Lego is made up of the Danish words leg godt, which translates as “play well”
For nearly 80 years, this iconic building block company has captured the imagination of children and adults around the world. It is a family business that was founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen from Denmark. Today, it is run and owned by his grandson, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen
Kristiansen was a carpenter, who started by making wooden toys, which he began in 1932. In 1947, he started to make plastic toys. Two years later, he began to produce a very early version of the little plastic bricks we know today. He called these Automatic Binding Bricks. These were partly inspired by self-locking bricks created by Kiddicraft
By 1954, Ole Kirk’s son Godtfred was serving as the junior managing director of the growing business. Through a conversation with an overseas buyer, he had the brilliant idea of creating a comprehensive creative system. This idea was the beginning of the timeless, familiar bricks we are familiar with today. After the first stage of development, it took another five years to perfect, and to find the material they had envisioned. Finally, on January 28th 1958, the system was patented
In 1969, the Duplo line was released, which was a bigger version of the original bricks designed for younger children.
The first of the famous Lego figures were created in 1978, which became an important part of most sets.
In 2011, 13 Lego kits were sent to the International Space Station. Here, astronauts built models to discover how they would react to low levels of gravity in space, as part of the Lego bricks in space programme.
The largest Lego model ever built is made from more than 5 million bricks. It is a life size model of the X-wing fighter plane.