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 Monster Fighters Haunted House (10228)Lego Creator Fire Brigade (10197) -retired Set - New In Factory Sealed Box!Lego Holiday Train 10173 100% Complete With 10153 Motor 4548 Speed RegulatorLego Creator Town Hall 10224- All Parts, Box, InstructionsLego Monorail 6990 Complete Set With Extra Track Fully Functional! Train VintageLego Creator Fire Brigade (10197) -retired Set - New In Factory Sealed Box!Lego Star Wars Death Star Ii (10143) Lego Market Street (10190) - Modular Building - 100% CompleteLarge Lot Lego Duplo Blocks Windows Bricks 290 Pieces - Lbs.~lego Creator Green Grocer 10185~ Market Town Minifigs Modular Retired And Rare!Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle 4842 99.9% Complete Great ConditionLego Star Wars Star Destroyer 10030 - 100% Complete With BoxLego Star Wars Rebel Blockade Runner Ucs 10019 Original Box And Instructions.Lego Architecture 21021 Marina Bay Sands (brand New Sealed Box, Limited Edition)Lego Imperial Flagship 10210 New Sealed Box Dented In Back Lego Star Wars Chrome Darth Vader 10th Anniversary Minifig Polybag SealedLego Technic 8110 Mercedes-benz Unimog U400 Used Sydney Pickup - RareLego Statue Of Liberty 3450 - Bagged And Separated Into Steps -- 100% CompleteLego Star Wars Death Star 10188Lego Train 9v 4558 Metroliner Rare 1991 100% Complete Lego Lord Of The Rings Uruk-hai Army Set (#9471)!!!new!!!lego 21020 Architecture Trevi Fountain-free Usps Priority Shipping!!!Lego Star Wars Silver Chrome Stormtrooper Minifig Brand New SealedLego City Police Station (60047) ** Brand New ** Au1075Lego Harry Potter "hogwarts Castle" Model 4757Lego Minecraft The Nether Microworld Set 21106 New Factory Sealed In BoxLarge Mixed Lego Lot, 12.3kg Of Lego! Excellent Condition, City, Knights, + MoreLego Vintage Space City 60's To 90's Mixed Lot + Books 2.8kg329 Piece Lego 42005 Technic Monster Truck Set New SealedHuge Lot 36 Lbs Star Wars Lego Sets Parts 50 Minifigs Animal Instructions MoreLot Of 11 Nintendo Wii Video Games W/ Lego Batman, Indiana Jones, Mario ++Brand New, Lego Architecture Studio Lot! Won This At A Nyc National Lego Event.Lego Batman Batmobile #7784 Ultimate Collectors Edition Lego Star Wars Boba Fett’s Slave 1 #8097 CompleteHot 6 Sets Friends Girl Series Building Toys All New In Plastic BagsLego Star Wars Death Star (10188)New Retired Lego 8110 Technic Mercedes Benz Unimog U400 Limited Collector SetLot Of Assorted Legos 38 Pounds - No Mini FigsLego Creator Model Town House #4954 Complete W/ Instructions + Excellent Lego 9516 Jabba's Palace Minifigs/manual/box CompleteLego Denmark Vintage 1950's Vw Volkswagen Bus Ho Scale Ultra Rare Item Nmint(new In Box) Lego Ideas "research Institute Set" Model 21110Lego Carousel # 10196 CompleteLego Creator - Green Grocer, 10185 - Nib - Sealed BoxBrand New Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer 10221 Factory Sealed - Retired UcsLego 10182 Cafe Corner With InstructionsLego Star Wars 8039 Venator-class Republic Attack Cruiser Nib, Free Shipping!!!!Lego Denmark Vintage 1950's Ferguson Tractor Very Rare Item Very Good ConditionLego Harry Potter Hogwarts (4867)Lego 10 Pound Lbs Nxt Technic Mindstorm Parts Bricks Gears Beams Liftarms LotLego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (4842) With All Booklets And 9 MinifigureLego Mindstorms Ev3 With Remote ControlLego Technic Crawler 41999 Limited EditionLego Lot Over 20 Pounds Lbs Of Parts Pieces Star Wars Space Harry Potter TechnicHuge Lot (5.5 Lbs) Harry Potter Partial Lego Sets 4701 4708 4709 4723 4726 4727Huge Lot Lego's 9 Pounds Star Wars Batman Seaside Resort Lots People Lot More! Lego Ghostbusters 21108 Sealed New 30th Anniversary - Ecto-1 Limited EditionLego Research Institute 21110Lego Star Wars Death Star Ii (10143) Factory Sealed Brand New..Lego Seasonal Winter Village Toy Shop (10199)