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January 28, 2008

Richard Florida

Happy Birthday, Lego!

« Can Obama Win | Main | Last Nite »

Today, the Lego Brick turns 50!  Looking pretty good for something that old.  Props to Google for celebrating the event with a special logo.

As something that has triggered almost as much creativity as the crayon and the empty  cardboard box, it's something worthy of a mention on this blog.

Lego factoids:

• There are about 62 LEGO bricks for every one of the world's 6 billion inhabitants.

• Children around the world spend 5 billion hours a year playing with LEGO bricks.

• More than 400 million people around the world have played with LEGO bricks.

• LEGO bricks are available in 53 different colors.

• 19 billion LEGO elements are produced every year.

• 2.16 million LEGO elements are molded every hour, or 36,000 per minute.

• More than 400 billion LEGO bricks have been produced since 1949.

• Two eight-stud LEGO bricks of the same color can be combined in 24 different ways.

• Three eight-stud bricks can be combined in 1,060 ways

See the full set and a cool Lego timeline here.

posted by Kevin Stolarick

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Comments

Alison

Long after our son has grown out of his prime Lego years, we still own about 100 people's allotment of Lego bricks. If you are one one of the 100, rest assured your bricks are safe and beloved.

We likely have your Playmobil, too.

Charlotta

LEGO just collaborated with George Lucas and Star Wars, resulting in two computer games for kids. It's all six episodes of Star Wars à la Lego. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia all in the shape of lego figures (Samuel L Jackson looks terrific :-). And the kids LOVE IT! We are experiencing a big time LEGO/Star Wars revival among the kids aged 5-10. What a smart and creative way of marketing the two for a younger generation!

MPS

Legos are awesome - I was blessed to have parents who recoginzed my interest (nearly an obsession, really) in them and kept giving them as gifts to me for years. In this day in age of 2-dimensional screen-based entertainment threatening to nearly monopolize children's time, the benefits of open-ended, tactile, 3-dimensional play cannot be emphasized enough. It certainly helped me in the engineering and planning field - they are wonderful toys for children growing up in a creative economy.

I will say I'm a bit disappointed that Lego has had to make deals with other brands like Star Wars, Thomas the Tank Engine, Harry Potter etc. When I was playing with them over 20 years ago, they were "pure" in the sense that they did not have any cross-branding and did not have as many specialized parts tailored to today's brands/themes, nor did they branch out to other media (there were no Lego Atari games back then, for example). However, I totally understand Lego's need to stay competitive, especially since they aren't particularly cheap. It's an acceptable adjustment ("necessary evil", if you will) in order keep Legos attractive to today's kids.

Matt

Totally agree with MPS about the number of specialized pieces they appear to use these days. Sure, there were always doors, windows, etc., but the purpose of most of the older pieces was left up to the child's imagination. They've proved extremely versatile -- e.g. the web is home to a huge number of stop-motion animation films done entirely with classic LEGO. It's a shame if today's LEGO has to be less open-ended to compete in the retail environment -- will the generation growing up with it today get as much of a creative boost?

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