*yawn* need coffee....must have coffee. Bee line to coffeeeeEEEEEOOWCH!
Do I even need to explain this one? I'd be willing to be every single one of you can look at that picture and rad that line and know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. And I bet you all have the indentations on your feet to prove it.
The year was 1932. A man in Denmark that had a name that I couldn't pronounce after 2 beers and one I'm certainly not going to try and spell sober, formed a company called 'Play Well'. He didn't actually pronounce it that way because he was a Dane, and those are English words. He pronounced it 'Leg Godt'. It was his intention to make quality toys that kids wanted to play with. And he did.
Now remember, it was the early 30's, so toys weren't as sophisticated as they are now. In fact, one of his top sellers was a duck on wheels that you pulled with a string. He also sold hoops you rolled with a stick, a cup with a ball on a string, and This sharp, squiggly thing made out of steel you were supposed to balance on your eye lids. It's no real surprise that the duck was a top seller.
Then, after World War Two, when all of Europe was rebuilding, he had an idea; this would be a perfect time to knock down that one wall between the kitchen and dining room and really open up the space. He would also design a new toy that would allow kids to take part in building as well.
Building toys at the time were mostly wooden blocks that were susceptible to older siblings knocking down. Whole afternoons of work could be destroyed in mere moments. And the war had given people enough of that. There were other building sets, like the American Erector Set, which used nuts and screws to hod metal parts together. But he wasn't too keen on that idea. He had purchased a set to test it and found the little nuts were easily lost and that they were often found in the dark of night when you stepped on them.
Finally in 1958 he had his final product. The Lego brick.
But you all know this. So why am I telling you? Because today is Made Up Monday! I tell you something and you tell me if I made it up or if it's the truth.
Now, put your thinking hats on because here we go.
The idea for Lego bricks wasn't an entirely new idea. Making them out of plastic was new. And the final design was new. But they were based on another toy called 'Bricklies'. Bricklies were a sort of proto-Lego that came from England. They first hit the toy stores in the late 1890's, and they were made of wood.
An enterprising furniture maker found that with the advent of the industrial revolution, his automated machines gave him some free time, and a lot of little scraps. He cut a few scraps into equal lengths, and then carved out four square tenons on the corners on the tops, and four square mortices on the bottoms. This allowed the blocks to be connected together. He then expanded on his idea and made six and eight post blocks as well. He gave some to his workers to let their kids play with them, and promptly forgot about them.
That is, until his workers came back and said their kids were in love with the blocks! They allowed for more fantastic structures because of the way they locked together. So he created a few jigs for his wood cutting machines and started mass producing them. He sold them in buckets and it seemed that kids couldn't get enough of them.
Until 1914. When war came, many businesses closed down because the owners and workers were swept up in patriotic fervor and joined the army to go beat the hun. The early days of the war were some of the bloodiest battles fought, and casualties on both sides were heavy. Amongst the casualties was the owner of the furniture factory where Bricklies were produced.
As the war progressed, the people who took over the factory retooled to produce war materiel. Furniture wasn't needed as much as Sopwith Camels were. After the war, the economy was bad enough that when the factory retooled to furniture, it was all they could do to make a profit, and the jigs to make Bricklies were either lost or destroyed. Those machines went back to producing something people needed.
As the years went on, the remaining Bricklies were lost, broken, or just thrown out when kids got too old to play with them. Although some survived and found their way into new hands. And some of those hands were the Danish toymaker who owned Leg Godt. But before he could really do anything with the design, war came to Europe again. The idea to improve the design and start producing them had to wait.
After the war, when he was trying to come up with a new building toy, he thought back to Bricklies. But he also thought he could make them better. The tenons right at the edge of the block tended to either break off, or wear out. And the square shape made for sharp edges. And wood didn't seem to hold up well with multiple building/destruction cycles. A new materiel, plastic, was being used in production, and it was used with a new design for a brick where the tenons were round and set more towards the center of the brick.
The world finally had the Lego brick. And feet everywhere have rued the day....
So my little pipsqueeks, truth or falsehood? Did Kirk Kristiansen get the idea for Lego bricks from a little known English toy called Bricklies?
I'll tell you what. You think on it, post your choice, and I'll return in the morning to tell you the truth. Toodles!