Tags:


Lego my lego.
January 28, 2008 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Today is the 50th anniversary of the first Lego brick...A timeline...How they're made... and The Google/Lego connection (see their homepage today.)
posted by uaudio (77 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
'course it wasn't until the second Lego brick rolled off the assembly line that they knew they had something.
posted by hal9k at 12:19 PM on January 28, 2008 [18 favorites]


Making of a Brick (Flash animation)
posted by mikepop at 12:21 PM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Google/Lego connection? "Google!" is an anagram of "Go Lego!"
posted by sourwookie at 12:25 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Man. I'm still rooting for those poor Ice Planet guys to finish whatever the hell they were doing down there. Lost alot of good men on that goddamn planet...
posted by cowbellemoo at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


The actual patent
posted by mikepop at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2008


Google doesn't make Lego cool. Lego makes Google cool.
posted by DU at 12:31 PM on January 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


I loved me my Legos. Interesting (looking at that timeline)...I didn't realize that the Play Systems pre-dated the basic block.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:41 PM on January 28, 2008


I like that the box for the 50-year anniversary Town Plan playset has an old guy on the front playing.
posted by rlk at 12:46 PM on January 28, 2008


I love the Google Lego case-mod.
posted by caddis at 12:53 PM on January 28, 2008


I like that the box for the 50-year anniversary Town Plan playset has an old guy on the front playing.

That "old guy" is Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the billionaire owner of LEGO who appeared on the packaging for the original Town Plan set as a boy.
posted by designbot at 1:04 PM on January 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love Lego. I loved 'em as a kid, I loved 'em as a parent, and I can't wait to pull our multi-thousand collection out of the closet for the grandkids one day. Happy 50th!
posted by F Mackenzie at 1:05 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know it's been beaten to death, but please for the love of all that is pure and good stop saying Legos? "Lego" is a mass noun, you count the pieces or bricks. Every time someone says "Legos" a tonne of carbon is released into the atmosphere, hastening massive and irreversible climate change. PLEASE STOP KILLING OUR FRAGILE EARTH!!! It is the home of children and other living things with nowhere else to go. DO NOT FUCKING SAY LEGOS!!!!!!!!!
posted by Meatbomb at 1:24 PM on January 28, 2008 [11 favorites]


Loved mine as a kid, especially when my parents started buying me those so-called "expert builder" sets with all the gears and specialized pieces. Lately, they've been just selling lame movie scene based sets that don't encourage much imagination.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:25 PM on January 28, 2008


Google doesn't make Lego cool. Lego makes Google cool.

Sure does. Seen Google's front page today?

And, of course...

Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Lego.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:27 PM on January 28, 2008


Shoot, too new to post the linky.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1941186201035680667&q=camelot+lego&total=75&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=1
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:28 PM on January 28, 2008


Lego made me an engineer, no question.

Now that I'm "grown up", I kind of want to lock myself in my house for a few days/weeks playing with and organizing my old collection (not necessarily in that order).
posted by supercres at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2008


I was outraged when I saw the google storage box. Those aren't Lego, dammit, they're Duplo! Then I looked it up and discovered that Duplo were made by Lego. I always thought they were a competitor. Now I've got all this unfocussed outrage venting into the atmosphere, hastening massive and irreversible climate change. You just can't win when dealing with Lego and the environment.
posted by team lowkey at 1:35 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I love Legos
posted by caddis at 1:36 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Last set I got was this badass tank. It's got missiles that go shoo-shoo-shooom! And omg laserguns pewpewpew!
posted by cowbellemoo at 1:41 PM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm sorry, but Erector Sets can beat up Legos any day.
posted by Camofrog at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2008


Fark. Not too new... linky too long.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 1:42 PM on January 28, 2008


"Lego" doesn't sound right as a mass noun. Why shouldn't I say legos?
posted by yath at 1:43 PM on January 28, 2008


Camofrog, you can burn in hell.

