What is LEGO?
LEGO (trademarked in capitals as LEGO) is a 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 colorful 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. The toys were originally designed in the 1940s in Denmark and have achieved an international appeal, with an extensive subculture that supports Lego movies, games, video games, competitions, and four Lego themed amusement parks.
The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (7 April 1891 – 11 March 1958), 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 the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks". These bricks were based largely on the patent of Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were released in the United Kingdom 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, 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.
The Lego Group's motto is det bedste er ikke for godt which means 'only the best is good enough'. This motto was created by Ole Kirk to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. The motto is still used within the company today. The use of plastic for toy manufacture was not highly regarded by retailers and consumers of the time. Many of the Lego Group's shipments were returned after poor sales; it was thought that plastic toys could never replace wooden ones.
By 1954 Christiansen's son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that struck the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their locking ability was limited and they were not very versatile. In 1958 the modern brick design was developed but it took another five years to find the right material for it. The modern Lego brick was patented at 1:58 p.m on January 28, 1958;bricks from that year are still compatible with current bricks.
Shamelessly stolen from Wetwired's OP for the last Lego thread.
Click the logo to be taken to the Lego home page for the theme.
All currently available Lego themes
In addition to all the regular themes, Lego also has sets and sub themes aimed at adult fans of Lego (AFOL) and those with deeper pockets.
Ultimate Collector Series
Once reserved for just Star Wars, the UCS series has branched out into Super Hero territory and beyond in the past couple of years. Featuring absolutely massive and intricate builds, these sets are made to be displayed with pride.
They are also on the pricier side, ranging anywhere from $200-$500+ a pop.
Modular Buildings: Prices range from $150-$300 MSRP
Released at a rate of one per year for the last several years, the modular buildings are designed to mimic buildings seen on a normal downtown street. Beginning with Cafe Corner, a new building was released each year to keep the street growing. Beginning with Green Grocer (now OOP), the buildings started to feature extensive interior details. Like the UCS sets, these tend to spike in price once going out of print.
These sets also feature a fantastic price per brick ratio, as sets average 2000+ pieces for only $150-$200. The newest Modular, Assembly Square, was their biggest and most expensive yet.
Lego Creator Expert: Prices range from $80 MSRP and up
From miniature modular buildings to the Ferrari. From Winter Cottages to Tower Bridge. These sets, usually identified by their blue boxes, are timed exclusives to Lego stores and feature very detailed builds and high piece counts. These sets also spike in price in the after market after going out of print.
One of the most iconic pieces of Lego, and what helps drive the collector craze. Not only do many sets come with unique mini figures, but Lego also releases a line of unique figures. Each series consists of 16 different figures, and it is a mystery as to what you get in each package.
Or is it? Many figure out tricks to decipher which figure is in which bag. One method is to know the dot code that is embossed on the packaging itself. This one is a bit trickier than the good ole feel method. Just feel the bag to figure out which figure is inside. The trick is to feel for unique pieces to certain figures, such as the unique wings that are on the Man Bat figure show above, or Santa's sack of toys. Is it an exact science? No, but it will help you get the figures you want to complete your collection.
There is also an active community in here for trading figures among users.
Wanting to display your mini figures? Our very own Wetwired, Lego Nut Extraordinaire has one of the coolest methods for displaying your collection:
Wetwired's Flickr Gallery of Minifigures
The frames are IKEA Ribba Frames.