We associate LEGOs with brightly colored, interlocking plastic bricks that have caused many a barefoot parent to howl in pain, but when a Danish carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded the company that would become LEGO in 1932, he produced only wooden toys, from pull-along animals such as ducks and cats to building blocks and yo-yos. In 1934, the firm was officially named LEGO, which is short for “leg godt,” or “play well,” in Danish.

At first yo-yos were big sellers for Kristiansen, but when their popularity waned toward the end of the decade, the carpenter made the most of the downturn but re-purposing his unsold yo-yo inventory as wheels for his pull-toys and vehicles. One of the earliest vehicles Kristiansen made was a wooden train, with an engine, passenger car, and caboose. Roughly 30 years later, in 1965, LEGO would release its first plastic model trains, but throughout World War II, when Denmark was occupied by Germany, wood was a good material to be working with, since metal and rubber were reserved for the war effort.

If parents perceived an educational and even moral aspect to LEGO products, it was because Kristiansen and his sons and grandsons who followed in his footsteps imbued their products with core values. This was especially true for the LEGO interlocking bricks, or “Automatic Binding Bricks” as they were called upon their introduction in 1949. The goal was not just a toy but a toy system, whose generic components permitted unlimited, imagination-based play for both boys and girls.

The first molded, plastic LEGO bricks lacked the characteristic LEGO branding seen on the tops of each brick’s studs. The bottoms of the bricks were hollow (they did not yet have corresponding tubes to line up with the studs), while the sides had vertical slits, designed to secure windows and doors. By 1953, branding would be added to the mold, but the bottoms of the bricks remained hollow until 1957, when the interlocking system we know today was introduced.

LEGOs arrived in the United States in 1961, and larger DUPLO bricks, aimed at toddlers, were introduced worldwide in 1969. That same year, the 4.5-volt motor that had been powering LEGO trains was upgraded to a more robust 12-volt model. And in 1974, the first LEGO figures were released, although their popularity was eclipsed in 1978 when the first LEGO minifigure (a policeman) was included in LEGO set #600. Each minifigure was as tall as four bricks, except for those minifigures with shorter legs, the first of which was Yoda from the “Star Wars” series in 2002.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Brick Fetish

Brick Fetish

Jim Hughes' history-of-LEGO reference site is organized around a comprehensive LEGO timeline, from 1891 to 1968, wi… [read review or visit site]

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector's First Edition Millennium Falcon (10179)Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer (10221)Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon (10179)Lego Star Wars 10030 Imperial Star Destroyer With Instructions And Box!Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon (10179)Lego Batman Set The Batmobile Ucs Ultimate Collectors' Edition 7784Lego Star Wars Death Star (10188) Free ShippingBnwt Chanel 2013 2014 Classic Boy Cashmere Dress Boy Bag Lego Brick Closure 40Lego Grand Carousel #10196 Great ConditionLego Star Wars Ucs Super Star Destroyer - 10221 - New In Sealed Box Nr!Lego Cafe Corner Set 10182 Not Complete With Original Instructions No Box UsedLego The Simpsons Minifigures Series 13 Almost All 16 Figs Set In Hand Pls ReadLego Simpsons 71006 The Simpsons House Free ShippingLego 71006 The Simpsons House Complete Set All Mini Figures 2523 Pcs NewLego Star Wars Ucs Imperial Shuttle - 10212 - 2503 Pcs New In Sealed Box Nr!Lego Star Wars Death Star Ii (10143) Nib, Very Rare And A Desired Collectible!Lego Set 70810 The Lego Movie Metalbeard's Sea Cow Pirate Ship "new"Lego Exclusives And Treasures Tower Bridge (10214) Free ShippingLego Mini Figures Star Wars Batman Robin Etc Etc 64 FiguresLego Set # 7938 Passenger Train NibLego City Lot~police~fire~great Condition W / ManualsLego Mindstorms Ev3 (31313) - Brand New & Factory Sealed! Programmable RoboticsBnwt Chanel Classic Boy Bag Belt Lego Brick Perfect Over Jacket Dress Top Lego Lord Of The Rings 10237 Tower Of Orthanc Building SetLego Vintage Classic Space 918 One Man Space Ship X 2 & Instructions Rare 1979Lego Castle King's Siege (7094) Retired Almost Complete With Instructions + 7092Lego Minifig - Star Wars - Boba Fett - Cloud City 10123 - Very Rare!Huge Lot Of 50+ Lego Star Wars Minifigures Stormtroopers Luke Droids Boba Fett +Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer (10221) Brand NewLego Exclusives Tower Bridge - 10214 - 4287 Pcs - New In Sealed Box - Nr!Lego 10030 Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer New, Ships WorldwideBatman Lego Set 7783 The Batcave: The Penguin And Mr. Freeze's InvasionHuge 18 Lbs Pounds Technic Big Lot! And Manuals For 8258 8295 8063 8265 Lego City Town Square Set 60026Lego Batman Lot- 7779 7780 Killer Croc - Batman - Cat Woman - Mini Figure 2.4 Kilo's Mixed 100's Bulk Lego Blocks Boards More Listed We Will Combine PostLego Mr Gold Full Chromed Custom Chrome Machine Printed With CertificateC188 Lego Custom Inspired Captain America Minifig Stealth Uniform Winter SoldierLego Star Wars Lando Calrissian 10123 Cloud City MintLego Rebel Blockade Runner (10019)Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon (7965) "new" And "free" ShippingHuge Lot 203 Lego Minifigures + Tons Accessories Star Wars Batman Harry Potter +Lego 10937 Dc Universe: Batman's Arkham Asylum Breakout, 10937 * New *Lego Mindstorms Lot Nxt Electric Intelligent Brick + Lots Of ExtrasLego Star Wars 8129 At-at Walker 815 Pieces Mint In Sealed Never Opened BoxLego Star Wars Ewok Village Set 10236Lego 10194 - Emerald Night Train Partial Missing Some Parts!Lego Technic 8421 Mobile Crane With Power And Pneumatic Functions2014 Lego Star Wars Darth Revan Exclusive Promo Minifigure Misb New SealedLego Vintage Castle Set 6041 Instructions, Partial Box Includes Rare Black SwordLego Creator Expert 10234 Sydney Opera House "ship Free"Lego Star Wars 10236 Ewok VillageLego Creator Winter Village Cottage (10229) NibLego City Town Square Set 60026Lego Indiana Jones #7195, #7197, #7620, #7621, #7622, #7623, #7682 100% Complete2012 Lego Monster Fighters #9465 The Zombies New SealedLego City Cargo Train 7939 Brand New/ SealedLego City - Public Transport Limited Edition - 8404 - New In Sealed Box - Nr!13 Lbs Lego Lot Lamborghini,technic Car, Trucks, Buildings, Minifigs Loose BlockLego Star Wars. 12 Jedi Minifigs. Anakin, Nadar, Agen Kolar, Kit Fisto & More