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 Series Ucs Millennium Falcon 10179 CompleteHuge Lego Harry Potter Lot Sets 4842 Hogwarts Castle 4840 The Burrow 4867 4738 Lego Train Santa Fe Super Chief 10020 + 10020 + 10022 + 10025 Mint Box Misb Lego 10224 Town Hall 100% Complete Used Plus Extra PiecesLego Creator Fire Brigade (10197) - RetiredLego Pirates Of The Caribbean Black Pearl 4184 Potc Rare 100% Complete Set!Lego Volkswagen Beetle (10187) - Complete, With Box And ManualsLego Maersk Train 10219 Rare Retired! Instruction Manuals + Box CompleteVintage Lego Pirates Lot - Instant Collection - Ships Forts 6271 6274 6273 6277Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer (10221)Lego Maersk Train 10219 Parts And Pieces Only Locomotive Wheels Links 9v RcLego Star Wars Lot 7964 8097 7959 Great Legos And Extra Minifigures !Lego Batman "the Batmobile: Two-face's Escape" Model 7781Lego Trains Emerald Night (10194)Lego Superhero Minifigure Lot Superman,spiderman,loki,iron Man,doc Oc,spiderman+Lego Friends Sets #41095, #41091, #41090, #30115, #30203, #850967, + MoreOscar Award Statuette (the Academy Awards, The Oscars) - Custom Lego MinifigureLego Star Wars R2-d2 (10225)Lego Pirates Of The Caribbean Black Pearl (4184) Nib SealedHuge Lot 5 Lego Sets Marvel Super Heroes 6857,6860,6867,6868,6869 No ReserveLego Star Wars - Ucs Vaders Tie Advanced 10175 - W/ Instruction BookLego Santa Fe Super Chief W/ 5 Club Cars; 10020, 10022 (1-3), 10025 (1&2), Track3+ Lbs Bulk Lot Of Assorted Loose Lego And Lego Friends Pieces And Parts - LotLego Star Wars Sandtrooper & Dewback Lizard Brand New 75052 Minifigure Minifig Lego City Trains 7936 Level Crossing (bnib) Rare Series 7 Lego Minifigures Bunny SuitHuge Lot Vintage Legos 50+ Lbs Pounds!! Minifigs Base Plates Space Cowboy Race Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon 7965 New Sealed.Lego Star Wars R2-d2, 10225, Very Rare, Discontinued, Complete Set, Jedi SithLego The Hobbit Smaug The Red Dragon - Brand New - 79018 Minifigure Minifig Lot Of Lego Mini Figures Including Spongebob, Loki, Iron Man, R2-d2, And More!Lego Creator Green Grocer (10185)Used 100% Complete = Lego Grand Emporium Shopping Mall 10211 No Missing PartsLego Architecture 21021 Marina Bay Sands Limited EditionLego Star Wars Ucs B-wing Starfighter 10227 New In Sealed Box RetiredLego City Set 4204 The Mine W Train, Crane, Truck, Drill New SealedLego Star Wars At-at Walker Lego Ghostbusters Ecto-1 (22108)Huge Lot Of Lego Minifigures Star Wars Ninjago Indiana Jones Lego City Gold NinjLego - Queen Anne's Revenge 4195 - Pirates Of The Caribbean - New In Open BoxLego Creator Fire Brigade Retired/rare, BuiltLego City Artic Supply Plane 60064 New *please Read Description Before Bidding*-rare-1986 -lego Highway Rig- Model Team Set #5580 With Poster And Instructions Lego Factory Modular Houses Market Street (10190)Lego Creator Grand Emporium (10211) 100%complete W/ Box & Extra Minifigs! Rare!Lego 76023 Batman Tumbler Set With Figures And InstructionsLego Star Wars Slave 1 8097 Boba Fett Bounty Hunter ShipLego Collectable Minifigures - Female Characters (x9) Bulk Lot Of Lego Over 1.5 Kilos Of Girls Huge Lot Of Lego Pastel ColoursLego Creator Winter Toy Shop 10199 Christmas Holiday 100% Complete!!!Lego Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (4842)Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon 7965 Set All Mini Figures Not Brand NewX25 Lego Clone Trooper Minifigs Brand New Star Wars Guys 10195 7675 7679 7681Lego Collectible Minifigure 22 Fig Lot Multiple Series Caveman Cowboy Hockey +Lego Castle Medieval Market Village (10193)Lego Friends- 41058 Heartlake Shopping Mall Building Set- New/sealedLego 70404 Castle Set With Additional Sets 70401 70403 LotLego Creator Pet Shop 10218Lego Dc Comics Super Heroes The TumblerThe Lego® Movie™ Super Secret Police Dropship W/ 8 Minifigures | 70815