“Lego toys build anything. Especially pride.” Lego
Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund in Denmark started making wooden toys in 1932. He called his company Lego, from Danish leg godt, play well and it also started producing plastic toys in 1947 (now the Lego Group). The interlocking bricks that we now know as Lego started in 1949 and were then called automatic binding bricks. They were partly based on the Kiddikraft self-locking bricks from the UK and consisted of stackable blocks that locked together through the use of round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom. Lego bricks were produced with a plastic injection-molding machine, bought in 1947 that made mass production of plastic toys possible.
In 1954 Christiansen´s son, Godtfred sensed that Lego could be a big success but he had to find a way to improve their locking ability and their versatility. He changed the material from cellulose acetate to ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer and the design of the brick was altered. The modern Lego brick was patented on January 28, 1958.
Since that day the Lego Group has produced thousands of different sets of Lego, among which town and city, space, robots, pirates, trains, Vikings, castle, dinosaurs, undersea exploration, and Wild West. Lego is so popular that in 2012 45.7 billion bricks of Lego were produced at a rate of 5.2 million per hour. Other Lego lines are Lego Technic and Duplo for younger children. Besides the toys there are movies, games and six theme parks.
The Lego Group´s motto, Det bedste er ikke for godt, meaning only the best is the best, was invented by Ole Kirk. It was meant to encourage his employees to never economize on quality.
The company is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of Ole Kirk.
The word lego comes from the Danish phrase leg godt, play well.
Lego in other languages: