Zoë Blade's notebook


Lego is a series of toy construction sets made by Danish company The Lego Group. Fundamentally, the company manufactures elements, then groups them together and sells them as sets.


Lego bricks were made possible by the introduction of mass produced plastic. They're certainly a better use of the material than disposable packaging.

Judging by the patents I managed to dig up, in the 1930s and 1940s Harry Page of lesser-known British company Kiddicraft had the idea of making plastic interlocking bricks with studs on top that fit together snugly.[1][2][3]

Ole Kirk Kristiansen and his son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen imported a British plastic injection moulding machine into Denmark for their own company, The Lego Group. The man who sold it to them, Mr. Printz, also gave them a sample of Page's toy bricks that he'd picked up from the British Industries Fair in London.[4][5][6]

In the 1940s and 1950s, the Christiansens refined the bricks' structure, straightening out their edges, converting them to metric, and adding hollow tubes inside them that reached down to the studs of the bricks beneath them.[7] This made for a more snug fit, more stable model, and more durable brick.

The Lego Group's other main innovations were making sets with instructions for building specific models, and then grouping multiple sets together into a cohesive town theme, known as Town Plan. These became popular enough to make sets the company's main focus, relegating imaginative freestyle building to a niche, and ditching their other toys altogether.

In 1978, Godtfred Christiansen's son Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen introduced multiple distinctive-looking themes (effectively supersets — sets of sets). Each was set, so to speak, in a different time period, and sported a distinctive colour scheme. Instead of Lego being a system of sets of parts, it was now a system of themes of sets of parts.

What had previously been the only theme, Town Plan, was now Legoland Town, representing the present with its grey roads, green foliage, and black, blue, yellow and red everything else. Evoking the future, Legoland Space was primarily blue and grey, with transparent yellow windows and red highlights. The past was represented by the medieval Legoland Castle, chiefly based around earth tones. All three themes were united as part of the overarching Legoland series.

He also introduced minifigures, the little people that populated these worlds, and in so doing, standardised their scales at roughly 1:44.

In the late 1980s, each theme started to get its own sub-themes. By the turn of the century, Lego even started licensing other companies' franchises into themes, chiefly from films and comics.

Lego Technic was introduced in 1977, but was less a theme and more its own entirely separate — albeit still compatible — thing. It wasn't part of Legoland, and wasn't minifig scale. It was less of a series of related sets of imagination-based models, and more a series of unrelated sets of working models.


The Lego Group makes a separator which is essentially a lever that snugly fits on top of any studded part and lets you easily tilt it off. You'll want one of these.


  1. "Improvements in Toy Building Blocks" Harry Fisher Page, UK Patents, 1939
  2. "Improvements in Toy Building Blocks" Harry Fisher Page, UK Patents, 1944
  3. "Improvements Relating to Constructional Toys" Harry Fisher Page, UK Patents, 1939
  4. "A Mr. Printz, the managing director of Hoffmann & Co., and the person who sold Ole Kirk the Windsor machine, came to visit Billund. He'd just returned from England, bringing with him a box filled with small, bricklike plastic blocks in various colours, which he'd seen at the British Industries Fair in London. Perhaps, he suggested, Lego could make something similar once the Windsor moulding machine arrived in Denmark and was set up in Billund. Ole Kirk was spellbound by the English bricks, which were hollow and featured studs on the top." The Lego Story Jens Andersen, 2021, ISBN 978-0-06-325802-0, p. 79
  5. "The origin of Lego's very first plastic bricks isn't in dispute. Godtfred explained on several occasions that they were inspired by the English firm Kiddicraft, founded by Hilary Fisher Page in the 1930s." The Lego Story Jens Andersen, 2021, ISBN 978-0-06-325802-0, p. 83
  6. "The case was also heard in Hong Kong in 1986, and that was the first time Godtfred told the detailed story of Lego's development of Hilary F. Page's 'Self-Locking Building Bricks' under oath, admitting that they'd copied the English bricks 'very carefully,' as was noted in the court transcript. It was a difficult moment for Godtfred. While in strictly legal terms he'd never acted illegally in relation to Page and Kiddicraft, he'd nonetheless always felt twinges of guilt." The Lego Story Jens Andersen, 2021, ISBN 978-0-06-325802-0, pp. 241—242
  7. "Toy Building Brick" Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, US Patents, 1958




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