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.
Click to read the full history of the LEGO Minifigure
Starting today, LEGO IDEAS 21313 Ship in a Bottle is available at your local LEGO Store and the LEGO Shop online for $69.99. We predict this set will be a popular one, so we are hoping LEGO has the appropriate amount in stock to handle demand.
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?
Click to get a closer look at the LEGO timeline
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.
Click to take a closer look at the massive brick in NYC
Sixty years ago today on January 28, 1958, at 1:58pm, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen submitted a patent application for a toy building brick which was approved six months later. Little did Godtfred know that his “highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system” would lead to LEGO becoming one of the largest toy companies on the globe.
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.
Want to know more about the history of LEGO? Check out our LEGO History timeline!
LEGO is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its iconic 2×4 brick this year, and to mark the occasion the company is getting back to the brick by releasing a number of Classic-themed play boxes. These boxes typically include bricks in varying shapes and colors with only a few examples or instructions to allow for building and rebuilding, letting the imagination run wild.
In addition to these five already-available Classic sets, three previously unknown sets celebrating the anniversary have now been revealed, as well as one set that will be getting some new packaging. 10715 Classic Bricks on a Roll will receive a limited edition vintage-style box along with a booklet illustrating the history of LEGO.
Click to see the other limited edition anniversary sets
Celebrating the upcoming 60th anniversary of LEGO in 2018, Billund has released a unique throwback set representing four iconic themes. The set will have 421 pieces (40290) with a value of $25, and will be a gift-with-purchase offer to customers who purchase a minimum of $125 in LEGO stores or the LEGO Shop Online between January 28 and February 14.
20 years ago today, in 1997, Huw Millington created his first LEGO set guide online, laying the foundation for what would become Brickset’s database. The database is arguably the most complete, thorough data archive on all things LEGO available online today, and has certainly come a long way.
Initially just an online copy of a LEGO catalog, the database has grown and evolved to include sets, prices, pieces, colors, photos and more. Brickset posted a look back at various versions of the database over time, which is worth a read and a good chuckle, if you remember what old HTML web pages used to look like (shudder). If you want to know more about Brickset’s past, check out this article Huw wrote in 2014: Brickset through the ages.
TBB has a great relationship with Brickset, and we’re honored to have Huw and his assistants as part of the LEGO community. So how does one properly express gratitude to such an amazing site? Through poetry, of course, and by borrowing heavily from fellow brit and poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous sonnet:
How do I love thee, Brickset database? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of a 2×4 brick.
My searches can reach, and find that part that clicks
For the means of winning the set collection race.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and moonlight.
I love thee freely, as I look up a set price.
I love thee purely, your color chart I praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs without thee, and with my dark age.
I love thee with a love never to lose
With my lost parts. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my AFOL life; an idea of Huw’s,
I shall but love thee database until death.
This year, the LEGO Technic theme celebrates a remarkable date — 40 years since the first Technic sets hit the store shelves in 1977. To mark that occasion, LEGO prepared a couple of surprises for the theme’s fans: a commemorative 1×3 white Technic beam with “40 1977-2017” print included in every set released in 2017, plus something truly touching — a remake of the legendary 8860 Car Chassis set from 1980.
After the instruction booklet became available online earlier this week, every LEGO fan can build his or her own modern copy of the iconic set using pieces from three 2017 Technic sets — 42057 Ultralight Helicopter, 42061 Telehandler and 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure. The total price of these sets is about $120 USD/95€ for which you will get 4 vehicles at once. At the same time, those with a vast collection of Technic pieces will be able to build their own copy of the classic chassis without getting any new sets, although it would be quite a challenge to get all the pieces in correct colors. The chassis consist of 572 pieces, which sets the model right behind the 42063 BMW R 1200 GS Adventure in this year’s line-up with a price tag of approximately $50 USD/45€.
Read the full review of this unique LEGO Technic set
Magma Guy has posted a really lovely chess set in honor of our 9th birthday! Built in Brothers Brick colors, the set really pops. I am a big fan of brick-built chess sets and the quality of this one is top-shelf. I especially like how the designs of the two sides are quite different but maintain a similar style. The board itself is simple yet elegant. The use of brown as a highlight really ties the green and white together as well. I would love to play a game or two, Magma Guy!