I played with Lego and Erector. Both were fun, but Lego was good for quick, efficient fun building. Erectors took too much frickin' time!
posted by SansPoint at 1:44 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I doubt few moms would say "Honey, please pick up all the Lego on the floor".
posted by Burhanistan at 1:44 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


My professional-editor and mother-of-two-lego-lovers says "Pick up your lego before you go to bed!" I believe that lego, like deer and moose, is its own plural.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er, the editor and mother in question would be my wife. I need an editor.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2008


The anecdote worked just fine without that extra detail.
posted by Flashman at 1:59 PM on January 28, 2008


So, it's a phenomenon that you connect to (Lego) rather than individual and disparate pieces (Legos): "I'm playing with with a system, the individual bricks and sundry pieces therein are just part of the indivisible whole that is Lego." Ok, I suppose I can live with that.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:00 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Technically, "Lego" is the company name and the toys they sell are made of "Lego bricks." The company may have various reasons relating to trademark enforcement and marketing to promote the distinction.

But as a fan, I couldn't care less. To me those bricks are Legos. When I was a kid, I played with Legos, and now that I have kids we play with Legos together. "Lego bricks" is like saying "GNU/Linux"; it just doesn't flow off the tongue.
posted by Loudmax at 2:14 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


My experience is that the US refers to "legos" and the rest of the world says "lego". Rather like the metric system.
posted by mdoar at 2:17 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I doubt few moms would say "Honey, please pick up all the Lego on the floor".

My mom frequently neglected to say this, which led to more than one instance of a three-am-midnight-snack-run-stepping-on-a-pointy-bit-scream-of-pain. I learned all of my best obscenities from these formative moments.
posted by quin at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Metrics Systems?
posted by Big_B at 2:20 PM on January 28, 2008


Meatbomb's Shit List
posted by turaho at 2:30 PM on January 28, 2008


'Legos' = 'nucular'
posted by Flashman at 2:31 PM on January 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Hi. OP here. I added 'LEGOES' as a tag. Hope no one minds.
posted by uaudio at 2:41 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


GNU/Lego?
posted by yath at 2:44 PM on January 28, 2008


"LEGO™ bricks" = "COOL WHIP™ brand non-dairy whipped topping"
posted by designbot at 2:48 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Me: *recites Meatbomb's epic rant*
Boyfriend: Legos.
Me: Our kids are going to have the best Lego set ever.
Boyfriend: Hey, have you seen my box of Legos?

It's a massive box. And now, I am going to go and build stuff. bbl.
posted by saturnine at 2:51 PM on January 28, 2008


Legos, Legos, Legos.

That's three tons of carbon well spent.

Oh, and LEGOS.
posted by RakDaddy at 2:51 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Irregardless of what our Scandanavian overlord might say, their legos in the mind of childrens.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 2:52 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I met Lego's CEO at a corporate do last year - he was such a nice guy...
posted by runkelfinker at 2:54 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


As I read this, I can hear coming from the second floor the rhythmic scrunching sound that can only be created by an ardent builder combing through a big plastic tub of Lego, looking for the perfect piece.

In this case, he's 8, and building Bionicles.
posted by Biblio at 2:55 PM on January 28, 2008


The Lego/Legos controversy! This will play well.

I don't know if I ever heard anyone say it the plural way in England as a child, so my Meatbomb-style feelings on the matter are largely rooted in a "how on earth could you even think that?" gut reaction. My mum certainly said things like, "Clear the Lego off the table kids, time for tea."
posted by Abiezer at 2:58 PM on January 28, 2008


"Legos" is wrong. It's just "Lego". My proof for this is that "Legos" is a brand of pasta sauce, and it would be futile trying to build castles out of it.
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 PM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


My brother and I shared a room from the time I was 10 until shortly after my 18th birthday. He was seven years younger than I was, but the age gap didn't stop us from getting along. In almost every respect, I would say that we were nearly best friends.

Lego. Who would have thought that such a tiny, brightly colored plastic brick could have wrought such antipathy? I was an obsessive, meticulous builder, acting as the omnipotent architect of a thousand tiny societies. He was Death, destroyer of worlds. A million miniature plastic voices cried out in terror, and then suddenly silent. From the grave (or, more often, the vacuum bag), their shrill wailings cried out to me for vengeance. Two brothers, such good friends in other circumstances, sundering any bonds of affection that they held for one another in the name of Lego.

