Editing LEGO (section) From Brickipedia, the LEGO Wiki PageDiscussionEditHistory More... What links here Related changes Special pages Page information Warning: You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to your username, along with other benefits. This page supports semantic in-text annotations (e.g. "[[Is specified as::World Heritage Site]]") to build structured and queryable content provided by Semantic MediaWiki. For a comprehensive description on how to use annotations or the #ask parser function, please have a look at the getting started, in-text annotation, or inline queries help page.Anti-spam check. Do not fill this in! == History == [[File:LEGO logos.jpg|thumb]] [[The LEGO Group]] had humble beginnings, starting in the workshop of [[Ole Kirk Christiansen]], a carpenter from [[Billund]], Denmark. The word LEGO is a contraction of two Danish words ''leg'' and ''godt'' meaning ''play well''. In [], Christiansen purchased a woodworking shop in Billund which had been in business since []. He earned his living by constructing houses and furniture for farmers in the region, with the help of a small staff of apprentices. His workshop burned down in [] when a fire, lit by two of his young sons, ignited some wood shavings. Undaunted, Ole Kirk took the disaster as an opportunity to construct a larger workshop, and worked towards expanding his business even further; however, the Great Depression would soon have an impact on his livelihood. In finding ways to minimize production costs, Ole Kirk began producing miniature versions of his products as design aids. It was these miniature stepladders and ironing boards that inspired him to begin producing toys. (Note: According to a LEGO employee in Denmark, Ole Kirk's move to toy production was actually inspired by the government, rather than self-motivated. Various literature appears to be to the contrary, implying that Ole Kirk actively decided to move on to toy manufacture. However, more personal recollections and retellings suggest that when Ole Kirk's carpentry shop was going out of business in [], his local social worker suggested or otherwise encouraged him to make toys.) [[File:Early LEGO toys.png|thumb|Four early LEGO wood toys with a later LEGO brick.]] In 1932, Ole Kirk's shop started making [[wooden toys|wooden pull toys]], piggy banks, cars and trucks. He enjoyed a modest amount of success, but families were poor and often unable to afford such toys. Farmers in the area sometimes traded food in exchange for his toys; Ole Kirk found he had to continue producing practical furniture in addition to toys in order to stay in business. In the mid-1930s, the yo-yo toy fad gave him a brief period of activity, until it suddenly collapsed. Once again, Ole Kirk turned disadvantage to his favor, turning the disused yo-yo parts into wheels for a toy truck. His son, [[Godtfred Kirk Christiansen]], began working for him, taking an active role in the company. It was in [] that the company name LEGO was coined. Ole Kirk held a contest among his staff to see who could come up with the best name for the company, offering a bottle of homemade wine as a prize. Christiansen was considering two names himself, "Legio" (with the implication of a "Legion of toys") and "LEGO", a self-made contraction from the Danish phrase leg godt, meaning "play well." Later the LEGO Group discovered that "LEGO" can be loosely interpreted as "I put together" or "I assemble" in Latin. When plastic came into widespread use, Ole Kirk kept with the times and began producing plastic toys. One of the first modular toys to be produced was a truck that could be taken apart and re-assembled. In [], Ole Kirk and Godtfred obtained samples of interlocking plastic bricks produced by the company Kiddicraft. These "Kiddicraft Self-Locking Building Bricks" were designed and patented by [[Hilary Fisher Page|Mr. Hilary Harry Fisher Page]], a British citizen. In [] the LEGO Group began producing similar bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks." LEGO [[brick]]s, manufactured from cellulose acetate, were developed in the spirit of traditional wooden blocks that could be stacked upon one another; however, these plastic bricks could be "locked" together. They had several round "studs" on top, and a hollow rectangular bottom. They would stick together, but not so tightly that they could not be pulled apart. In [], the bricks were given a new name: LEGO Mursten, or "LEGO Bricks." The use of plastic for toy manufacture was not highly regarded by retailers and consumers of the time. Many of the LEGO Group's shipments were returned, following poor sales; it was thought that plastic toys could never replace wooden ones. Despite such criticism, however, the Kirk Christiansens persevered. By [], Godtfred had become the junior managing director of the LEGO Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that struck the idea of a toy "system." Godtfred saw the immense potential in LEGO bricks to become a system for creative play, but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their "locking" ability was limited, and they were not very versatile. It was not until [] that the modern-day brick design was developed. The bricks were improved with hollow tubes in the underside of the brick. This added support in the base, enabling much better locking ability and improved versatility. That same year, Ole Kirk Christiansen died, and Godtfred inherited leadership of the company. === Growth === The LEGO Group matured a great deal over the next up and coming years. In [], the Futura division was founded within the company. Its tiny staff was responsible for generating ideas for new sets. Another warehouse fire struck the LEGO Group in [], consuming most of the company's inventory of wooden toys; fortunately for the company, the LEGO brick line was strong enough by then that the company decided to abandon production of wooden toys. By the end of the year, the staff of the LEGO Group had come to be over 450 total people. [] and [] saw the introduction of the first LEGO wheels, an addition that expanded the potential for building cars, trucks, buses and other vehicles from LEGO bricks. Also during this time, the LEGO Group introduced toys specifically targeted towards the pre-school market, and made an arrangement allowing [[Samsonite]] to begin producing and selling LEGO products in Canada, an arrangement that would continue until []. There were more than 50 [[set]]s of bricks in the LEGO System of Play by this time. In [], the material used to create LEGO bricks, cellulose acetate, was dropped in favor of more stable acrylonitrile butadiene styrene ([[ABS]] plastic), which is still used today. ABS is non-toxic, is less prone to discoloration and warping, and is also more resistant to heat, acids, salt, and other chemicals than cellulose acetate. LEGO bricks manufactured from ABS plastic in 1963 still hold most of their shape and colour 50 years later, and still neatly interlock with the most recently manufactured LEGO bricks. [] was the first time that instruction manuals were included in LEGO sets. One of the LEGO Group's most successful series, the LEGO [[Trains|train system]], was first released in []. The original train sets included a [[4.5V|4.5-volt]] motor and rails; two years later, a [[12V|12-volt]] motor was introduced. On [[June 7]], [], the first [[LEGOLAND Parks|LEGOLAND park]] was opened in [[LEGOLAND Billund|Billund]]. This theme park featured elaborate models of miniature towns built entirely from LEGO bricks. The three acre (12,000 m²) park attracted 625,000 visitors in its first year alone. During the next 20 years, the park grew to more than eight times its original size, and eventually averaged close to a million paying visitors per year. More than eighteen million LEGO sets were sold in []. In [], the [[DUPLO]] system went on sale. This was a newly developed system, targeted towards younger children; DUPLO bricks are much larger than LEGO bricks, making them safer for very young children, but the two systems are compatible: LEGO bricks can be fitted neatly onto DUPLO bricks, making the transition to the LEGO system easily made as children outgrow their DUPLO bricks. The prefix "du" in DUPLO refers to the number 2, of which, a duplo brick is exactly twice the dimension of a LEGO building brick (2x height by 2x width by 2x depth = 8x the volume of a brick) The 1960s were such a period of growth for the LEGO Group that by [], one of the biggest questions they faced was how best to manage and control its expanding market. === Expansion === By 1970, the LEGO Group had a staff of more than 900. The coming decades marked considerable expansion into new frontiers of toy making and marketing. LEGO began to target the female market with the introduction of furniture pieces and dollhouses in []. The LEGO universe expanded its transportation possibilities with the addition of boat and ship sets, with hull pieces that actually floated, in []. During this same period, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen's son, [[Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen]], joined the managerial staff of the company, after earning business degrees in Switzerland and Denmark. One of Kjeld's first achievements with the company was the foundation of manufacturing facilities, as well as a research and development department that would be responsible for keeping the company's manufacturing methods up to date. Human figures with posable arms made an appearance in [] in "LEGO family" sets, which went on to become the biggest sellers at the time; in the same year, an early version of the "mini figure" miniature LEGO person was introduced, but it was not posable and had no face printed on its head. A LEGO production plant was opened in Enfield, Connecticut in the United States. "Expert Series" sets were first introduced in [], geared towards older, more experienced LEGO builders. This line soon developed into the "Expert Builder" sets, released in []. These technical sets featured moving parts such as gears, differentials, cogs, levers, axles and universal joints, and permitted the construction of realistic models such as automobiles, with functional rack and pinion steering and lifelike engine movements. Finally, the LEGO world came together in [] with the addition of the LEGO "[[minifigure]]". These small LEGO people have posable arms and legs, and a friendly smile. The figure was used in many varieties of LEGO sets, allowing consumers to construct elaborate towns with buildings, roads, vehicles, trains, and boats, at the same scale, and populated with the smiling minifigure LEGO citizens. Another significant expansion to the LEGO line occurred in [], with the creation of LEGO [[Space]] sets. [[Astronaut]] minifigures, rockets, lunar rovers and spaceships populated this successful series. The [[Scala]] series debuted in this year as well, featuring jewelry elements marketed towards young girls. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen became the president of LEGO in this year; another decade concluded with LEGO toys still going strong. LEGO bricks had always had a constructive potential that was seen by some educators as being an invaluable asset in helping children to develop creativity and problem-solving abilities. Since the 1960s, teachers had been using LEGO bricks in the classroom for a variety of reasons. In [], the LEGO Group established the Educational Products Department (eventually renamed LEGO [[Dacta]], in []), specifically to expand the educational possibilities of their toys. A packing and assembly factory opened in Switzerland, followed by another in Jutland, Denmark that manufactured LEGO tires. The second generation of LEGO trains appeared in []. As before these were available in either 4.5 V (battery powered) or 12 V (mains powered), but a much wider variety of accessories were available, including working lights, remote-controlled points and signals, and decouplers. The "Expert Builder" series matured in [], becoming the "[[Technic]]" series. [[August 13]] of that year marked the LEGO Group's 50th anniversary; the book 50 Years of Play was published to commemorate the occasion. In the following year, the DUPLO system was expanded to include sets for even younger audiences, particularly infants; new sets included baby rattles and figures with adjustable limbs. The year after, LEGO minifigure citizens gained a realm of knights and horses, with the introduction of the first [[Castle]] sets. [[Light & Sound]] sets made their appearance in []; these sets included a battery pack with electrical lights, buzzers, and other accessories to add another dimension of realism to LEGO creations. Also that year, the LEGO Group's educational division produced the Technic Computer Control, which was an educational system whereby Technic robots, trucks, and other motorized models could be controlled with a computer. Manaus, Brazil gained a LEGO factory in this year, as well. In [], the Technic line was expanded with the addition of pneumatic components. In [[August]] [], 38 children from 17 different countries took part in the first LEGO World Cup building contest, held in Billund. That same year, LEGO Canada was established. The LEGO line grew again in 1989 with the release of the LEGO Pirates series, which featured a variety of pirate ships, desert islands and treasure; the series was also the first to depart from the standard minifigure smiling face to create an array of piratical characters. The LEGO Group's Educational Products Department was renamed LEGO Dakta in this year; the name is derived from the Greek word "didactic", which roughly means "the study of the learning process." MIT's Dr. Seymour Papert, from the Laboratory of Computer Learning, was named "LEGO Professor of Learning Research," after his ongoing work in linking the Logo programming language with LEGO products. A new series designed for advanced builders was released in []. Three [[Model Team]] sets, including a race car and an off-road vehicle, featured a level of detail and realism not previously seen in any LEGO series. Where Technic was mechanically accurate, Model Team was visually and stylistically accurate. The LEGO Group became one of the top 10 toy companies in this year; it was the only toy company in Europe to be among the top 10. LEGOLAND Billund had more than one million visitors in this year, for the first time in its history. The first-ever "LEGO Professor of Business Dynamics," Xavier Gilbert, was appointed to an endowed chair at the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. LEGOLAND Malaysia was also established in 1990. In [], the LEGO Group standardized its electrical components and systems; the Trains and Technic motors were made 9V to bring the systems into line with the rest of the LEGO range. Two Guinness records were set in [] using LEGO products: A castle made from 400,000 LEGO bricks, and measuring 4.45 meters by 5.22 meters, was built on Swedish television, and a LEGO railway line 545 meters in length, with three locomotives, was constructed. DUPLO was augmented with the addition of the Toolo line featuring a screwdriver, wrench, nuts and bolts; the [[Paradisa]] line, targeted towards girls, brought a variety of new pastel colors into the LEGO system and focused around horses and a beach theme. [] brought a DUPLO train and a parrot-shaped "brickvac" that could scoop LEGO. Early [[prototypes]] of the LEGO minifigure had a variety of skin colors and facial expressions, but production designs used only a yellow skin color and standard smiling face. LEGO [[Pirates]] in [] expanded the array of facial expressions by adding beards and eye patches. Soon the other themes caught on, ranging from sun glasses, lipstick, eye lashes, and so on. However, many of the older collectors resented the new look, saying they looked too "cartoon-ish" or "kiddy", and preferred the simplistic nature of the two eyes and smile. Nevertheless, from [] [[Licensed themes|licensed series]] such as LEGO [[Star Wars]] and LEGO [[Harry Potter]] gave minifigures the personas of specific characters from their cinematic counterparts, but it was not until [], with the introduction of LEGO [[Basketball]], that the palette of skin tones broadened to include more lifelike colors. In the late 1990s, the LEGO Group brought out a series of new and specialized ranges aimed at particular demographics. The [[BIONICLE]] range uses Technic pieces and specialist moldings to create a set of action figures for boys, while [[Belville]] is a more conventional line aimed at girls and featuring large posable figures like those in the Technic range. A "LEGO [[4 Juniors]]" group features 2-inch (51 mm) tall medium-sized figures ("medi-figure") without jointed arms, and longer legs than the classic LEGO minifigure. In 2003, the LEGO Group introduced a completely new system, [[Clikits]], aimed at girls and consisting of customizable plastic jewelry and accessories. In 2004, LEGO added the [[QUATRO]] brick, for ages 1–3. Much like DUPLO and the "du" prefix, a Quatro brick is 4 times the dimension of a regular LEGO brick, and is compatible with the DUPLO brick. Also that year, they created the second line of [[Knights Kingdom]] themed product. The late 1990s also saw the first products featuring licensed characters. In 1999, Star Wars LEGO and [[Winnie the Pooh]] DUPLO were released. These were followed by characters from [[Harry Potter (Minifigure)|Harry Potter]] to [[Steven Spielberg]]. Before this, LEGO characters were always designed in-house, and lacked the strong characterization of these licensed characters. A number of in-house characters after this point were strongly characterized with media utilization and non-LEGO System merchandising in mind, most notably BIONICLE. BIONICLE was one of LEGO's most popular generic series. It was also an entirely new kind of theme for LEGO; it had an in-depth, generic story, with books, action-figure style beings, and an entirely new host of worlds. Over the years, BIONICLE changed and grew, and eventually was discontinued, being replaced by [[Hero Factory]], a type of theme which, although not having the massive storyline the BIONICLE did, retained the action-figure style. In [], the LEGO company was losing lots of money. After trying a few things, they did several things which led to better finances: changed CEOs, sold the LEGOLAND theme parks to Merlin Entertainment, and discontinued many themes. Summary: Please note that all contributions to Brickipedia are considered to be released under the a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then do not submit it here. You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource. Do not submit copyrighted work without permission! Cancel | Editing help (opens in new window) This page is a member of 2 hidden categories: Category:Articles with a contested rating Category:Pages using duplicate arguments in template calls Retrieved from "http://en.brickimedia.org/wiki/LEGO"