The LEGO Company was founded in 1932, and this year LEGO is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Graham Hancock, editor of Blocks magazine, has been delving into the company’s history for the magazine’s own 90th edition. Graham is here today to give us a brief look at the LEGO company’s founding family and their involvement with the development of our favorite bricks.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen.
The 28th of January marks the birthday of LEGO — the day when various designs of the brick were submitted to the Patent and Trademark office, and celebrated today as International LEGO Day. The story of the LEGO brick has been told many a time, often glossed over and missing the exact point of discovery. It was only on July 8th, 2020 on Godtfred Kirk Christiansen’s birthday that we finally got some insight into how it all came together. An article was written by Mads Klougart Jakobsen, LEGO’s Manager, Internal Communications, which was only circulated internally for LEGO employees, but was eventually shared with the public LEGO fan community.
The most infamous battleship of all time is the German warship Bismarck, as seen here in a masterfully-built drydock. Builder Admiral_Plackbar held nothing back when constructing this floating colossus.
Named after the former German chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, this warship put terror into the hearts of Allied sailors on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War. First, put to sea by Germany in 1939, the Bismarck was one the largest battleships in the world and the largest fielded in the Atlantic. However, the Bismarck only lasted for two years. The ship was lost during a battle against Britain’s Royal Navy in 1941.
Crafted in LEGO by Admiral_Plackbar at 1:155 scale, the brick Bismarck can take on any LEGO pirate ship on the high seas. The detail seen here is incredibly accurate to the real warship, from the gun emplacements to the cranes ready to launch the lifeboats. You can tell that a lot of research went into making this.
And let’s not forget about the drydock! This too is very accurate for the 1930s-40s time era. I especially like the train cars, using a vintage European design of passenger coaches and steam engines. The drydock cranes are also to scale, enabling swift delivery of munitions from the railway to the warship. Everything has a functional purpose.
Admiral_Plackbar stated on Flickr that he is open using the drydock and Bismarck model as part of a larger modular display. I can’t wait to see if that happens!
Caleb Saw digs deep into LEGO lore with Johnny Thunder’s mansion which is filled with more treasure than you can believe. The complete scene is a roomy, comfortable construction filled with custom warm lighting and a literal treasure trove of LEGO mementos and easter eggs from the old Adventurers line and beyond.
LEGO Education is celebrating its 40th anniversary, and we are exploring the history of this unique division of the LEGO Group. Part 1 presented an early history of LEGO Education, while Part 2 outlined the development of the first LEGO robotics platforms. In our 3rd and final installment, we dive into the story behind the game-changing release of LEGO Mindstorms.
Year after year, the LEGO city keeps expanding with plenty of houses, modular buildings, vehicles and, of course, fire & police stations. All that development is bound to attract legions of minifigures — it’s only a matter of days before the plastic trash begins to pile up. To keep up with this issue, LEGO has released several garbage trucks over the years, but what happens when baseplate streets become filthy? You need a good street sweeper, but the last street sweeper to appear in LEGO City was carted around by a minifig 12 years ago. That’s a long time for discarded 1×1 plates to accumulate alongside the curb. The wait is over because LEGO is back to keep the brick-built highways clean with set 60249 Street Sweeper. The set consists of 89 pieces and is available now via the online LEGO shop for $9.99 USD | $13.99 CAD | £8.99 GBP
LEGO Education is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary! As a birthday gift, we are commemorating the occasion with a three-part history feature on this special division of the LEGO Group. Part 1 provided an overview of the history of LEGO education from the 1980s through 1990s, but we left out an important component of the story. Part 2 picks up where we left off, covering the beginnings of LEGO’s programmable robots in the classroom and at home. These were the precursors of LEGO Mindstorms!
LEGO bricks have long been considered an educational toy, but it wasn’t until 1980 when The LEGO Group formally established an educational division. Known today as LEGO Education, the division is celebrating 40 years of collaborating with and developing educational tools for teachers around the world, with products ranging from Duplo to Mindstorms. Here at The Brothers Brick, we are taking a closer look at LEGO Education with a series of articles, and what better way to observe a 40th anniversary than with a history of the subject?
To get everyone pumped up, LEGO created a special video highlighting some of the key points behind the history of LEGO Education. Think of the video as a preview of the history we are about to cover here. Get ready, because it’s time to dive deep into LEGO Education 101!
Last week, we showed you more of Beryll Roehl’s wonderful LEGO test brick photographs. Today, we’re going to look at Norwegian collector Fabian Lindblad and his equally enjoyable snapshots of marbled bricks. Marbled bricks are named such after the swirls of different colored plastic they contain. Some elements are intentionally marbled for sets, while others are the result of changing over the plastic in a mold from one color to another. In the past, LEGO employees occasionally took them home to share with their children. Today, the standard procedure is to recycle them so they don’t leave the building. However, if you are really lucky, you might just find a marbling error in one of your latest sets.
When it comes to LEGO, Beryll Roehl is both a collector and artist. LEGO test bricks are the focal point of her collection, and she takes this hobby to the next level by beautifully photographing pieces alongside objects with similar colors. LEGO’s test bricks were produced in a multitude of materials and colors for the purpose of research and development, and they have an exciting history. To learn more about these unique relics of LEGO’s past, be sure to read our informative interview with Beryll. Since then, Beryll has photographed even more bricks like these black BASF bricks with a little bumblebee. How cute!
LEGO hasn’t always been a manufacturer of plastic building blocks. From 1932 until 1960, LEGO manufactured wooden toys and, this year, they are celebrating this heritage with the release of LEGO Originals Wooden Minifigure 853967. As a casual collector of wooden LEGO toys, I find the LEGO Originals line intriguing because LEGO is embracing its roots in such a way that allows the public to participate. As excited as I am for the future of LEGO Originals, I thought it might fun to take a look at what I like to call the original “LEGO Originals.”
When it comes to collecting LEGO items, there are plenty of avenues to pursue. While vintage LEGO sets and gear are perhaps the most obvious choices, I prefer collecting LEGO ephemera. I have spent many hours scouting out old catalogs, brochures and instructions. Out of all the ephemera I have, period photographs of children enjoying LEGO sets are among my favorite pieces. Owning a retired set is enjoyable, but images from the past help contextualize LEGO products in a way a set alone cannot do. Photographs provide a window into the past when now-retired LEGO products were new, which is why I am sharing some of my favorite photographs with you!