Lego is one of the biggest franchises in the world. It is loved by many and is regarded as the best toy ever made. Its charm lies within the complexity behind the simplicity. Few games are as transformative in nature as legos are.
Ole Kirk Christiansen started making toys in 1932. His company was named lego in 1934 after the Danish phrase for “play nice”. At first, the company focused on making wooden products, such as Legos’ predecessor “Automatic Binding Bricks”. In 1947 they expanded into making plastic toys.
The Lego bricks started being manufactured in 1949 after Kiddicraft’s patent on Self-Locking bricks expired and Lego received a sample. With the help of an injection machine, they made the first Lego bricks from cellulose acetate. By that time everybody shared the sentiment that traditional wooden toys couldn’t be replaced by plastic, but lego proved them wrong. By 1951 more than a half of Lego’s company output, to the dismay of other companies at the time. The Lego bricks were an exception to the plastic hating mindset due to the high standards set by Ole Kirk.
In 1954 Christiansen’s son, Godtfred saw the potential of Lego bricks as the ultimate creative building system, but the bricks were lacking from a technical standpoint. They were not as flexible as Godtfred envisioned. Luckily by the time 1958 rolled around Lego came up with a new design after only five years of searching for the perfect material in the form of ABS polymer. In 1969 the first Duplo legos were released. They were aimed towards smaller children design wise. In 1978 they made their first minifigures. The key to Lego’s success is the wide range of uses for the products and the wide representation in media and events, such as the 1:1 scale x-wing made in New York City which got a lot of attention.
You would expect that a brand which has been running the same idea for 50 years would have burned out by now, but that is far from the case. In 2015. Lego was proclaimed as “world’s most powerful brand” by Brand Finance. As of July 2015, they have produced and sold 600 billion Lego blocks. The longevity of simple ideas is not to be underestimated.
Even though Lego has been swiping opposition left and right, even single-handedly shutting down several companies, the world toy market is not without interest in Lego’s continuous operation.