The history of Billund, Denmark's LEGO Group, including LEGO Bricks, LEGOLANDs, MINDSTORMS, minifigures, and more
by Mark Hughes
From 1932 to the present, the LEGO Group has been creating toys that delight and inspire people of all ages to build whatever their imagination can dream up. LEGO toys seem timeless, best shown by the fact that a LEGO brick made in 1958 will still work perfectly with LEGO bricks made in 2009. Follow the timeline below to learn more about the history of the LEGO Group.
Ole Kirk Christiansen founds what becomes the LEGO Group in Billund, Denmark
Christiansen combines and abbreviates two Danish words, LEG GODT ("play well"), into LEGO.
Ole Kirk Christiansen steps down from LEGO Group. His son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, takes over.
LEGO Group introduces the "LEGO System of Play" with the first "play and learn" concept. This promotes the company's goal of emphasizing learning through play.
The unique interlocking LEGO Brick is launched. Bricks made in 1958 are still fully compatible with the ones being made in 2008.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen begins to experiment with using motors with LEGO elements.
The LEGO train is introduced. It has its own rails, and a 4.5-volt motor.
LEGOLAND Park opens in Billund, Denmark.
LEGO DUPLO is launched. These blocks are created with the small hands of children in mind; each block is much bigger than its regular LEGO Block counterpart.
Role play and personality are added to LEGO with the first appearance of LEGO figures.
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, Godtfred's son, becomes president and CEO of the LEGO Group. The LEGO Space series is also launched.
LEGO TECHNIC Computer Control is one of the first big results of the partnership with MIT.
LEGO TECHNIC Supercar is launched, much to the delight of young fans of motoring. LEGO BELVILLE also begins. This product involves families, horses, and later princesses, fairies, and butterflies.
Products for children in the 0–2 age group are launched under the name LEGO PRIMO.
A new LEGOLAND Park opens in Windsor, Britain.
The partnership between LEGO Group and MIT produces LEGO MINDSTORMS, which enables the creation and programming of intelligent LEGO models.
The FIRST LEGO League is created. FIRST stands "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology." This is a worldwide technology tournament in which school children build their own robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS to compete against each other.
LEGO Group signs an agreement with Lucasfilm Ltd. to create a series of LEGO sets based on the Star Wars movies.
A new LEGOLAND Park opens in Carlsbad, California.
BIONICLE, a combination of story, construction toys, and action figures is launched.
A new LEGOLAND Park opens in Günzburg, Germany.
LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT launches. This updated version allows for the construction and programming of robots in as little as 30 minutes. Robots now have the ability to see, hear, speak, feel, and move.
FIRST LEGO League Tournament finals takes place in Atlanta, Georgia. 80 teams of children from 30 countries compete.
LEGO Group launches minifigures, vehicles, and sets based on the Indiana Jones series of movies
|2009||LEGO takes children's imaginations underground, into the ocean, and out of this world with new play theme assortments: Power Miners, Pirates and Space Police.|
|2010||LEGO adds a new dimension to Family Game Night with the introduction of ten new buildable games. In the building sets, new themes include Hero Factory, Ben 10 Alien Force, Persia Sands of Time, LEGO Atlantis, and Toy Story 3.|
|2011||LEGO chooses Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, as the latest eye-catching representative of its LEGO Architecture series, which celebrates the past, present and future of world architecture. Burj Khalifa, designed by Chicago architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, completed in 2010, towers 828 meters (2,716.5 ft) above downtown Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It is the first model in LEGO Architecture's Landmark series to represent a building outside the United States.|
|2012||The LEGO Friends line debuts. It is targeted toward girls ages 5–8.|
|2014||The LEGO Movie opens in February. A critical and commercial hit, the movie grossed $69.1 million in its opening weekend, making it the second largest February debut of all time.|
|2015||In June, participants in Milan, Italy succeeded in creating a 35-meter (114.8 ft) tower made of more than half a million colorful LEGO bricks—a new Guinness World Record.|
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