The LEGO brand may be wildly popular, delivering countless hours of entertainment to the right creative minds; but that doesn't mean everything about the company and the bricks it manufactures is well known. Today, we are going to look at some of the most interesting facts about LEGO, their history, and their potential future.
A Suicide May Have Attributed to Lego’s Success
Though LEGO may have revolutionized the concept of interlocking bricks, it was not the first company to implement the idea. In 1940, Hilary “Harry” Fisher Page of Great Britain patented the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Building Brick, a small brick with striking similarities to what Kirk Kristiansen patented in 1958. One advantage that Kristiansen had over Page was longevity, as the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Building Brick died along with Page when he committed suicide in 1957. According to his daughter, Page never knew of the existence of LEGO.
LEGO Minifigs Will Outnumber the Human Population
First created in 1978, the LEGO Minifigure has not stopped production since, resulting in a population of over 4 billion miniature LEGO people in 2006. According to a graph produced by physics graduate in Virginia, if production of Minifigures is to continue at the current approximate rate of 142,857,142 figures a year and human population growth remains steady, by the year 2019, the LEGO Minifigure population will exceed the human population.
A Brail Machine Was Built Out Using a LEGO Set
One day in early 2014, 12-year-old Shubham Banerjee saw a flier requesting donations to aid the visually impaired. Rather than throw a few dollars from his allowance to the cause, Banerjee took a rather interesting step and pulled out a $350 LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 set. What resulted from the boy’s ambition was an ingenious creation, a functional Braille printer, which he dubbed Braigo. Even more amazing is that, rather than capitalizing on the idea, Banerjee drew up detailed instructions and put them online instead.
Largest LEGO tower is 114 feet tall
LEGO bricks are used to create all sorts of fun, from the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars to whatever pops into the right creative mind. The little bricks are also used to break records, as seen in a trend started in the 1980’s where ambitions creators seek to build the highest LEGO structure possible. The record was created and broken year after year with the latest structure, made in Budapest, stretching 114ft high. The project used over 450,000 LEGO, 50,000 less than the previous record holder, which stood almost 113 ft high.
LEGO is a Form of Art
His name is Nathan Sawaya, and if you don’t know him, you’re not that much of a LEGO fan. Sawaya is an artist, but he doesn’t use paint or clay to sculpt his masterpieces – he uses LEGO bricks. The unique art has been featured in collections at the New York Public Library, Time Warner Center, New Orleans Public Library, the American Swedish Museum, the Lancaster Museum of Art, and many, many more. Sawaya’s largest sculpture was a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton measuring 20 feet long. Another artist, Sean Kenney, utilizes LEGO to create sculptures for clients and corporations worldwide, including a six-foot long map of Iowa used in the Iowa State Fair.
There Was a Real LEGO House
Had you traveled down to Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, Surrey in 2009, you may have found yourself face-to-face with what may have been the coolest structure built out of LEGO. A real, fully functional house, constructed out of 3.2 million bricks, stood on the vineyard. It included a functional toilet, built out of LEGO, and was constructed by over 1,000 volunteers. Sadly, the home was dismantled when the winery it stood on decided it needed the land back to continue grape production.
LEGO Bricks Interlock Across Time
LEGO collectors can take solace in knowing that even some of the oldest LEGO bricks will be able to interlock with sets from today. In 1958, LEGO was awarded a patent for its interlocking brick design, and despite massive advancements in technology that could aid in altering the design, not a thing has changed about the LEGO functionality since the initial patent. So whether your set is 50 years old or five days old, they are going to be compatible with one another.
LEGO’s Fanbase Created Its Own Glossary
When something gets wildly popular, chances are that fanbase is going to create an entire universe for it, LEGO being no exception to this. Over time, LEGO fanatics created a glossary of acronyms and jargon. Terms like AFOL, which means Adult Fan of LEGO, and SNOT, short for Studs Not on Top, are used extensively in LEGO forums to describe anything from LEGO owners themselves or to unique creations and scenes.
LEGO’s First Minifigures Were Androgynous
Today, those loveable little figures that make up LEGO’s population, the Minifigures, come in a variety of genders and colors, but when the figure first released in 1978, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, the first set of Minifigures were adrogynous, were all yellow-faced, and did not feature moveable arms and legs. The lack of any identifying features was to allow children to use their imaginations and give the figures a personality. It wasn’t until 2003, for the release of an NBA LEGO set, that the square little folk were given color.
LEGO is an Abbreviation of Two Danish Words
In 1932, a man named Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded the popular brick building manufacturer, LEGO, and while the history of the company may pique some interest, it’s the name that raises the most eyebrows. LEGO is not a fancy anagram for anything, nor was it chosen to honor a person in Kristiansen’s life. LEGO is actually an abbreviation of the Danish words “leg godt”, which translates to “play well,” which is not too far off from LEGO’s slogan – “Play On.”