Sunday, September 24, 2006

Lego for Children of All Ages

Lego is a line of toys manufactured by Lego Group, a privately owned company in Denmark. Its main product, also called Lego, consists of muli-colored interlocking plastic bricks and assortment of gears, minifigures which are also called minifigs or ( Lego People), and other pieces which can be put together in endless combinations. Accessories available for purchase, include buildings, cars, castles, planes, ships, trains, spaceships, sculptures, and working robots. Lego bricks are famous for their accuracy and quality of manufacture, resulting in a low cost yet consistently high-quality product.
In 1932, Lego was created by Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, where he made toys of wood. He and his son, Godtfred, in 1947 acquired samples of interlocking plastic bricks from the company Kiddicraft. Theses bricks were designed and patented in the UK by Hilary Harry Fisher Page. Lego began producing similar bricks called (Automatic Binding Bricks). The first Lego bricks, produced from cellulose acetate, were to be used like the wooden blocks that could be stacked upon one another. The plastic bricks could be locked together, but not so tightly that they could not be pulled apart.

The Lego name came from the Danish phrase leg godt , which means "play well".
The use of plastic for toy manufacture was not easily excepted by retailers and consumers. It was thought that plastic toys could never replace wooden ones. In 1954, Godtfred's conversation with an overseas buyer brought about the idea of a toy concept. He envisioned the potential for the Lego brick to be a big hit with children of all ages. The brick still had some problems, the locking ability was limited, and they were not very adaptable. In 1958 the modern-day brick design was developed and five years later the correct material was found. Lego bricks from 1963 will interlock with those made in 2006 and the young children Lego sets are compatible with the sets made for teenagers.

Lego elements are produced within a tolerance of two-thousandths of a millimeter (0.002mm). When snapped together the bricks, axles, beams, minifigures and all other parts must have the right amount of (clutch power), they must stay together until pulled apart, and they cannot be pulled apart to easy, or the construction of any structure would be unstable. The disassembly of one structure to build another cannot be to difficult to pull apart as it is part of the Lego appeal.

Production of Lego bricks occurs at many locations around the world. Brick packaging and decorations is performed at plants in United States, Denmark, South Korea, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. Molding is done at plants in Switzerland and Denmark. Lego bricks average about 20 billion per year,or approximately 600 pieces per second.

Lego Group has produced thousands of play sets themed around, dinosaurs, pirates, cities, holiday locations, robots, medieval, vikings, suburbia, wild west , boats, space, trains, racing-cars, the Arctic, Harry Potter, Batman, Avatat, SpongeBob Square Pants, Spider-Man, Star Wars, and more. Recently, the Lego line has expanded and added motors, lights, sensors, gears, and cameras designed to be used with Lego components. There are special bricks, like the Lego RCX that can be programmed with a computer to perform very intricate and useful jobs. These bricks or sold under the name Lego Mindstorms.

The Lego Group operates numerous Legoland amusement parks in California and Europe. There are also several Lego Brand retail stores, including at Downtown Disney is both the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts and in the Mall of American in Bloomington, Minnesota. There are 25 LEGO Brand Retail stores in the USA, a number of stores in Europe, and a franchised LEGO store in Abu Dhabi.

Lego bricks today are not just for child's play.
The Lego group itself has developed a form of business encouraging creative thinking, called Lego Serious Play, where members build metaphors of their experiences using Lego bricks, and work through hypothetical scenarios using the Lego visual device of the constructions.

A devoted following of people who have used Lego pieces to make sculptures, extremely large mosaics and complicated machines has developed. Some sculptures weigh thousands of pounds and use hundreds of thousands of pieces. Some of the mosaics are fully functional, an ink jet printer built by Google co-founder Larry Page while at the University of Michigan, also, padlocks, a pendulum clock, and a harpsichord, have all been constructed from Lego pieces. One outstanding masterpiece solves a Rubik's Cube through the use of Lego cameras, motors, a task that innumerable humans cannot achieve. Many photos of fan creations can be seen at ( and (

Lego bricks have been used in several unimaginable ways. One spectacular example, is at The Brick Testament, Reverend Brendan Smith has built the Bible in Lego pieces. Over 2,000 photographs of Biblical scenes highlight the site. A set of software applications called LDraw or LEGO Digital Designer ( can be used to model imaginable Lego creations in 3D. Because of the unusual quality of similarity in Lego bricks, they have been used in areas such as computer vision, where exact dimensions and positions of objects is effective for devising test data. Another unique use of Lego bricks is the bring together of bricks and electronic components to make a Lego Electronic Lab Kit (

Cooperative building is a growing effort for AFOLs, the goal being to build huge displays for Lego shows and fan meets. The Great Ball Contraption , is an example of cooperative building, in which participant are ask to build a machine of painstaking precise measurements that is handed a Lego soccer ball every second or so. It's job is to take the ball do something fascinating with it then pass it on to another machine. A long chain of these machines or connected together, a huge Rube Goldberg system can be put together that process soccer balls from one end of the machines to the other, each ball having passed through the chain of machines. Other examples can be found at these sites.

( Other examples are Moonbase

(, medieval castles

( and train layouts (

One pursuit among fans is to make short movies creating favorite scenes from popular movies, using Lego bricks for the scenery and Lego play sets as characters. These movies are called brickfilms, Lego movies ,or cinema Lego. One example , is the Monty Python and The Holy Grail special edition DVD contained a interpretation of the Camelot musical completed with Lego minifigures and accessories.

Another example of creations using Lego sets is from the Polish artist ZbigniewLibers's Lego Concentration camp (

An entire Modern Art collection in a Lego Gallery was shown at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool,Uk, created by The Little Artists (

A few fact on Lego's

In Gothenburg there is a building called The Lego House because it looks like a big Lego.

Six eight-stud Lego bricks of the same color can be put together in 915,103,765 ways, and just three bricks of the same color offer 1,560 combinations.

The word Lego comes from Danish leg godt which translates "I put together, play well,I assemble"


*Brickshelf ( Website of Lego picture creations

*LUGNET ( group network for LEGO users.

*EUROBRICKS( LEGO fan site discussion

*LEGOFan ( LEGO web site run by fans, for fans

*MOC pages ( Lego creations display and rates

*Wiki-brick-links( Open directory of links to Lego sites

*Brick Links ( Bricks of distinction
Australia, old and new bricks discounted

Written by Michael Toney

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