Sixty-two years ago today on January 28, 1958, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen submitted a patent application for a toy building brick which was approved six months later. That patent for his “highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system” has since led to LEGO becoming one of the largest toy companies on the globe.
The original Danish patent not only covered a single brick but an entire building system where multiple interlocking plastic building elements “could be put together in a great number of mutually different positions” including several early brick designs pictured below, courtesy of LEGO.
Along with Town, Castle, and Pirates, the theme of space exploration has always been one of the pillars of LEGO philosophy. It all started with 801 Space Rocket set released just three years after the first human spaceflight in 1961. Throughout the decades of play bizarre space sub-themes like Insectoids, Ice Planet 2002 and Spyrius have appeared. But it turns out kids (and adults, too!) are fascinated with the real spacecrafts just as much as sci-fi ones. The memorable LEGO Discovery line-up brought us models of the most amazing human-made space ships and commemorated the landmarks of space exploration, and LEGO’s first Lunar Lander was way back in 1976. Now celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, LEGO is taking us back to the moon with a very special LEGO Creator Expert 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander set. The set consists of 1,087 pieces, includes two minifigures of astronauts and retails at US $99.99 | CAN 139.99 | UK £84.99, and is currently available with a special promotion of a commemorative LEGO Apollo 11 patch.
Batman is turning 80 on March 30, so LEGO is launching six new DC Super Heroes sets to celebrate. The line-up of sets includes our heroes Batman, Robin and Batwoman using iconic vehicles such as the Batmobile, Batwing and Batcycle to defeat classic villains like The Joker, Harley Quinn, and The Riddler. In addition to the expected Batman characters, Shazam also comes in one set (most certainly a nod to the upcoming DC film).
The sets range in price from $9.99 to $99.99 USD with general availability starting later this summer on August 1st. One set including Mr. Freeze will be available at Walmart one month early starting on June 1st.
LEGO has revealed 75227 Darth Vader Bust, another set in their Star Wars 20th Anniversary lineup. The exclusive set contains 327 pieces and will retail for $39.99 US. The set will initially be available at Star Wars Celebrations, with limited general availability to Target REDcard members on April 11th.
(EDIT: Target did not make the bust available on the 11th and instead posted it early in the morning on the 12th. It appears to have sold out in less than 15 minutes. We have reached out to Target to see if any other batch will be made available but have not heard back. For those that missed it, instructions are available.)
A long time ago… twenty years to be exact, The LEGO Group teamed up with Lucasfilm Ltd. to begin production of sets based on the Star Wars universe. It was the first time LEGO had ever created products based on someone else’s story and characters, translating those fantastic tales into the LEGO world. That partnership has since spawned more than 500 sets, a hit video game franchise, television shows, and countless minifigures that have inspired multiple generations. LEGO Star Wars not only helped save the company from the brink of bankruptcy, but has become one of the top-selling global themes every year since.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of LEGO Star Wars, the company is launching five special sets featuring iconic ships with exclusive throwback minifigures in tribute of the storied history of the franchise. The sets will be available later this year (likely in April), and we will bring you exact release information when it becomes available.
50 years ago in 1969, LEGO unveiled DUPLO, its larger-sized bricks made for younger children which were twice the length, height and width of traditional LEGO elements but still compatible within the larger LEGO system. To this day, DUPLO has provided an early entry point to younger builders as well as creative detail (and filler brick) for older builders too.
What follows is a treasure trove of history sent to us by LEGO to celebrate DUPLO’s 50th birthday, including a press release and massive gallery of international patents, early DUPLO products, a look behind the scenes of DUPLO’s production and more. So sit back and enjoy the journey through the last 50 years of DUPLO, starting with this new video showing DUPLO’s rigorous quality testing, then read on.
Did you know that 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of the modern minifigure? In recognition of this very special birthday, the LEGO Group released its party-themed Series 18 minifigures a few months ago, including a remake of the 1978 policeman. The LEGO Group continues to celebrate, this time by reaching into their archives to share some historic images with our readers. Here at The Brothers Brick, we love minifigures and are excited to share the images and history behind the LEGO Group’s versatile and lovable characters.
A system is born, and so is a police officer:
In the post-World War II economy, the LEGO Group began shifting its priorities in toy manufacturing. While the foundation of LEGO rested on wooden toys, Ole Kirk Christiansen saw a future in plastics and purchased the company’s first plastic injection molding machine in 1947. It was with this equipment that the LEGO group first began producing its Automatic Binding Bricks in 1949. These hollow-bottomed bricks were the forerunner of the modern LEGO brick.
LEGO’s earliest sets were fairly basic construction toys, and characters were never packaged with the sets. This changed after Ole’s son, Godtfred, introduced the System of Play series in 1955. “System of Play” referred to the versatility of LEGO bricks to be used by themselves and with a child’s existing toys. LEGO advertised the toy as the perfect companion for dolls and HO (1:87) scale toy trains. LEGO created the Town Plan series, which is populated by brick-built buildings and prefabricated vehicles, to serve in part as an add-on for model railroading.
It was also during this time that LEGO introduced the great-great grandfather of the minifigure, a set of four tiny police officers. The figures were posed in four different positions, designed so they could direct traffic throughout the intersections of the Town Plan. Resembling HO-scale figures, they did not have moving limbs or recessed indentations for connecting to studs but were nevertheless LEGO’s first people manufactured for the System of Play.
For larger orders of $125 or more, the promotional set 40290 60 Years of the LEGO Brick is still available from the LEGO Shop, so this is a great opportunity to get both amazing sets if you haven’t already.
From wooden ducks to computer controlled creations and everything plastic in between, LEGO has come a long way since the early 1930s. To highlight the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick patent, the company has pulled together some of its most important milestones in the timeline below.
What was LEGO up to the decade you were born in? What year did flesh color faces make their debut? What were LEGO bricks originally called? When was LEGO named the toy of the century?
To celebrate the 60th birthday of its iconic 2×4 brick, LEGO created a red 10-foot tall brick and placed it in New York City right in front of the Flatiron Building. The larger-than-life brick weighs in at 1,200 pounds, is made up of more than 133,000 individual bricks, and took 350 hours to make.
Even more mind-blowing than seeing such a plastic monolith in a concrete jungle is that a LEGO brick from 1958 still interlocks with a LEGO brick made today. This is due to precision injection molding and the original idea of using tubes to create clutch power. Before the Kristiansens settled on the familiar tube underside, they considered several 0ptions for the original pattern of LEGO bricks.
We’ll have more on the LEGO brick’s 60th anniversary later today, but we wanted to celebrate across all time zones. So today, let’s build a set, sort some parts, or create something new and amazing. Play well, everyone.