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America’s Favorite Toy

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office, www.uspto.gov

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office, www.uspto.gov

58 years ago yesterday, January 28, 1958, the world of children’s toys was changed forever when the first patent was filed in Denmark by Godfredt Kirk Christiansen for the LEGO Brick, initially called in the application the “Toy Building Block”.  These interlocking plastic bricks would soon take the globe by storm, and open up the imagination of the millions of kids, and adults, who were suddenly able to build almost any structure imaginable.  While the application for what would come to be known as the LEGO Brick cited a previous Danish patent for the same design, what set this particular patent apart was the addition of hollow tubes on the bottom of each brick, which allowed for the studs on top to interlock and connect snugly with each other, thus enabling the possibility for potentially endless stacking and building.

While the original patent has since expired, allowing others to use the design patented by Christiansen, the Lego brand itself still remains strong.  According to the Lego website, on average, every person on earth owns 86 LEGO Bricks, and the number of LEGO Bricks sold in 2012 would stretch around the Earth more than 18 times if they were laid end to end.  Interestingly enough, Christiansen’s father clearly had a vision for his company when selecting the name: the name “Lego” comes from the combination of two Danish words: leg godt, which translates to “play well,” while some translate the Latin lego to mean “I put together.”

            So let’s take some time to remember our experiences with LEGO Bricks, and the seemingly unlimited possibilities they unleashed in our imaginations.  After all, if you wanted to get to the Moon, all you would need is a column of 40 billion Bricks…give or take.

*The featured image is an illustration “colorful building blocks isolated on white” by koya979 obtained through Fotolia. 

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