View Full Version : LEGO turns 60 today

SMT Member
28th Jan 2018, 10:30
The patent that is; the 'brick' had been in development for 12 years prior to getting the patent approved.

I played with LEGO all of my childhood, and then rediscovered its fantastic abilities to teach, entertain and do one proud many, many years later. The GF and I occasionally purchase a Technik set, clear the dining room table and set about assembling the kit over several evenings. We chat, we laugh, we occasionally get frustrated, we solve the problems together and then we laugh some more. Most of all, we're doing something together that's fun and challenging and which inspires conversation. The exact polar opposite of watching the idiot box, one could say.

Is the LEGO the best 'toy' ever invented? Do you ever get too old to 'play' with it?

28th Jan 2018, 10:39
I used LEGO as an adult when I was 'stressed' by my work environment.

The same pieces from that time are now being used by my grandchildren.

How many 'toys' are basically unchanged (apart from additions) six decades later?

28th Jan 2018, 10:42
My nephew got a Lego pirate island one Christmas and bemoaned to me that he wished he had a pirate ship as well - absolutely priceless to see his face as I built a galleon from the rest of his Lego, with hidden wheels so he could push it round the dining room carpet... Blimey, a quarter of a century ago...

We loved it when I was a kid - my mate and I pooled our collections which I think was passed onto his kids, who must now be heading towards being parents themselves; wonder if it all still exists?

I did transition to Meccano later but probably found it a bit fiddly.

Windy Militant
28th Jan 2018, 10:44
How many 'toys' are basically unchanged (apart from additions) six decades later?

The Proper Best Toy in the World Meccano! :ok:
Even if it is made in France these days. :O

28th Jan 2018, 10:56
Lego has been fantastic. Loved it as a kid, my children played with it extensively.
Unfortunately, Lego has gone down the road of producing kits, from which you can build one object from instructions, with specially shaped parts. Quite a few are also themed (e.g. Star Wars). Sure, you can still buy a box of 'normal' bricks, but they are a sideline. The joy of Lego, to me anyway, was that there were no instructions - you could invent whatever you wanted, solve building problems yourself, see the weaknesses in your crane/bridge/fairground ride and make improvements.

28th Jan 2018, 10:58
Many happy hours as a child playing with basic Lego pieces, using fantasy to construct whatever the bricks would allow. Apparently older 'vintage' bricks contain some nasty stuff if ingested.

Second-hand toys could harm children, scientists discover - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42832978)

After completing a job in Denmark, due to winter weather my flight was cancelled and I was obliged to spend the nigh in Billund and to my delight in the Lego Hotel. My room was made out of large Lego bricks, everything that could be was plastic Lego. Waking in the morning was surreal, in the best possible way!

28th Jan 2018, 16:45
... ... ...

Is the LEGO the best 'toy' ever invented? Do you ever get too old to 'play' with it?

Yes and No!!

28th Jan 2018, 17:03
Lego created a brilliant marketing strategy when it developed the themed kits. Once the kit had been built into ship, plane or whatever, little Johnny or Jane was never going to tear it down to make something different. In fact, many of the specialist pieces made them difficult to incorporate into anything else. So the children used their pester power to get mum or dad to buy even more of the stuff, where in the the traditional pieces would simply be re-used!

Not my analysis, but that of a friend in the toy trade who refused the offer to take on Lego as as a sales agency twenty years ago thinking it was past its sell by date! :ugh:

28th Jan 2018, 17:13
Yes and No!!
'Minibrix' made of rubber were on sale in the UK before Lego,(1935 onwards) but they were similar size and shape; it was as if Lego had seen them and copied them using plastic.

28th Jan 2018, 17:20
Lego 'lost from 1997 freighter' found at St Bees - BBC News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-42852228)

28th Jan 2018, 17:24
Visited Legoland in California! It was cool, especially as they have glass windows on the area where they create new Lego structures.

Played with Lego for hours as a child.

