Lego timeline

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Lego Group logo.

This article lists notable events and releases in the history of the Lego Group.

1890s[edit]

1910s[edit]

1920s[edit]

  • July 6, 1920: Godtfred Kirk Christiansen is born.
  • 1924: Ole Kirk's shop burns down when a fire ignites some wood shavings. Ole Kirk builds a larger workshop, renting out most of the space, and using the rest for his own shop.

1930s[edit]

  • 1932: Ole Kirk Christiansen's shop nearly goes bankrupt in the depression. With a lack of normal carpentry jobs, Ole Kirk starts producing toys, many of which were wooden pull toys.
  • 1934: The company name Lego is coined by Christiansen from the Danish phrase leg godt, meaning "play well". Coincidentally, "Lego" also means "I assemble" in Latin.
  • 1935: The Lego Duck (a wooden toy) is featured.
  • 1937: Godtfred Kirk Christiansen starts creating models.
  • 1939: The company grows to 10 employees.

1940s[edit]

  • 1942: A fire breaks out in the factory, forcing the company to rebuild.
  • 1943: The company grows to 40 employees.
  • 1947: Ole Kirk purchases the first plastic moulding machine in Denmark, and the company begins manufacturing plastic toys. The Christiansens are inspired by samples of the "Kiddicraft Self-Locking Building Brick", a design patented by the Briton Mr. Harry Fisher Page.[1] December 27 - Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen is born.
  • 1948: The company grows to 50 employees.
  • 1949: Lego begins producing similar plastic bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks."

1950s[edit]

  • 1951:
    • The first ever film about Lego is shot. The photographer is Christian Lund, and the film is black and white with no sound.
  • 1953:
    • Automatic Binding Bricks are renamed Lego Mursten, or "Lego Bricks."
    • First baseplates are created.
    • Godtfred Kirk Christiansen creates "system of play" that leads to the formation of Lego sets.[2]
  • 1954:
    • Godtfred Kirk Christiansen becomes junior managing director of Lego, and soon has the idea to turn Lego bricks into a toy system.
    • Lego windows and doors are introduced.
    • The word Lego is officially registered in Denmark.
    • First beam bricks are released.
  • 1955:
    • Lego releases its first toy "system" of the Town Plan along with 27 other sets.[3]
    • Lego bricks begin selling better, but are not yet the core Lego product.
    • Lego first exports toys to Sweden.
    • Godtfred Kirk Christiansen demonstrates the Lego bricks at a toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany.
    • First Lego trees are released.
  • 1956:
  • 1957:
  • 1958:
    • The Lego brick design is improved to allow better versatility and "locking" ability.
    • Ole Kirk Christiansen dies; Godtfred inherits leadership of the Lego Company.
    • The Lego company patents the stud-and-tube coupling system. This new system makes models much more stable. Sloping roof tile bricks are featured.
    • The company in Billund grows to 140 employees.
  • 1959:
    • A small staff at Lego, the "Futura" division, is established to develop ideas for new sets.
    • Lego begins selling its products in other countries such as Norway, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK.
    • Lego France, British Lego Ltd., Lego Belgium and Lego Sweden are established.

1960s[edit]