Eventually, my father wised up and built a "Lego shelf" low enough for me to reach but two high for my brother. Of all of the things that my father ever did in his life, I can't think of another that more contributed to harmonious living in my household.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 3:27 PM on January 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


GoogleFight
Lego Bricks vs. Legos
posted by blue_beetle at 3:43 PM on January 28, 2008


My mother absolutely said clear up that Lego.
posted by Mocata at 3:46 PM on January 28, 2008


MetaFilter: Multi-orificed tubular toy construction block.


I'm sorry, but Erector Sets can beat up Legos any day.

Well, right up until you lose the wrench, all the nuts and bolts, the metal gets bent or you leave a model outside overnight to collect dew and then immediately and thoroughly rust itself into junk.

Hell, not even then. Erector sets suck - the quality control was always terrible. If you're going to screw around with cheap punched out metal, you might as well go for Mechano.

And even then, it doesn't compare. The whole point of Lego is that you don't need any tools, and that the parts are extremely well designed and thought out, and the quality control is impeccable.

And, really, when was the last time you heard someone say "OMG I love erector sets! I want to fill my whole room with them and play with them forever and ever until the day I die!"?

Doesn't quite sound the same, does it? Sounds like the ranting of a loon. Replace "Erector" with "Lego" and suddenly it sounds sane and rational.
posted by loquacious at 3:50 PM on January 28, 2008


My insides must've been resonating with Lego energy because today I got them out today for the first time in awhile.

Lego energy also leads to buckets of Legos dumped all over the floor, because how can you have it any other way?
posted by artifarce at 4:23 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I played with Legos. If I had to play with Lego, I'm pretty sure I would have begged my mother to buy me at least one more brick.

Man, I loved those things, whatever you call them. I played with them SO much, too. You'd think I would have turned out to be more creative or productive or something.

Oh, and when I was 21, I made a pilgrimage to Denmark to visit Legoland. I was not disappointed. Still have my Lego salt-n-pepper shakers. They stack on top of each other! Of course.
posted by veggieboy at 4:47 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


That "old guy" is Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the billionaire owner of LEGO who appeared on the packaging for the original Town Plan set as a boy.

I completely missed that as well when I first saw the picture of this set on an Amazon page a few days ago. That's really awesome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:49 PM on January 28, 2008


Also:

Bionicle is introduced. Whatever.

Hah!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:50 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


That "old guy" is Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the billionaire owner of LEGO who appeared on the packaging for the original Town Plan set as a boy.

That's awesome.
posted by grouse at 4:55 PM on January 28, 2008


Man oh man but Legos provide some entertainment. I've got two gigantic Rubbermaid tubs filled with bricks, all saved from the age of four or so. Periodically, I open up the tubs and build gigantic multi-piece spaceships that separate into smaller crafts. Or castles that open up, revealing hidden treasures and knights and such. Or hovercrafts, engaged in tests of speed and combat, a la Death Race 2000. Dang, they're some great toys.

The odd thing, though, is that as much as I loved building things and creating new designs, they always functioned primarily as tools for narrative; throughout my entire life, I had several key characters that I never took apart, who always provided the backbone of the stories I would act out. All the vehicles I built belonged to them, their allies, or their enemies. All the castles and pirate ships and such were encountered during their trips through time. The protagonists -- a brother and sister who worked at a gas station prior to the end of the world -- ended up befriending a forest chieftain, a cyborg swordsman, a 21st-century astronaut, and an undead post-apocalyptic queen. The figures changed slowly, over the course of years: the brother lost a portion of his head in a battle with the Blacktron (who were, incidentally, entirely innocent humanoid aliens that were enslaved and turned into cybernetic soulless automatons by one ruthless villain). The sister led the forestmen for a while, and became both a master of archery and the governor of their society as they moved away from hunting and towards agrarianism. The cyborg swordsman was engaged in a constant battle with his own anger, attempting to hold own to the remnants of his humanity in spite of his programmed directive to kill. They all had these little back-stories and desires and dramas. Irreversible trauma occurred, love blossomed, families were lost and rediscovered. My Legos were the setting for an epic that was longer than the Iliad and the Odyssey and everything Proust ever wrote, all composed and mostly forgotten before I was ten.

