January 28, 2013

Lego At 55: And They Said It Wouldn’t Last

Children, and those of us who used to be children, have reason to celebrate today. It was on this day, January 28th, way back in 1958, that Godtfred Kirk Christiansen patented the humble Lego brick. The inter-connecting hard plastic shells ignited the imaginations of everyone who was lucky enough to receive them. A junior cohort of amateur architects and engineers were called into action on that day. And the enthusiasm for this build anything toy has only grown through the years.

Members of the online community eurobricks.com were bristling with anticipation for what Lego might release to mark this occasion. The conjecture on this matter is brought about by the fact Lego releases commemorative sets for some of their more momentous occasions. For example, in honor of their 50th birthday in 2008, Lego released the 10184 Town Plan. Once you realize the older European man on the front of the box, playing with the Lego’s, is actually the grandson of the man behind the Lego, the picture looks less creepy.

Of course, even in this tight knit community, there is skepticism that Lego would plan to do a release on a birthday that falls mid-decade. Consensus seems to gravitate around the only mid-decade birthday commemorative release being, most likely, for Lego’s 75th birthday, as 3/4 of a century appears to be a more celebratory milestone.

The Lego Group and the products they create are clearly in the social consciousness of most every person on Earth. Helping in that fact is the string of Legoland Parks and Legoland Discovery Centers that dot the landscapes of Florida, California, Dallas/Fort Worth, Malaysia, Denmark, England, Germany, Atlanta, Chicago and Tokyo, to name but a few. The first Legoland park opened in Billund, Denmark 45 years ago, this upcoming June.

So, what is it, exactly, that attracts our eyes to the primary colored plastic rectangles? What is it about these toys that excite the senses and inspire one to build something that never existed before? And when did it become en vogue to remake movies using Lego characters and construction? By the way, on that last point, thank goodness it has happened because ‘Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out’ is one of the funniest and most inventive re-tellings of the story I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen.

As you turn in for the evening, take just a moment to reflect on the importance that this day has played in your life. Remember the joy you experienced upon snapping the pieces together. Visualize your most masterful creation made with this transcendent toy. And put from your mind the pain you felt when you found one of those little Lego man helmets that had been procured by your new puppy as a quickly discarded chew toy. Maybe that last one was just me.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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