  • 1960:
    • February: Another warehouse fire consumes most of Lego inventory of wooden toys.
    • Production of wooden toys is discontinued; the company changes its focus to the plastic building bricks.
    • Lego Finland and Lego Netherlands are established.
    • By the end of the year, the company grows to 450 employees.
  • 1961:
    • The Lego wheel is introduced.
    • Sales start in the United States and Canada through a license agreement with Samsonite Corp.
    • Lego Italy established
  • 1961–1962:
    • Lego makes an arrangement allowing Samsonite to begin producing and selling Lego products in Canada, an arrangement that would continue until 1988.
  • 1962:
  • 1963:
    • Cellulose acetate is abandoned in favor of the more stable ABS plastic in making Lego bricks.
    • Samsonite begins producing Lego bricks under license in North America.
    • Lego Austria is established.
    • The Lego Group starts Modulex.
  • 1964:
    • The first Lego sets containing instruction manuals are introduced.
    • Lego sells toys in Lebanon.
    • A production plant, Lego Werkzeugbau GmbH, is opened in Hohenwestedt, Germany.
  • 1965:
    • The company in Billund grows to more than 600 employees.
  • 1966:
    • One of Lego most successful series, the Lego train system is released. Initial train sets include a 4.5-volt motor and rails.
    • Lego is now sold in 42 countries.
  • 1967:
    • First Lego hinges.
  • 1968:
    • Train sets with a 12-volt motor are introduced.
    • On June 7, the Legoland Park in Billund is opened, at which 3,000 people visit on the opening day.
    • Lego bricks with magnets are introduced.
  • 1969:
    • The Duplo system, using larger bricks and targeting younger children but also compatible with existing Lego bricks, is released.
    • The company in Billund grows to 843 employees.

1970s[edit]

  • 1970: The company grows to 1,000 employees.
  • 1971: Lego introduces furniture pieces and dollhouses for girls.
  • 1972: Lego adds boat and ship sets, with hull pieces that actually float.
  • 1973:
    • Lego USA moves to its present-day location in Enfield, Connecticut.
    • All Lego products are placed under one logo, a red square with the word, Lego, in white bordered by black and yellow.
    • Lego first sells toys to Hungary.
    • Lego Portugal is established.
  • 1974:
    • Lego figures are launched, starting with the Lego family.
    • Bricks and Pieces, the first official Lego newsletter, is introduced in the United Kingdom.
    • Lego Spain is established.
  • 1975:
    • The company grows to 2,500 employees.
    • The Expert Series sets are introduced.
  • 1977:
  • 1978:
    • Lego introduces the minifigure with movable limbs and hands that can grasp utensils. This was the company's second most important design, after the brick itself.
    • Lego Castle is introduced.
    • Lego Space is introduced.
  • 1979:

1980s[edit]

  • 1980:
    • Lego establishes the Educational Products Department.
    • New factories are opened in Switzerland and Jutland, Denmark.
    • It is revealed in a survey that seventy percent of all Western European families with kids under fourteen own Lego bricks.
    • Lego train tracks are introduced.
  • 1981: The second generation of Lego trains is produced, including a wider variety of accessories.
  • 1982:
    • Expert Builder series matures and becomes Technic.
    • The Lego Group celebrates its 50th anniversary on August 13th.
    • The book, 50 years of play is published.
    • Lego South Africa is established.
    • First Lego wind-up engine.
  • 1983:
    • Lego launches the Duplo Baby series.
    • The company grows to 3,700 employees worldwide.
  • 1984:
    • Lego Castle series is launched.
    • Lego pneumatics are added to the Technic series.
    • Lego Brazil is established.
    • Lego Korea is established.
  • 1985:
    • Light & Sound sets are introduced.
    • Lego company grows to 5,000 employees worldwide; 3,000 of them being in Billund.
    • The gearstick is introduced.
    • Danish Foreign Minister, Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, opens the LEGO Centre at Birkenhead Point in Sydney Australia, the first permanent LEGO shop outside Billund[4]
  • 1986:
    • Lego Technic robots controlled by computers are placed in schools.
    • Light and Sound sets are launched of Lego Town and Space themes.
    • Another factory in Manaus, Brazil is opened.
    • Godtfred Kirk Christiansen resigns as chairman of the board of Lego System A/S and Lego Overseas.
    • Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen takes over for Godtfred Kirk Christiansen.
  • 1987:
    • Forestman, Crusaders, and Black Knights, sub-lines of Lego Castle, are introduced.
    • Blacktron I and Futuron, sub-lines of Lego Space, are introduced.
    • Lego reaches almost 6,000 employees.
    • Lego South Africa is closed.
    • Lego Club is established.
  • 1988:
    • The first Lego World Cup building contest is held in Billund.
    • Lego Canada is established.
    • The "Brick Separator" is introduced.
  • 1989:
    • Lego Pirates theme is launched.
    • Lego Educational Products Department is renamed Lego Dacta.
    • Brick Kicks, the first official Lego Club magazine, is introduced.
    • Space Police I, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.