It never occurred to me that other people approached their Legos any differently. At some point during my teen years, a friend asked why I kept them around. I didn't really have an answer; it was like someone asking me why I didn't burn my house down.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:06 PM on January 28, 2008 [13 favorites]


As much as I love video games, Legos make me understand why parents are so adamant about creative play. Best toys ever.
posted by danb at 5:24 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


when was the last time you heard someone say "OMG I love erector sets!

Actually, often, as I've had mine out lately and friends have come in and seen it.

I agree, the quality is not on par with Lego, but everything I ever built with Legos frustrated me because it fell apart so easily. You can't really play with a Lego truck without the wheels falling off every 2 seconds.

Also, for you Lego/Legos warriors, if you really want to toe the company line, you not only say "Lego" but you write "LEGO." All caps. That's how they like it.
posted by Camofrog at 5:26 PM on January 28, 2008


I liked Legos a lot and then when I was a little older I liked Technic a lot. I think they are a lot of why I did good on that Test Your Mechanical Aptitude test back in October. Thanks, Lego!
posted by aubilenon at 5:39 PM on January 28, 2008


I do love my father, but a small part of me knows that when he dies the grief will be quickly lost during the fight over who gets to keep his (huge, huge!) lego collection.

This is tempered somewhat by the fact that I know I'll be able to wear my LEGO CUFFLINKS!!!1!! to his funeral.
posted by twirlypen at 6:18 PM on January 28, 2008


At one point, I had twenty-six LEGO minifigures, each with his/her own name and distinct personality.

Phil was the firefighter. You did not screw with Phil.
posted by Lucinda at 7:28 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


a "lego" is a single brick with little round studs on top that can be locked to another, like, brick.

"legos" is the plural of "lego"

Most of these bricks (e.g. the good ones) are manufactured by LEGO

Much like no sane person says "facial tissue" (they say "Kleenex") and no sane person says "cotton swab" (they say "q-tip") no sane person says "LEGO brand interlocking-brick-o-toys".

The fine people at LEGO should be fucking thrilled that this is the case. Their brand has transcended marketing and has become the very definition of the the thing.

There are no other interlocking plastic bricks. There are only legos.

Save the "LEGO not legos" crap for press releases and contracts.
posted by device55 at 7:41 PM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Next you'll be telling us sheeps is the plural of sheep. Because only persons of ovine thinking could possibly agree with you!
posted by Abiezer at 8:18 PM on January 28, 2008


ooh. "ovine". That's an SAT word.

Think of it this way: I have one brick. I received another brick in the mail, now I have two bricks. If I get enough bricks then I could build a brick house.

Notice how the singular form is used as an adjective, i.e. I built a LEGO house out of legos. I built a brick house out of bricks.

In the US, the brand "LEGO" has become generic, like it or else. It will end up on this list sooner or later.

There is no amount of puffed up snobbery that will change that fact. Time, and language marches on.
posted by device55 at 8:43 PM on January 28, 2008


I understand your reasoning, good sir. I merely contest the horrible error to which it leads you. Your language may well march on in your far Americas, far from the well-springs of civilisation, but it is carrying you over a cliff into the linguistic abyss!
I'll cease the silliness now.
posted by Abiezer at 8:59 PM on January 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the US, the brand "LEGO" has become generic, like it or else. It will end up on this list sooner or later.

It's got nothing to do with "LEGO" having become generic, although I would argue that it hasn't - non-LEGO building blocks are universally derided. But anyway, you're barking up the wrong tree.

The simple fact is, I've never known anyone in my little part of the world, to refer to the individual bricks as "Lego" or as "Legos". They're simply called bricks, or pieces.

To quote my mother:

"Go play with your Lego, I'm trying to cook dinner." A statement that I should go play with my Lego generally. Not my Legos.

"Can you pick up those bricks and put them back in the Lego box?" Referring to the individual components of the Lego set as bricks, but acknowledging what sort of bricks they are.

Do I refer to the individual parts of my car as Hyundais? No.

Do I refer to the individual parts of my computer as Compaqs? No.

