Zoë Blade's notebook


Lego is a series of toy construction sets made by Danish company The Lego Group. Fundamentally, the company manufactures parts, 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 machine came with a free sample of Page's toy bricks.

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.[4] This made for a more snug fit, more stable model, and more durable brick.

The Lego Group's other main innovation was grouping multiple sets together into a cohesive town theme, known as Town Plan. These sets became popular enough to make construction sets the company's sole focus.

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.[5]

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 minifigure-scale. It was less of a series of related sets of imagination-based models, and more a series of unrelated sets of working models.


Really Useful Boxes are well suited for storing Lego. The 4 and 9 litre boxes in particular can store parts up to 27×42 studs, and also have divider trays available. The hobby tray has fifteen 8×8 stud compartments, while the office tray has four 10×10, two 5×21, one 10×21, and one 5×42 compartment. A 4 litre box can fit two hobby trays, or one office tray with some room beneath for, say, some instructions. A 9 litre box can fit four hobby trays.

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. "Toy Building Brick" Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, US Patents, 1958
  5. "...1:44 scale. In general, anything between 1:30 and 1:48 is considered classic minifig scale." The Cult of Lego John Baichtal, Joe Meno, 2011, ISBN 1-59327-391-6, p. 82

Deep dives




Lego: Lego Technic | Lego brick dimensions | Lego minifigure | Legoland | Microscale