1990s[edit]

  • 1990
    • Lego Model Team sets are released.
    • Lego is one of the top 10 toy companies of 1990.
    • Forestman is discontinued.
    • The Blacktron I and Futuron themes are discontinued.
    • Space Police I is discontinued.
    • M:Tron, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Lego Malaysia is established.
    • The Duplo Zoo is launched.
    • 9V Technic motors are first introduced in Europe, starting phase-out of 4.5V system.
  • 1991
    • 9V Technic motors are introduced in other markets including North America.
    • 9V Trains motors are made 9V to bring the system into line with the rest of the Lego range.
    • Lego Paradisa is launched.
    • Blacktron II, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Imperial Guards, a sub-line of Lego Pirates is introduced.
    • The company grows to 7,550 employees.
  • 1992
    • Lego sets two Guinness World Records. Lego Castle and Lego Tower.
    • Paradisa and Duplo Toolo sets are introduced.
    • On Swedish television, the world's largest Lego Castle is built.
    • The Crusaders theme is discontinued.
    • Wolfpack, a sub-line of Lego Castle is introduced.
    • Space Police II, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Lego Japan is established.
    • Lego Hungary is established.
    • The first Lego Imagination Center is opened in Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, United States.
  • 1993
    • Duplo introduces a train and a parrot-shaped "brickvac" that could scoop Lego pieces up off the floor.
    • Space Police I is re-released.
    • Wolfpack, a sub-line of Lego Castle is discontinued.
    • Dragon Masters is introduced.
    • M:Tron, a sub-line of Lego Space is discontinued.
    • Blacktron II, a sub-line of Lego Space is discontinued.
    • Space Police II, a sub-line of Lego Space is discontinued.
    • Ice Planet 2002, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Lego South Africa re-established.
    • The orange transparent brick is introduced.
  • 1994
    • The Black Knights theme is discontinued.
    • Ice Planet 2002, a sub-line of Lego Space is discontinued.
    • Unitron, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Spyrius, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Islanders, a sub-line of Lego Pirates is introduced.
    • Lego Mexico is established.
    • The company grows to 8,880 employees worldwide.
    • First pink Lego bricks.
    • Brick Kicks, the official Lego Club Magazine, is renamed Lego Mania Magazine.
  • 1995
    • Lego Primo series is introduced.
    • Lego Aquazone is introduced.
    • Royal Knights, a sub-line of Lego Castle is introduced.
    • Unitron is discontinued.
    • Imperial Guards, a sub-line of Lego Pirates is discontinued.
    • Lego TechBuild, a sub-line of Lego Technic is introduced.
    • Lego TechPlay, another sub-line of Lego Technic is introduced.
    • Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of the company's founder, dies.
    • Lego Belgium and Lego Netherlands become Lego Benelux.
    • Lego dolphin element is introduced.
  • 1996
    • Legoland Windsor is opened in the United Kingdom.
    • The Lego Watch System is launched.
    • Lego Wild West is introduced.
    • Lego.com is launched.
    • Dark Forest, a sub-line of Lego Castle is introduced.
    • Time Cruisers is introduced.
    • Spyrius theme is discontinued.
    • Exploriens, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Imperial Armada, a sub-line of Lego Pirates is introduced.
    • Legoland Billund reaches 25 million visitors since its opening in 1968.
    • It is estimated that 180 billion Lego elements have been made and over 300 million people worldwide play with them.
  • 1997
    • Lego launches its first computer game, Lego Island.
    • Lego introduces fiber-optic elements.
    • Lego Paradisa is discontinued.
    • Lego Divers is introduced.
    • Fright Knights, a sub-line of Lego Castle is introduced.
    • Time Twisters, a sub-line of Time Cruisers is introduced.
    • Roboforce, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • UFO, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Aquaraiders, a sub-line of Lego Aquazone is introduced.
  • 1998
    • Lego launches the Lego Creator, Loco, and Chess computer games.
    • Lego introduces beige bricks.
    • Lego Adventurers and Insectoids series are introduced.
    • Lego releases Mindstorms, a programmable computerized brick with Lego-compatible sensors and motors.
    • The red Lego logo introduced in 1973 is updated. It is a graphically tightened version of the logo used for the past 25 years.
    • Lego rereleases the Crusaders, Black Knights, and Dragon Masters themes.
    • Insectoids, a sub-line of Lego Space is introduced.
    • Lego Cyberslam, is introduced.
  • 1999
    • Legoland California opens in Carlsbad, California.
    • Lego Rock Raiders series is introduced.
    • Lego produces the first licensed theme with Lucasfilm - Star Wars!
    • UFO and Insectoids themes are discontinued.
    • Jungle a sub-line of Lego Adventurers is introduced.
    • Lego Underground is introduced.
    • Lego Slizers (Throwbots) are introduced.

