 1969, the Lego Group’s Duplo product line features simple bricks that are twice the width, height, and depth of ordinary Lego blocks and are aimed at children less than eight. The first minifigures were created by Lego in 1978, and they have since become an essential part of many sets.

To test the effects of microgravity on Lego bricks, astronauts built models on the International Space Station in May 2011 on the Space Shuttle Endeavour mission STS-134. A 1:1 scale model of a X-wing fighter, constructed from over 5 million bricks, was on display in New York City in 2013. Among the other world records, there is a 34-meter tower and a 2.5-mile railroad.

The Popular LEGO Culture

If you were lucky to have played with the Lego sets back then you will agree with me that they used to addictive and had a culture developed around them. One way to see how popular LEGO was is to look at how many different media, such as novels, films, and artwork featured LEGO characters and sets. One of its many uses is as a teaching aid.
Lego Education North America, based in the United States, is a partnership between Pitsco, Inc. and the Lego Grou’s educational business. The National Toy Hall of Fame at the Strong in Rochester, New York, inducted Lego bricks in 1998.

The Lego Designs

The universal system of Legos is made up of various kinds of pieces. Over time, components have evolved in design and function, but they have all remained compatible in some way with one another. Lego bricks created in 1958 are still compatible with those made today, and Lego sets for children and teenagers are interchangeable. There are over 915,103,765 ways to put six blocks of 2 x 4 studs.

Every single Lego piece has to be manufactured to the tiniest degree of perfection. In order for two pieces to be engaged, they must both fit snugly while still being removable with minimal effort. Tolerances as fine as the machines that produce Lego bricks.

The company’s Billund headquarters, home to roughly 120 designers, is the primary location for concept and development work. It includes smaller design offices in the UK, Spain and Germany tasked with developing items exclusively for these regions. A new product typically through three states of development over the course of a year. Market trends and changes are first identified through direct interaction with the target market which includes designers working at toy stores near holdiays or doing interviews with youngsters.

In the second stage, the product is designed and developed using outcomes from stage one. CAD drawings are now generated from original designs sketches by design teams using 3D modelling software, which was introduced in 2008. An in-house stereolithography equipment is used to prototype the designs. During the validation phase, these prototypes are presented to the full project team for review and testing by parents and children. As a result of focus group, it is possible to make adjustments to the designs.

While the user manuals are being written, virtual models of full Lego products are being produced. It’s not just CAD models that are used for marketing and packaging; they’re also used in the entire organization. For Mac OS X and Windows, the official Lego software, Lego digital Designers, allows users to design their own digital Lego models.

Previously, users could order actual models of their unique designs from Digital Designer and have them sent to them; the option was discontinued in 2012.

The LEGO Manufacturing

In 1963, Lego pieces have been made of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a robust and resilient plastic (ABS). The CAE/NX/CAD software system has been sed by Lego engineers since 2008. Using the program, mold flow and stress analysis may be sued to optimize the parts. In some cases, prototype molds are made before the design is finalized for mass manufacturing.
To achieve a dough-like consistency, the ABS plastic is heated to 232 degree celcius. It is then injected into the molds with forces ranging from 25 to 150 tons, and cools in about 15 seconds. To keep the bricks together, a tolerance of up to twenty micrometers is allowed for the molds. Human inspectors examine the mold output to ensure that there are no substantial differences in color or thickness.

The Lego Group estimates tat around eighteen bricks out of every million do not match the required standard. All but 1 percent of the plastic trash generated by Lego plants is supplied to industries that can utilize it in their products. Since it uses ABS plastic in its bricks now, Lego has set a goal of finding an environmentally appropriate replacement by 2030.

Lego Bricks are made at a number of factories across the world. In Billund, Denmark; Nyregyhaza, Hungary, Monterrey, Mexico, and most recently Jiaxing, China, all have mold-making facilities. Denmark, Hungary, Mexico, and Kladno in the Czech Republic are all factories where brick ornamentation and packing is done. It is estimated that 400 billion Lego bocks have been created by the Lego Group during the last five decades.
In a typical year, Lego produces 36 billion bricks, or round 1140 elements pers second. A report published in 2006 state that Lego might be the world’s leading tire producer, producing 306 million little tires every year. In 2012 the claim was reaffirmed.

The Open University’s engineering department was asked by the BBC’s more or less radio program to discver how many lego bricks placed one on to of the other would demolish the bottom brick. The engineering department used a hydraulic testing machine to determine that the average maximum force 2x2 Lego brick can withstand is 4,240 newtons; since an average 2x2 Lego brick has a mass of 1.152 grams according to their calculations, it woul take 375,000 bricks to cause the bottom brick to collapse. This means a stack of over 3,591 meters tall is what is needed.

However, private testing have showed several thousands cycles before the brick begin to wear out. Lego revealed in 2018 that it will no longer use single-use plastic bags to package its products, and would instead use paper bags that could be recycled.

Lego Clones

1in 1978, Lego’s final key patent expired. Competition since developed blocks of familiar proportions and design that may be joined to Lego bricks. When the CoCo Toy company in Beijing started selling Coko bricks in 2002, Lego sued the company for copyright infringement. It was ruled that CoCo must stop making the bricks, issue an official apology, and make good on any losses.
Between 2004 and 2009, Lego sought trademark protection for the shape of their bricks from the Federal Patent Court of Germany which dismissed Lego’s request. A trademark infringement lawsuit brought by Lego against Mega Bloks in 2005 was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. Lego’s original eight-peg design, according to European Court of justice, merely fulfills a technical purpose and hence cannot be registered as a trademark.

Germany tiny toy merchants as well as popular YouTubers received cease and desist letters from Lego in 2020. It intensified in 2021 when Lego allowed a container from Qman, a clone producer, to be tested in Bremen’s harbor for trademark infringement and presence of harmful ingredients.

An appeal for donation was made by the beneficiary toy retailer to transport containers of Lego clones from China to Germany and distributed them to children’s homes, and more than 350,000 Euros was raised within a few weeks.

Lego’s Official Website

Aside from an online store and a product catalog, the Lego website, which was first published in 1996 has grown and evolved throughout the years. In 2001, there was also moderated forum. Additionally, the site has all of the Lego sets’ instruction manual dating back to early 2000.
Lego Life, a social media app for children under the age of 13, is available on the Lego website. The app can be downloaded for free, but only includes content related to Lego. Social Network for kids to share their Lego creations with like-minded people, as well as source of Lego content in the form of product advertisement, graphics, films, campaigns, and competition. It was built for this purpose.

All user-generated content and communications are heavily moderated in order to ensure a secure digital environment for children, including the safeguarding of their personal information. The social networking site for Lego fans, My Lego Network offered a variety of features such as trade, badges for accomplishing specific activities, and achievements in the form of trophies dubbed masterpiece. Users could send each other pre-written notes via the website’s built in inbox.

Final Thought

Until this date, I still have a soft spot for the Legos. I still have some on my work desk at home for fidgeting with and releasing tension when I feel overwhelmed with work. They are still the darling of many kids today. Lego I among the few toys that have lasted throughout generations and are still useful and relevant to all generations irrespective of age and gender.

What is your memories about the Legos?