And yes, those Lego kits aren't designed for reuse unless your child incorporates them into their own creations. Imagine, a cockpit on top of a tower!

West Coast
28th Jan 2018, 17:46
60 years of parents stepping on sharp edges while traversing their kids rooms looking for a safe exit.

Brought my son many years of enjoyment, sad when he outgrew them.

28th Jan 2018, 20:38
I built this in the early 60s, it was designed for moon exploration!

Unlike the latest Lego offerings you just built whatever came into your head and used your imagination.

http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q109/AndyPandy_015/Lego_zps9fuh3jtf.jpg (http://s134.photobucket.com/user/AndyPandy_015/media/Lego_zps9fuh3jtf.jpg.html)

28th Jan 2018, 20:45
Funnily enough M.Mouse, I've got Moonraker on t'telly right now!

SMT Member
28th Jan 2018, 20:57
The bit about 'you can only build what's in the instructions with the new kits' is not, to put it diplomatically, an absolute representation of the truth. Each kit does indeed come with special parts, but it's worth considering that one of the most intricate models, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS, only required 7 special pieces to be made. That's out of a set approaching 3000 pieces.

LEGO has a site where anybody can have a shot of having his/her bespoke model reviewed by the general public, who can vote for their favourite. The one with the most votes gets a review by LEGO's development team, and if eligeble becomes a new product: https://ideas.lego.com/dashboard. If you'll also please allow me a shallow dip into the pool of aviation, someone's done up a cut-through RR Ultrafan: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/f18a11c6-f704-4827-b06a-fba84e5818df

These models are all made with off-the-shelf pieces by private individuals, very much putting to bed the idea the newer kits and pieces have diminished creativity. Quite the contrary, actually, it's just a different form than 30 or more years ago, and a reflection of the times we are currently living in.

28th Jan 2018, 22:12
RR built this RB211 (https://cdn.pocket-lint.com/r/s/970x/assets/images/116314-parenting-news-hands-on-lego-rolls-royce-trent-1000-jet-engine-pictures-image2-EaNp5Q9gV2.jpg)

Loose rivets
28th Jan 2018, 23:30
Daft! They have enough trouble keeping titanium cool enough.

After the war, I played with my friend's building set. It was much the same as Lego but was made with India rubber.

Each little bobble was bigger diameter half way up so that it engaged with a similar shape in the hole. I can still remember the loud popping as one pulled them apart.

Anyone know if it was the company owned predecessor of the plastic Lego?

Captain Dart
29th Jan 2018, 01:07
Lego...meh. Meccano for development of engineering and spacial skills, but not just for kids. I vaguely remember from a book years ago that Martin Baker used Meccano to model concepts for their first ejection seat.

29th Jan 2018, 03:16
Do you ever get too old to 'play' with it?

Seeing as they used to state the age range of "12 - 99" for the more advanced kits, strictly speaking yes you could get too old to play with it.

That has since been amended to "12+" to keep all the really old folk in the game

29th Jan 2018, 05:02
Daft! They have enough trouble keeping titanium cool enough.

After the war, I played with my friend's building set. It was much the same as Lego but was made with India rubber.

Each little bobble was bigger diameter half way up so that it engaged with a similar shape in the hole. I can still remember the loud popping as one pulled them apart.

Anyone know if it was the company owned predecessor of the plastic Lego?

Sounds like the 'Minibrix' I mentioned at #9 above.
Produced between 1935 and 1976, no relation to Lego but maybe Lego copied the idea.

Ethel the Aardvark
29th Jan 2018, 07:12

29th Jan 2018, 09:33
... ... ...

Is the LEGO the best 'toy' ever invented? Do you ever get too old to 'play' with it?

Is LEGO the best 'toy' ever invented?