2000s[edit]

  • 2000
    • Knights' Kingdom, Life on Mars, and Soccer/Football are introduced.
    • Dino Island, a sub-line of Lego Adventurers is introduced, then discontinued. RoboRiders are also introduced, then discontinued.
    • Lego Underground (Rock Raiders) and Lego Throwbots are discontinued.
    • Lego Studios is introduced.
    • The British Association of Toy Retailers names the Lego brick "Toy of the Century".
  • 2001
    • Lego Bionicle is launched both in Europe and United States.
    • Lego Brand Retail stores are opened in England, Germany, and Russia.
    • Lego Life on Mars is introduced, then discontinued.
    • Lego Alpha Team and Lego Harry Potter are introduced.
    • Lego Serious Play is unveiled.
  • 2002
    • Company slogan changes from "Just Imagine..." to "Play On".
    • Lego Wild West is discontinued.
    • Lego Island Xtreme Stunts, Spider-Man, and Lego Racers are introduced.
    • Lego Mania Magazine issues are changed to Lego Magazine.
    • Legoland Germany opened May 17, 2002 in Günzburg.
  • 2003
    • Lego introduces new skin tones for mini-figures based on actual people.
    • Clikits, Lego Designer, Lego Hockey, Lego Basketball, and Lego Gravity Games are introduced.
    • Orient Expedition, a sub-line of Adventurers is introduced.
    • Lego Island Xtreme Stunts is discontinued.
    • Lego Inventor is introduced, then discontinued.
    • Lego World City is introduced.
    • Lego minifigure celebrates its 25th birthday.
    • The first full-length CGI LEGO movie, Bionicle: Mask of Light is released.
  • 2004
    • Lego Quatro brick is introduced for children ages 1–3.
    • Lego Knights' Kingdom II is introduced.
    • Orient Expedition, a sub-line of Lego Adventurers is discontinued.
    • Lego Spider-Man, Lego World City, and Lego Gravity Games are discontinued.
    • Lego Group reports record loss for 2003 fiscal year.
  • 2005
    • Lego System celebrates its 50th anniversary.
    • Lego Group sells Legoland parks to Merlin Entertainments Group.
    • Lego Alpha Team is discontinued.
    • Lego City is introduced.
    • Lego Dino Attack/Dino 2010 is introduced.
    • Lego Vikings is introduced.

2010s[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • 50 Years of Play - Internal Lego publication from 1982
  • The World of LEGO Toys, Henry Wiencek, 1987

External links[edit]