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LEGO

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LEGO

 

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Back in the eighties it was normal to find in a house where children lived, those little bricks scattered all around the place, vehicles made out of bricks, structures of all kind made out of bricks, entire cities constructed out of these little bricks! But of course we are talking about LEGO (or "Legos" as they were called colloquially in the US leading to the company to put a request on the packaging asking people to call it Lego). Kids and their friends who came over used to spend hours playing with it, and then their parents, family or adult friends of the family would marvel at the creations of their children.

Though this famous toy was created back in the 40s it could be easily admitted that it reached its peak during the 80s and 90s. In 1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter in Denmark, with a lack of normal carpentry jobs, started producing toys, many of which were wooden pull toys. In 1934 the company was named LEGO after the phrase leg godt, meaning "play well" in Danish. Then in 1949 Lego started producing similar plastic bricks, called "Automatic Binding Bricks."

In 1958 the current type of bricks was designed, featuring a much more improved format to allowing a better binding ability as well as compatibility. Thus a 1958 brick can bind with a LEGO brick produced nowadays fitting exactly and tightly.

Since 1959 LEGO entered the international market selling its products in other countries including Norway, Germany, Switzerland and the UK. In 1961 started selling in the United States and Canada through a license agreement with Samsonite Corp. By 1968 the first theme park is opened in Billund, Denmark. In 1969 the Duplo system focused on younger children, which used larger bricks was launched. Later in 1974 the famous LEGO figures were introduced and by the second half of the 70s the most popular core themes were introduced, starting in 1977 with LEGO Town and Technic, in 1978 LEGO castle and space, and in 1979 Fabuland.

By the 80s LEGO touches its popularity peak in sales and growes to 5,000 employees worldwide in 1985. In 1980 according to a survey 70% of all Western European families with kids under fourteen owned LEGO bricks; in the United States, despite being lower the percentage was still very high. It was so popular that the LEGO Club was established in 1987. Later in 1989 a new theme was added, LEGO Pirates.

During the 90s the popularity keeps steadily high and by 1997 it s estimated that 180 billion Lego elements have been made and over 300 million people worldwide play with them.

During the 2000s the marketing system of LEGO changed and despite still creating basic sets, or LEGO City sets, they are less popular and the company is more focused on developing themed play sets based on popular films such as Star Wars, Toy Story or Harry Potter while lots of classic themes have been discontinued. The company has been also focused on the videogames format of LEGO bricks having released since 1997 over 35 games and more are to come in the future. Thus, LEGO too as in the case of so many other companies, during the last decade became more commercial.

So, though they were sort of expensive, children of the 80s could just go and buy loads of LEGO blocks, and make whatever they could dream up.

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