Whether we’re five years old or 55, we’ve all played with LEGO toys and building blocks at some point. After all, they’re quite addictive—the bright, interlocking pieces and all the potential figures we can build, from LEGO clocks to a gigantic Spongebob to a LEGO house.
Here are 16 things you probably didn’t know about LEGO. (I didn’t, at least.)
1. “LEGO” Means “Play Well”
“LEGO” comes from the Danish words “leg godt,” which mean “play well.” They sure were on to something there, huh?
2. The Plural For LEGO is LEGO
That’s right, nearly the whole world gets this wrong! But go to the LEGO site and see for yourself! It states: “Please always refer to our products as ‘LEGO bricks or toys’ and not ‘LEGOS.’ By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud, and that stands for quality the world over.”
3. They Are Over 80 Years Old
The official LEGO brand was invented in 1932 in Denmark, by Ole Kirk Christiansen. He was a master joiner and carpenter and had initially made bigger items (like stepladders) before starting wooden toys (which would become the LEGO brand we know and love). He had his 12-year-old son, Godtfred, work with him. (It is now owned by his grandson, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen; coincidentally, the richest man in Denmark.)
4. Ole Kirk Christiansen Never Got To See How Popular LEGO became
Ole Kirk Christiansen passed away before LEGO was a household name. In the 1950s, his son, Godtfred, invented and patented the renowned LEGO: the stud-and-tube one, as well as roof bricks. The “LEGO System of Play” came about, which encouraged children to learn through play.
5. LEGO Switched From Wooden To Plastic Toys After A Fire In 1960
Yes, that’s right, the colorful plastic LEGO toys we know today are all because of that fire.
6. LEGO Is #95 on Forbes’ “The World’s Most Valuable Brands” List
Not only that, but as of May, 2015, LEGO has a brand value of $6.2 billion.
7. LEGO Is The Biggest Toy Company In The World
Sales associated to “The Lego Movie” release made revenue over $2 billion… in just the first six months of 2014. This made LEGO the biggest toy company in the world, even more so than Mattel.
8. You Can Use LEGO Sets Today With Ones From 1958 And On
Amazing, huh? The bricks today will fit together with the ones from yesteryear. Try it and see!
9. LEGO Blocks Are Not Just For Kids
10. LEGO Produces The Most Wheels In The World
Yes, you read that right. In 1961, the LEGO wheel came about. Nowadays, LEGO makes over 300 million little wheels a year. Those are packaged into 37,000 (!!) LEGO sets an hour, in addition to 3,000 other kinds of pieces.
11. For Christmas, Nearly 28 LEGO Sets Are Sold… Each Second (!!)
Unbelievable, right? Or, perhaps, expected. I think that is A LOT. (I also know almost everyone I know is addicted to them, kids and adults, so I guess this is not too surprising. So you may want to start your shopping now, before stores run out!)
12. With All The LEGO Bricks Sold In One Year, They Would Reach Over Five Times Around The World
Yes, place them side-by-side and try this for yourself, I dare you. (I’d also like to join you.)
13. The World’s Largest LEGO Tower Stands Is 94.14 Feet Tall
It also contains 465,000 bricks. Try to beat that!
14. There Are Over Four Billion LEGO Minifigures
Do YOU own them all?!
15. If You Put Together Six Eight-Studded Bricks, You Can Create 915,103,765 (Different) Combinations (!!)
That is INSANE, right?! Yes! It is. If you only have two bricks, you can make 24 various combinations, and three bricks allow for 1,060 combinations. (Good luck if you can do them all!)
16. LEGO Has Very High Standards Of Quality Control
I know—we would expect nothing less! But, case in point, the way their plastic is molded is extremely accurate and only 18 bricks do not meet their standards… out of a million!