I doubt it that you would easily find another that could match up in such a competition. Lego's age range is from toddler up to ... ? (That answer comes with the next question!) A toddler can start on Lego Duplo and build up from the very basics to fairly complex building, then when they start with Lego 'proper' the parts fit together and the 'old' toy dos not need to be discarded but stays in use for a few more years to come. Then once this 'toddler' has become a teenager there is an equal almost seamless move onto Lego Technic. By now if this 'Lego addict' wants to 'bulk up' one of his/her Technic constructions, those old Duplo blocks could still help as they could still fit. Is there another 'toy' that has this 'age flexibility/endurability'? A kid* having Lego can have a whole range of interests, from deep sea to outer space and everything in between, unlike other toys that are more specific to certain interests. Getting a present for a kid with Lego is simple: find out vaguely what their interests are and buy a suitable Lego item of any range to suit your pocket. Even if you have slightly missed their exact interest, the parts can and will be used in conjunction with the rest of their Lego for years to come, whereas almost any other toy that you could have selected would probably be 'sidelined' within a few days and never be used again if you had misjudge the interests too much.

Do you ever get too old to 'play' with it?

No. We gave our son a Duplo aeroplane a little before he turned one. Many decades on he gave me a Lego Sopwith Camel as a birthday present. It was a delight to build and now has a prized display position! No, 'too old' just doesn't apply!!

With all the above, I need to emphasise that I have had no part in selling or promoting Lego for more than a couple of decades now. A family member did run an independent toy shop 'more than a couple of decades' ago and Lego was one of the top selling three toys manufacturers in the shop and was well ahead of the other two. Whenever I visit a toy shop now, I go straight to the Lego shelves to see what their latest is. I did hear from a Lego 'rep' once that it was estimated that somewhere around 89% of households in Britain had an item of Lego somewhere in the house!

SpringHeeledJack, we've also visited the Legoland Hotel and marvelled at everything being made of Lego, including the 'pianist' playing the pianola in the bar! (The decor was all made of Lego and the telephone and TV in the room were B&O. Denmark showing off their best!!)

* I used the term 'kid' as 'child' would be limiting the age range inappropriately.

Loose rivets
29th Jan 2018, 10:43
chevvron Oooo, sorry, so you did. I suppose my age would have adjusted my perception of the size.

63/= for a large set. Blimey, you could have bought a lot of real bricks for that.

29th Jan 2018, 11:20
Lego are the inventors of the very first block chain.

It would also require a different kind of crypto currency to quickly assemble their kits.

Unfortunately their blocks had no appeal to me as a kid as I was already making real stuff out of wood and steel. I did find a pair of their smaller blocks were good for temporarily joining electrical wires.

james ozzie
30th Jan 2018, 08:11
I sat with a 4 yr old while he assembled one of those Lego kit thingies. He was continuously studying the diagram and then manipulating the parts to get them to correspond with the diagram. It looked like really good hand-eye training and spatial reasoning practice. But the strain showed as he needed a break after a short while.

On the subject of diagrams / instructions: an Architect mate recounted how one of his lecturers produced the assembly plan from a balsa model kit. He made the point that a 10 year old could build a flying aircraft with these instructions. Demonstrating the importance of clear documentation.

uffington sb
31st Jan 2018, 15:17
That looks painful!
I think I’d rather try the burning embers.

31st Jan 2018, 22:52
A LEGO harpsichord:
Harpsichord (http://www.henrylim.org/Harpsichord.html)

With the exception of the wire strings, this instrument is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts--the keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrestplank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick, and music stand are all built out of interlocking ABS (Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene) plastic bricks and related pieces.

And is playable...

...It's taken two years of theorizing, designing, collecting parts, building, testing, and rebuilding. Originally, upon thinking about the potentials of making a LEGO musical instrument, I had hoped to reproduce a piano, but ditched the idea due to the enormous tension involved (40,000 lbs.)--there's a reason why pianos have steel frames. Its ancestor, the harpsichord, seemed more practically possible...

2nd Feb 2018, 10:44
One of them RN Wildcats has just flown past my office window, a Lynx made out of Lego...