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]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Lego Star Wars Ucs 10179 Millennium Falcon! Han Solo Luke Leia Chewbacca Vader2003 Lego Star Wars Kit 10129, Rebel Snowspeeder, Complete Unused KitLego 10179: Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon (ucs)Lego Star Wars Ucs Lot! 10129 Snow Speeder 75095 Tie Fighter Probe Droid Hoth!Lego Set #10030 -original Star Wars Imperial Star Destroyer Ultimate Collector'sHuge 101 Lego Star Wars Minifig Mini Figure Lot Wampa Jabba Boba Fett Darth MaulLego Star Wars 10030 Imperial Destroyer Displayed Ultimate Collector Series UcsLego 10185 Green Grocer Modular Building Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer 10221Lego 10221: Super Star Destroyer (ucs)Lego Monster Fighters Kit 10228, Dwellers Haunted House Vampire Ghost ZombieLego Vader's Tie Advanced 10175 Ucs Ultimate Collector Series New Rare Bonus!Lego Set #10179 - Custom Designed Star Wars Millennium Falcon - One Of A KindLego At-st 10174 Ucs Ultimate Collector Series New Sealed Bonus!Lego Star Wars Sandcrawler Ucs 75059 Includes All Minifigs (sealed Bags No Box)Lego Star Wars Slave 1 I 75060 Ultimate Collector's Series UcsLego Star Wars Blockade Runner 10019 Tantive Iv Ucs Ultimate Collector SeriesLego Imperial Star Destroyer (10030) Opened But Never Assembled!Lego Creator Town Hall (10224) 100% Complete SetLego Star Wars Massive 18+ Set Lot! Gungan Sub Shuttle At-at Walker Kylo Ren!!Lego Star Wars - Slave I (75060) - Brand New/sealedStar Wars Lego Set #7676 Republic Attack Gunship - Clone Wars Lego Creator Green Grocer (10185) 100% Complete Set Lego Creator Taj Mahal (10189)Lego Star Wars Lot Of Mini Figures And AccessoriesRare 2004 Lego Star Wars Kit 4504 Millenium Falcon, Complet Unused Kit In BoxLego 10240: Red Five X-wing Straighter (ucs)Lego Harry Potter #4757 Hogwart's Castle (2nd Edition) New In BoxLego Star Wars Lego 10019 Ultimate Collector Series - Tantive Iv New In BoxLego 10194 Emerald Night Train Lego Star Wars 10178 At AtUsed Lego 10187 Volkswagen Beetle (vw Beetle) .Lego 10211 Grand Emporium Modular 100% Complete **free Shipping If Bin** Lego Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back Hoth Echo Base 7879Lego 75054 Star Wars At-at Set 1137pc Ages 9-14Lego Star Wars Super Star Destroyer (10221)Lego Lot 48 Minifigs Indiana Jones, Islanders, Toy Story, Lego Movie, Mummy +Lego Star Wars 10174 Ucs At-st New Sealed In Orig Box Lego * 2010 * Series 2 Mini-figures * Complete Set Of 16 * Sealed * No ReserveVintage Lego Technic Set 8860 - Car Chassis - Complete With Box And InstructionsHuge Lot Of Lego Star WarsLego Star Wars: Jabba's Sail Barge (75020) W/ Lot Of 6 MinifiguresLego 8683 Minifigures Series 1-full Set Of 16-complete With Base Plates GenuineLego Star Wars #9516,jabba's Palace & #75005, Rancor Pit * 100% * No Reserve *2003 Lego Star Wars Episode Ii Complete Kit 4481, Hailfire DroidVintage Lego Technic Set 8848 - Power Truck - Complete With Box And InstructionsLego Super Heroes The Tumbler 76023 Factory Sealed *trusted Power Lego Seller*Lego Star Wars: The Battle Of Endor (8038) W/ 19 Lot MinifiguresLego 10227: B-wing Starfighter (ucs)Lego Star Wars 7665 Republic Cruiser Limited Edition & 7658 Y-wing Fighter SetLego Creator Horizon Train X2 10223 LotLego Large Lot 51 Vintage Pirate & Imperial Soldier Minifigures W/ AccessoriesLego® - Star Wars 75094 Imperial Shuttle Tydirium - NewHuge 175 Lego Minifig Minifigure Series Lot Hobbit Avengers Medusa Monster NinjaLego Creator Grand Emporium (10211)Lego Star Wars Slave 1 75060 *brand New* Plus Scooby Doo Mystery Mansion LegoLego Pirates Of The Caribbean Queen Anne's Revenge 4195 100% CompleteLego Star Wars B-wing Starfighter (10227)Lego Technic 42009 Mobile Crane Mkii Complete With Box! Built OnceLego 75095: Tie Fighter (ucs)