Lego is a popular line of construction toys manufactured by The Lego Group, a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark. The company’s flagship product, Lego, consists of colourful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigures and various other parts. Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects.
Lego began manufacturing interlocking toy bricks in 1949. Since then a global Lego subculture has developed, supporting movies, games, competitions, and six themed amusement parks. As of 2013, around 560 billion Lego parts had been produced.
The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (born April 7, 1891), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego”, from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. It expanded to producing plastic toys in 1947. In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. These bricks were based in part on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were patented in the United Kingdom in 1939 and then there released in 1947. Lego modified the design of the Kiddicraft brick after examining a sample given to it by the British supplier of an injection-molding machine that the company had purchased. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of traditional stackable wooden blocks that locked together by means of several round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they required extraordinary effort to be separated.
In May 2013, the largest model ever created was displayed in New York, made of over 5 million bricks; a 1:1 scale model of an X-Wing.