The LEGO Brick Turns 50

LEGO turns 50 today by the company's own reckoning, as it's the anniversary of the patent approval for the famous little pegged bricks. They sent out some celebratory information, including this timeline of major advances in LEGO technology over the years. I'm proud to share my birth year with the minifig. We're both turning thirty this year. A PDF version (which actually lets you read the text) is linked below. LEGO Timeline [pdf] [BBG]
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8 Responses to The LEGO Brick Turns 50

  1. edgore says:

    Aha! That explains the Google graphic today – there is no link from it yet this morning.

  2. Vanwall says:

    When I was a kid, they had small, curved clear pieces that were the very devil to separate once attached – sometimes we gave up and treated them as a single unit when building, especially if we ran out of those little window pane blocks, and we loved the little grey colored tires on the wheels with half-axles, that plugged into the sides of special blocks. I still have some of the license-made Almost-Lego blocks that Samsonite gave away with sets of luggage – they were hollow styrene moldings, not solids. Out of all the years and sets, I only came across one deformed Lego, a singleton that wasn’t fully injected – I keep it around just for the helluvit.

  3. Hanglyman says:

    I’d say the 80’s were the golden age of LEGO. After they came out with minifigs and space/castle/pirate themed sets, but before they started making licensed products and sets with pieces that are so specialized that they almost can’t be used for anything but that specific set.

    That won’t stop me from buying some Indiana Jones sets when they come out, though, so maybe I’m a bit of a hypocrite.

  4. Tyler says:

    For some reason I have in a box of old family pictures, the directions to a lego like block called an “Elgo” that would probably pre-date the Lego brick. My father would be 67, and this is probably from when he was a kid. I’ll post it on my flickr site if there is interest in this possible product knock off by Lego.

  5. gatewaygagdet says:

    I have always loved lego blocks, but even though I thought they were fun to play with, they were always frustrating because I could never build anything like what you would see in pictures. An old toy, but lego’s would still make great gift gadgets.

  6. stinglessbee says:

    The animal head ones were/are Fabuland. They absolutely rock.

  7. License Farm says:

    That also explains Joel’s uncomfortable fetish for minifigs: they were switched at birth.

    Joel, your fixation may be able to answer this without my needing to Google it: what was the Lego brand that was intended as a half-step between Duplo and regular Lego, maybe angling on some of Playmobil’s market, that featured minifig-type characters with big animal heads? I think I may still have some of those someplace.

    • Joel Johnson says:

      Well, before the minifigs there were other figures. There were some that used bricks as bodies. There were also series like Scala that had dolls. Then there was a scale of figures that you would see occasionally in Technics and such that were posable, but I don’t know what the names of those are. I don’t actually remember any animal head ones, though!

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