LEGO celebrating 80 years

I am a big fan of LEGO as you can see on many LEGO related posts in this blog. Imagination-fostering Lego is 80 years old this month. Lego was founded by 1932, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a Danish joiner and carpenter. The company started by making and selling wooden toys. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego”. In 1949 Lego began producing the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. By 1951 plastic toys accounted for half of the Lego Company’s output. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed but it took another five years to find the right material for it, ABS polymer. LEGO eventually ended up making some of the most recognizable and long-lasting toys in the world: bricks and minifigures.

As The LEGO Group celebrates its 80th Birthday, The LEGO® Story short animated film take a look back at LEGO history. The whole story, from setbacks that included two fires, a world war and plain old hard times, is told in this charming video animation released by LEGO for the anniversary. If you believe the cartoon, the Kristiansen family kept reinventing Lego until they came up with the iconic bricks that are still around today.

It’s Lego’s 80th birthday party, but only the boys are invited article tells that LEGO is 80 years old this month and far from its roots as a creativity-inspiring construction toy for girls and boys. LEGO has had a huge success over the years, but it has had it’s struggles. The biggest issue LEGO had was in early 2000 where they were actually losing money, coming out of 30 years of constant growth and constant profit growth. The problem was that LEGO had lost interest in boys in their core group.

Lego today says that it spends a lot of time finding out exactly what it is that children want so it can give it to them. According to that research, girls aren’t into Lego. Lego was for boys, not girls, because although both sexes loved the larger preschool bricks of Duplo once the girls hit five, they weren’t interested in construction anymore. According to research girls don’t like the Lego sets that are available for over-five, so LEGO recently introduced Lego Friends. Long live LEGO.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lego Millyard Project

    The LEGO® Millyard Project is the largest permanent LEGO® installation at minifigure scale in the world. The installation is in the SEE Science Center. The project represents Manchester’s Amoskeag Millyard as it might have looked circa 1900.

    This project marked the first time the LEGO® Company worked on a creative display of this scale with outside partners.


    The project was built at a scale of approximately 55:1, called minifigure scale, which means to match the proportions of the LEGO® minifigure people.
    This project was built with approximately three million LEGO® bricks. By comparison, the Jefferson Mill, built in 1886, was built with an estimated five million bricks.
    The project has approximately 8,000 minifigures. Amoskeag once employed as many as 17,000 people.
    This project was built in phases between October 2004 and November 2006. It took more than 10,000 ‘person’ hours to complete the project. The Amoskeag Company built all of the mill buildings between 1838 and 1915.
    All of the LEGO® bricks used here were once in sets available to the public. No pieces were custom made.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lego launches ‘safe’ social network for under-13s

    Lego’s launched a “safe” social network for under-13s on a new app, called Lego Life.

    Basically it’s a child-friendly Lego-themed Instagram.

    It’ll let children post photos of their creations and comment on other people’s but with strict restrictions on what they can say.

    Text comments aren’t allowed but users can either use prewritten responses or custom Lego emoji and stickers.

    Although it’s aimed at children, who have to use a parent’s details to sign up, there is no restriction on adults also joining the network.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sorting Two Tonnes Of Lego

    Have you ever taken an interest in something, and then found it’s got a little out of hand as your acquisitions spiral into a tidal wave of bags and boxes? [Jacques Mattheij] found himself in just that position with Lego. His online purchases had run away with him, and he had a garage packed with “two metric tonnes” of the little coloured bricks.

    Disposing of Lego is fairly straightforward, there is a lively second-hand market. But to maximise the return it is important to be in control of what you have, to avoid packaging up fake, discoloured, damaged, or dirty parts. This can become a huge job if you do it by hand, so he built a Lego sorting machine to do the job for him.

    Sorting 2 Metric Tons of Lego

    After a trip to lego land in Denmark I noticed how even adults buy lego in vast quantities, and at prices that were considerably higher than what you might expect for what is essentially bulk ABS. Even second hand lego isn’t cheap at all, it is sold by the part on specialized websites, and by the set, the kilo or the tub on ebay.

    After doing some minimal research I noticed that sets do roughly 40 euros / Kg and that bulk lego is about 10, rare parts and lego technic go for 100’s of euros per kg. So, there exists a cottage industry of people that buy lego in bulk, buy new sets and then part this all out or sort it (manually) into more desirable and thus more valuable groupings.

    fake parts needed to be filtered out

    There is a lot of fake lego out there. The problem is that fake lego is worth next to nothing and if a fake part is found in a lot it devalues that lot tremendously because you now have to check each and every part to make sure you don’t accidentally pass on fake lego to a customer.

    discolored parts

    Lego is often assembled as a set and then put on display. That’s nice, but if the display location is in the sun then the parts will slowly discolor over time. White becomes yellow, blue becomes greenish, red and yellow fade and so on.

    Scanning parts seems to be a trivial optical exercise, but there are all kinds of gotchas here.

    Once you can reliably feed your parts past the camera you have to make sense of what you’re looking at. There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lego’s official ‘Women of NASA’ set goes on sale November 1

    Lego has a new set that originated by a member of its Lego Ideas fan-sourced creation platform: The Women of NASA, a package that includes NASA pioneers Nancy Grace Roman, Margeret Hamilton, Sally Ride and Mae Jamison, as well as a space shuttle model, the Hubble telescope and display stands for all.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LEGO Row Boat Is The Poolside Companion You Didn’t Know You Needed

    Maybe it’s the upbeat music, or the views of a placid lake at sunset, or perhaps it’s just seeing those little plastic rods pumping away with all their might. Whatever the reason may be, the video [Vimal Patel] posted of his little remote controlled LEGO row boat cruising around on the open water is sure to put a smile on the face of even the most jaded hacker.

    Mechanical rowing boat

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Top 10 Most Complex Lego Creations Ever Made!

    Lego’s simple block design lends itself to some awesome designs, but even though Lego bricks are easy to assemble, some people have taken creations to the extreme. In this video are 10 of the most complex and sophisticated Lego creations by master-builders from around the world.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    There’s little doubt that Lego played a huge part in the development of many engineers, and many of us never really put them away for good. We still pull them out occasionally, for fun or even for work, especially the Technic parts, which make a great prototyping system. But what if you need a Technic piece that you don’t have, or one that never existed in the first place? Easy — design and print your own custom Technic pieces. Lego Part Designer is a web app that breaks Technic parts down into five possible blocks, and lets you combine them as you see fit. We doubt that most FDM printers can deal with the fine tolerances needed for that satisfying Lego fit, but good enough might be all you need to get a design working.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    It Took 7 Years, But Lego Finally Has a New Mindstorms Kit

    The new Lego Mindstorms Robot Inventor kit includes instructions for four robots, and supports both Scratch and Python programming.


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