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Discover what made the future: Lego

Lego bricks from 1958 can still interlock with blocks created today. This genius in design has given Lego the ‘World’s Most Powerful Brand’ title on more than one occasion.

Lego is a line of plastic toys designed and manufactured by The Lego Group, based in Denmark. Ole Kirk Christiansen, the founder of The Lego Group, was first a carpenter that made wooden toys before inventing Lego – derived from a Danish phrase meaning ‘play well’. The transition from wood to plastic came about in 1947. These interlocking blocks can be assembled and dissembled into endless combinations to build almost anything you wish, 6 bricks of 2 x 4 studs have over 900 million variations.

Plastic will never be able to replace wooden toys… or so a Danish magazine called ’Toy-Times’(translation) thought. In 1951, shortly after the article, plastic toys accounted for half of the company’s output and in 2015 600 billion Lego parts had been manufactured. After Christiansen passed away his son took the reins. He was a part of patenting the modern Lego design made from the ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer.

The pieces are precisely manufactured with only 18 in every million pieces not meeting the correct standard. The plastic is heated to 232 °C and poured into a mould that reaches a pressure of up to 150 tonnes. Each piece is allowed a tolerance of up to 10 micrometres, or 0.001mm, or thinner than a human hair.

Lego figurines made their first appearance in 1978 which has since led to movies, video games, theme parks and even city replicas being made using Lego. The largest model created is a 1:1 scale model of a Star Wars X-wing fighter using more than 5 million bricks.

In 1998 Lego was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame.

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