I'm sure that, like me, the vast majority of our readers grew up playing with LEGOs without a second thought about the origin of the beloved building toy. It so happens that 2012 marks the 80th anniversary of the Danish company, and they've produced an animated history of the company, which hit the web over the weekend.
The LEGO Group can look back onto an impressive success story: in 1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen founded a production company for wooden toys in the Danish city of Billund. His central idea was, "Only the best is good enough." The motto stayed, but other than that, a lot changed. The company has moved from the originally small workshop back in 1932, to become the third largest producer of play materials in the world. It is currently represented in more than 130 countries with approx. 10,000 employees. The name "LEGO" comes from the two Danish words "leg" and "godt," which translates to "play well"...
The triumph of the LEGO Group started almost fifteen years after the foundation of the company, when Ole Kirk Christiansen discovered that plastic was the ideal material for toy production. At the end of the 1940s, the first bricks hit the market, which resemble the modern classic of today. In 1958 Christiansen perfected the LEGO brick with the familiar knobs-and-tubes-connecting-system, which is what the now 3120 different LEGO elements are still based on. LEGO bricks can be combined in an endless variety of combinations in continuously new ways. For six bricks of the same color with 2×4 studs alone, there are 915 million combination possibilities. The imagination has therefore no boundaries.
The 17-minute short, narrated by founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen's grandson Kjeld, is dense with LEGO's backstory, yet easy to watch as the animated Christiansen family perseveres through trials and tribulations over the years to build a successful company (IDers might also be interested to see the accurately depicted mid-century machinery).