Do I refer to the pages in this Hunter S. Thompson book on my desk as Generation of Swine Volume Twos? No.

Do I refer to the grains of rice in a jar on my kitchen bench as rices? No.

Do I refer to the songs on this here CD as Sonic Youths? No.

Yes, Lego is the brand. They make bricks.
posted by Jimbob at 10:13 PM on January 28, 2008


legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos you pedants are never going to win this hahahaha legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos legos
posted by Mikey-San at 10:42 PM on January 28, 2008


* breaks Mikey-San's legs *
posted by Jimbob at 10:46 PM on January 28, 2008


* plugs fresh set of legs into Mikey-San's upper half *

Now you have green pants!
posted by cowbellemoo at 11:57 PM on January 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


"Legos" (even feels wrong writing it) must be an American thing. I have never heard the word until today. You don't say "a training" or "a feedback" (although many non-English speakers make the mistake) in just the same way you don't say "a lego". A piece of lego maybe, but "a lego"? Never.
posted by jontyjago at 12:40 AM on January 29, 2008


I saw 'a lego' or 'many legos'. Calling it 'lego' makes it sound like a substance, like water. As for pluralization, I realize that some words pluralize differently, like sheep. But the vast majority in English pluralize with an 's'. So it goes. Remember, Noah Webster. Americans . . . it happens. And I'm not sad about that.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:07 AM on January 29, 2008


Nobody ever calls it a 'piece of Lego'. It's a 'four' or a 'six' or an 'eight' or a 'long eight' or a '12 by 30 flat'.

I don't hold with these new fangled fancy pieces with wheels and little people. My brothers and I built from the elementary particles of the Lego universe and used our imagination for the rest.

(And Mom always said 'clear up your Lego'). And we always said 'Awwww Mom!'
posted by surfdad at 1:58 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't hold with these new fangled fancy pieces with wheels and little people. My brothers and I built from the elementary particles of the Lego universe and used our imagination for the rest.

Kids these days. Get off my green baseplate!
posted by grouse at 2:14 AM on January 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


We now interrupt this "Lego" versus "Legos" Texas Steel Death Cage Match to bring you C'thulhu Lego or, perhaps, C'thulhu Legos. Whatever.
posted by willmize at 4:15 AM on January 29, 2008


At the local art gallery there is the most excellent thing: a massive amount of lego bricks with which to make your own structures. They last for a day and then are pulled down and started again the next day. Some of the structures I've seen have just been incredible. The bricks are all white and of various sizes.

Olafur Eliasson's Cubic Structural Evolution Project 2004

This spectacular installation invites visitors to participate in the construction of a bulit environment, using thousands of pieces of Lego. Designed for children but with appeal for all ages, the work is ever-evolving, limited only by the imagination of participants.

Olafur Eliasson's The Cubic Structural Evolution Project is a Queensland Art Gallery travelling exhibition.

Children's Gallery
26 Nov 2007 - 3 Feb 2008


I think it's the most popular thing that's featured at the art gallery and I only wish there were pictures available to show you just what can be done by non-artists when confronted with the simplest of materials. I love Lego.
posted by h00py at 5:20 AM on January 29, 2008


When I was young enough to spend whole days playing with lego, I knew that parents always passed their lego onto their kids. I felt jealous of the the generations 20, 40, 100 years in the future, who through the combined lego resources of parents and grandparents would live in a world positively swamped with lego, where 'running out of bricks' was never even the remotest possibility.
posted by niccolo at 7:02 AM on January 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


I liked legos so much, I married a Danish girl. Then I learned that I wasn't really that into legos, and we split up.
posted by LordSludge at 12:50 PM on January 29, 2008


Strange that there's no mention of the anniversary on the Jullands-Post site though.
posted by LordSludge at 12:51 PM on January 29, 2008


Did you ever meet a kid who, wanting a 5x2 plate but only having 10x2 plates, would break one in half?

It was the most horrific thing I've ever seen.
posted by rifflesby at 6:41 PM on January 29, 2008


« Older Steroids, "Other Drugs," and Baseball:...  |  Over 30 years ago, Robert Burn... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments