These speak as they eat, and in fact they eat very badly, they are convinced that a tutorial is enough to build a Spaceship, and they pretend not to see, and they pretend to know that it is Men, Women and Men … Here they are men, women and men, and while their hearts overflow with love they just tell us to start building and telling the world in new words, begging those who come from the sea to draw the boundary between good and bad, if there really is still a line between good and evil… The name “LEGO” is an abbreviation of the two Danish words “leg godt“, which means “play well“. It is their name and it is their ideal. The LEGO group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. The company has passed from father to son and is now owned by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, grandson of the founder.
It all began way back in 1932…
Ole Kirk Kristiansen, master carpenter, sets up his business in the village of Billund, Denmark. His company produces wooden ladders, ironing boards, stools and toys. His son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, began working in the company at the age of 12.
The company and its products adopt the LEGO name, formed from the Danish words “LEg GOdt” (Play Well). Later, they will understand that in Latin the word means “I have put together”. The company has 6-7 employees.
The company produces its first wooden LEGO duck and markets “Kirk’s sand play” its first construction toy, a LEGO duck and a clothes hanger designed by Dagny Holm.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (GKC) cuts out Ole Kirk’s motto “Only the best is good enough” and hangs it up in the workshop. Numskull Jack on the goat is also born.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen starts making models. He is 17 years old.
The LEGO factory has 10 employees.
Denmark is occupied by the Germans. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen does not travel to Germany to study as planned. Instead, he becomes manager at LEGO.
The LEGO factory burns, but the production of wooden toys quickly resumes.
The company has about 40 employees.
The LEGO group is the first in Denmark to purchase a plastic injection molding machine for the production of toys. The car costs 30,000 Danish Kroner. By comparison, the company’s revenue that year was 450,000 Danish crowns. This year the first wooden bricks with decorations such as letters and figures were born.
The Windsor SH plastic molding machine arrives at the port of Esbjerg. As a test, six series of wooden toy animals are exported to India. They then produce a plastic ball for babies and the educational board game on traffic “Monypoli”.
LEGO has 50 employees and produces the Tiddlywinks game.
The company produces about 200 different plastic and wooden toys, including Automatic Binding Bricks with four and eight studs, the forerunners of today’s LEGO bricks, but sold exclusively in Denmark. The first pack with four colors, the first plastic fish and the first plastic sailor is presented.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen, is named Junior Vice President the day he turns 30. Three sets containing plastic bricks aimed at nursery schools are born.
The first ever LEGO movie was shot. The photographer is Christian Lund and the film is in black and white with no sound. Plastic toys represent half of the company’s production and the base of the building comes out with 10 × 20 studs and the plastic tractor (Ferguson), both as a construction set and as a finished model.
Ole Kirk intends to expand and another plant is built at a cost of 350,000 DKK to build large plastic and wooden machines. The company now has its first canteen.
The automatic binding bricks take a new name: “LEGO Mursten” (LEGO bricks). The LEGO name is printed on the inside of all the bricks and the trademark is registered for the first time and the registration in Denmark is accepted on 10 May 1954. “Gift boxes” are produced containing a Chevrolet plastic construction car and Plastic ambulances.
The word LEGO is officially registered in Denmark on May 1st. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen travels to England and meets a buying agent on a ferry. They talk about toys. The agent thinks that toys have no possibility of developing Ideas and a “System”. This generates the idea of ??the LEGO SYSTEM in the mind of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen. Beam brick, LEGO windows and doors come to life.
After developing the LEGO bricks, the company launches the revolutionary “LEGO System of Play”, creating a new play platform. The first real export of LEGO begins. The first country is Sweden, then Godtfred Kirk Christiansen presents the new product at a toy fair in Nuremberg, Germany and the reactions are not positive. The LEGO System consists of 28 sets and 8 vehicles plus various additional elements.
The first foreign sales company is founded in Hohenwestedt, Germany, under the name of LEGO Spielwaren GmbH. The company buys its first truck and produces small plastic figures of cyclists and motorcyclists. There is only one road in Hohenwestedt in those days and the cyclists were probably already in the middle of it! …of the journey of our life !!
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen is appointed Chief Executive Officer. LEGO Schweiz is founded. The LEGO group celebrates its 25th anniversary and invents international and Danish flags and a LEGO brick with light inside.
The current LEGO stud-tube attachment system is patented. The new coupling principle makes the models much more stable. – Ole Kirk Kristiansen dies – The first Telex machine (TELeprinter EXchange – telecommunication system) and the photocopier in Billund, which now houses 140 employees, are purchased. They produce the new sloping tile bricks and bricks to make up the letters.
Futura, the product development department, now has five staff members, a market analysis department and a photography department are established. LEGO France, LEGO England, LEGO Belgium and LEGO Sweden are born. The machines in production are now so autonomous that one operator can manage two machines at a time. LEGO offers the municipality of Billund about 20 acres of land at a cost of 50,000 Danish crowns to build a sports field for young people. Bilo-fix comes out in wood and plastic.
The warehouse of wooden toys is destroyed by a fire. The wood production is completely stopped while in Billund there are about 450 employees… LEGO Finland and LEGO Netherlands are founded and toys developed the Numero bricks and a new plan of the cardboard.
The LEGO range includes 50 sets, 15 vehicles and various bulk items, sales started in the US and Canada through a licensing agreement with Samsonite Corp. It is LEGO’s first-ever big hit. LEGO Italy is founded. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen buys a small Piper Apache plane (space for two pilots and three passengers) in association with Sonderjyllands Flyselskab (which will later become Cimber Air). A landing field is just outside Billund. The main sets bring big cities to life and are produced for kindergarten, Terapi 1, 2 and 3. LEGO products finally arrive in the United States.
LEGO is launched after being worked in 1958 and sales begin in Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Morocco and Japan. The first personnel manager was hired and the evaluation line was created, which was then launched in Denmark the following year.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen presents the company with 10 guidelines for future LEGO products:
- Unlimited play;
- For girls and boys;
- Fun for all ages;
- I play it all year round;
- Healthy and quiet play;
- Long hours of play;
- Development of imagination and creativity;
- The more LEGO, the higher the value;
- Tax extra availability;
- Quality in every detail;
The LEGO elements are now molded in ABS, a plastic that improves the power of the clutch, there are large and small wheels and rotating tables. LEGO Austria is founded and the purchasing department is created. INTERLEGO AG is registered in Switzerland. Opening the airport in Billund and the first international corporate film is produced, “Mr. Johnson from Australia “.
Model sets, complete with building instructions, launch as a natural addition to existing base sets and supplements. The first sales arrive from the Middle East (Lebanon). LEGO bricks are exhibited worldwide in the Danish pavilion at the New York Fair. The LEGO Werkzeugbau GmbH production plant in Hohenwehenstedt, Germany opens. This year, LEGO models of cars and Jumbo bricks were created, the latter produced by Samsonite in the United States.
First sales in Spain and Billund has more than 600 employees, tiles and some doll furniture sets are produced.
The product range includes 57 sets and 25 vehicles including the new battery-powered LEGO train, and comes a light brick with wire and light. During that year, 706 million LEGO elements were produced, sold in 42 countries around the world.
The musical band at LEGOLAND is established. There are now 218 different LEGO elements (not counting color variations) and between 18 and 19 million LEGO sets are sold throughout the year. The small wheel for small cars is invented, launched in 1970, the Biplane and the set of a motorized truck.
In Billund LEGOLAND opens its doors on 7 June and attracts 625,000 visitors in its first season, 3,000 on opening day. The first computer in the LEGO group arrives, an NCR 390 for payroll administration. The car costs 85,000 Danish Kroner. First sales in Latin America come the first directional exchange for trains and a new Jeep project by Kjeld Kirk Kristen himself.
DUPLO series for minors was launched internationally, there are 843 employees in Billund. The first LEGOLAND movie and DUPLO bricks are released, the 12 volt motor joins the Train sets and the tires for the LEGO cars are now made of PVC.
There are 1000 employees at LEGO in Billund. The first prototype of an adding machine arrives, a colored electromechanical calculator, the first cogwheels and LEGO Impulse boxes for cars appear.
First sales in the Far East while the new molding plant in Højmarksvej in Billund is inaugurated. Dollhouse elements are introduced including furniture and the “Let’s Play With LEGO” inspirational book.
The licensing agreement with Samsonite ends in the United States. The Information and Public Relations Department is established. 1.8 billion LEGO bricks and other items will be produced that year. First sales in the Czech Republic. Some new cars at LEGOLAND and the relaunched 4.5V Train appeared.
A single new LEGO logo replaces the various logos that have been used until now. The new LEGO logo unites all of the company’s products under one banner. First sales in Hungary and establishment of LEGO USA in Brookfield, Connecticut. German psychologist Karin Grossmann writes the book “Mach mehr aus LEGO” based on a study of 200 children and their play with LEGO bricks. LEGOLAND Sierksdorf opens near Lübeck, Germany. New ships and dollhouse units are created, along with furniture components, and the London bus.
LEGO Spain, LEGO Futura ApS is founded. LEGO Overseas A / S established. The Mount Rushmore replica was created in LEGOLAND Park and LEGOLAND Park in Billund receives its 5 millionth visitor. The Esso Motor Hotel, built in 1968 in Billund, is purchased and the name is changed to Hotel Vis-a-Vis. New pieces produced are the LEGO family figures, other new cars and the trailer.
LEGO USA moves from Brookfield to Enfield, Connecticut. Sourcing is established in the United States, now the LEGO group has 2,500 employees. LEGO Portugal is founded. English becomes the official language of the company. The LEGO Expert series is born, the Moon landing set and the Fire Truck with what will later become the first Minifigure, the latter however will be launched 3 years later.
LEGOLAND Sieksdorf closes. Sculptor Robert Jacobsen’s “LEGO” sculpture is revealed in Billund, and Minitalia which was presented in Italy in 1971 is removed from the product line. LEGO VILLE and a Harley Davidson motorcycle appear.
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, from the third generation, joins the management of the LEGO Group. LEGO Australia is founded. The DUPLO factory in Billund is now an independent unit of the LEGO group and produces doors, windows and “symbol” figures of DUPLO without arms and legs. The LEGO TECHNICs are coming.
The “System within a system” is introduced, the development model of Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen which divides production into product ranges and lines. The DUPLO Rabbit logo is displayed. The first LEGO Road Show takes place in Dayton, Ohio, and later, this becomes the LEGO World Show. LEGO Japan is founded and the first fax is purchased at a cost of 68,000 Danish crowns. LEGOLAND Minifigures with movable arms and legs, baseplates with road markings, the USS Constallation Ship and the Castle are born.
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen is appointed President and CEO of INTERLEGO A / S. The DUPLO rabbit logo is registered as a trademark. LEGO Singapore is founded and Godtfred Kirk Christiansen is named a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog. This year sees the global launch of LEGOLAND Space, FABULAND, SCALA and the DUPLO Box-House.
The Department of Educational Products is established. The Technic logo is developed by Papermint and according to a survey, 70% of all Western European families with children under the age of 14 now have LEGO bricks in their home. DUPLOs with sound elements, pull-along models tied to a rope and rocking toys for the little ones appear.
The first LEGO World Show begins in Denmark and there is now a street in honor of LEGO in Hohenwestedt, Germany. A new plant for decoration, assembly, packaging and storage is opened in Baar, Switzerland but closes in 2001. The Scala Line, introduced in 1979, is canceled. The Elephant Edward arrives in FABULAND and the Educational Program consisting of 22 boxes is born.
LEGO South Africa is founded and the LEGO Fiction department is created. The LEGO group celebrates its 50th anniversary with all Billund employees and the book “50 Years of Play” is launched. The new products concern the didactic and educational material consisting of the DUPLO Mosaic and Technic 1.
LEGO has 3,700 employees worldwide and LEGO Overseas holds its first World Distributor Conference in Billund. The DUPLO Baby series arrives in the LEGO catalog which includes 6 rattles, large DUPLO figures with movable arms and legs, the DUPLO Train and the FABULAND Books.
LEGO Brazil and LEGO Korea are founded together with McDonald’s co-promotion in the United States and Canada. The American, the TYCO brick, is launched in Hong Kong, which has led to lawsuits in several countries. The LEGOLAND Castle series is born and the crocodile Clive arrives in FABULAND.
The LEGO award is founded in April. It is an annual international award of DK 750,000 (increased to DK1,000,000 in 1989) for outstanding efforts on behalf of children. Korea procurement department is established. LEGO has around 5,000 employees, 3,000 of them in Billund. The collaboration with Professor Seymour Papert and the Boston M.I.T. begins. In 1985, the DUPLO farm, the LEGO Technic Control for educational purposes and a new range of LEGO trains arrive.
The LEGO group gets the title of “supplier to her majesty the queen” on April 16 (which is her majesty’s birthday queen Margrethe of Denmark). Godtfred Kirk Christiansen steps down as chairman of the board of directors of LEGO System A / S and LEGO Overseas and takes over from Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. LEGO Fiction becomes LEGO Publishing. New products include the DUPLO family, including the dog, the Technic line figure, lights and sounds, and the Technic Computer Control, again for educational purposes.
The brick logo was developed, nearly 6,000 employees work at LEGO, and LEGO products now sell in 115 markets. The LEGO office in South Africa is closed. Korean mountaineer Young-Hu buries a small LEGO model on top of Mount Everst in the Himalayas. The historical collection of the LEGO (LEGO Idea House), founded in 1980, becomes an independent unit under KIRKBI A / S, is then transferred to LEGO A / S in 1991. The LEGOs and DUPLOs are sold in buckets, a Monorail appears at LEGOLAND and the DUPLO Baby board game.
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen presents the vision of the LEGO Group and the first LEGO World Cup, the first official building championships, is held in Billund in August. The Kornmarken factory opens and LEGO Canada is founded. At the same time, the “The Art of LEGO” exhibition is touring the UK. The Circus DUPLO sets, the DUPLO Plane, the Forest and Black Star set from LEGO and LEGO clothing are born.
The educational products department changes its name to LEGO Dacta. The word “dacta” comes from the Greek word “didactic”, which means “the study of the purpose, means and substance of learning and the learning process”. Dr. Seymour Papert becomes a LEGO learning research professor and consequently the first LEGO Dacta Center opens in LEGOLAND, later renamed TECHNIC LAND after a couple of years. Ole Kirk Kristiansen is inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the Pirates set is born.
The LEGO Group is now one of the 10 largest toy manufacturers in the world, the only one in Europe, the others are American and Japanese. The magical goal of one million visitors in just one year is reached for the first time at LEGOLAND Billund on 4 September. Godtfred Kirk Kristiansen, son of the company founder, celebrates his 70th birthday on 6 July. LEGO Malaysia is founded. LEGO Publishing has been renamed LEGO Licensing and the LEGOLAND gang releases an LP. Professor Xavier Gilbet, IMD, Switzerland, is appointed Professor of LEGO, Business Dynamics. This year sees the birth of the DUPLO Zoo, the Model Team line, the LEGO TECHNIC control center and the LEGO Dacta composition kit.
The Vis-a-Vis Hotel in Billund has been renovated and renamed the LEGOLAND Hotel. LEGO has 7,550 employees. The number of molding machines in the five LEGO factories reaches 1,000 units. Various new products are launched including, the Port theme from the LEGO Town line, Ships, elements of the Technic Flex system and the 9V Train controlled by the Travo remote control.
A Guinness record is set in the construction of railway lines: 545 meters of LEGO track with 3 models of locomotive. The largest LEGO castle in the world is built on Swedish television. Over 400,000 LEGO bricks are transformed into a 4.45m x 5.22m castle, rightfully entering the Guinness Book of Records. The second LEGO World Cup final is held in Billund in August, with 32 children from 11 countries around the world participating. LEGO Japan and LEGO Hungary are founded. For the first time, LEGO products are being introduced on a large scale in the People’s Republic of China while the first LEGO show is taking place in Russia. The LEGO Imagination Center is open in the Mall of America in Blomington, Minneapolis, USA. The LEGO Town Paradisa Theme, the LEGO DUPLO Toolo and Truck with pneumatic elements from Technic are born.
A LEGO building is built on Moscow’s Red Square in collaboration with the GUM department store. A 60,000m2 DUPLO factory is opened in Willisau, Switzerland but the plant closes in 2006. LEGO South Africa is reopened and the launch of LEGO children’s clothing takes place. The Frozen Planet 2002, the Technic Forklift, the LEGO DUPLO 4.5-V Train with a new system of tracks and sounds and the basic Brick Vac of the LEGO SYSTEM are born.
LEGO Mexico is founded and the first ever TV campaign appears on Chinese TV. UNHCR uses LEGO mini-figures on posters around the world and the “Space Travel”, organized by LEGO USA, opens in the Space Center in Houston. Email is used between LEGO Japan and Billund. The Billund LEGO Center opens and now LEGO has 8,880 employees worldwide. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen is made a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog. In the LEGO catalog Belville, Islanders from the LEGO Pirates line, the SuperCar from LEGO TECHNIC, Spyrius from the LEGO Spazio line and the DUPLO House.
Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of the company founder, dies on 13 July. LEGO Belgium and LEGO Netherlands merge into the LEGO Benelux. Weekly LEGO programs are broadcast on national television in Latvia and Lithuania, LEGO events and exhibitions in Latvia, Peru, Hungary, Switzerland, Denmark, Greenland, the United States, Canada, Italy and Ecuador. New pieces are the LEGO DUPLO PRIMO, the LEGO FreeStyle, the LEGO SYSTEM Aquazone, the LEGO TECHNIC Control II and the DUPLO Play Books.
Lego.com is launched. LEGOLAND Windsor, the first LEGOLAND family park outside of Denmark, opens on 29 March. A new development department, SPU Darwin, is established. His work includes software development based on and related to LEGO products. LEGOLAND Billund has now counted 25 million visitors since its opening in 1968. The new LEGO Truck Show kicks off. The LEGO Award is given to actor Paul Newman and the organization “The Hole in the Wall Gang”. The Time Machine and the Western set are made for the LEGO SYSTEM, Exploriens for the LEGO SYSTEM Spazio and the LEGO Clicks children’s magazine launched in France and Switzerland.
For the first time, a CD-ROM containing building instructions is included in a LEGO set. The set also contains a series of barcodes with a programmable barcode reader. On October 13, a 700m2 LEGO Imagination Center opens at Disney Village, Florida. The first LEGO MINDSTORMS Learning Center opens at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, United States. The PRIMO and DUPLO names are changed to LEGO PRIMO and LEGO DUPLO on January 1st. Consumer Service Center and Consumer Service Center in America are established. LEGO is entering the Kremlin Palace, Moscow, attended by over 300,000 children. The LEGO Kids Wear store opens on Oxford Street in London. The LEGO SCALA for dolls, the Underwater theme of the LEGO SYSTEM and the Bat Castle for the Castle line, the UFO Boxes for the LEGO SYSTEM Spazio, the LEGO Island software, the LEGO DUPLO Dinosaurs and the LEGO TECHNIC Yellow Submarine are born.
The “Just Imagine …” brand statement was introduced into the LEGO universe. For the first time ever, the LEGO Group is in deficit. In April the new LEGO logo is presented, it is a graphically “narrow” version of the logo used in the last 25 years. In May, there is an urgent recall of the LEGO PRIMO ladybug crackle from end consumers and retailers after it was discovered that there is a risk that it could affect the throats of young children. LEGO Media International begins collaboration with the Danish group Egmont for the publication of children’s books. The New Generation Forum is established. Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visit LEGOLAND Billund. This year sees the birth of the LEGO MINDSTORMS, the LEGO TECHNIC CyberMaster, 8 new LEGO PRIMO, Res-Q and X-Treme sets for the LEGO SYSTEM, ZNAP, LEGO Mudhoppers clothing for children and software for the LEGO Creator, for LEGO Chess and for LEGO Loco.
LEGOLAND California opens in Carlsbad, Southern California in March. The LEGO group is undergoing a restructuring, the changes result in the loss of 1000 jobs. Mitchel Resnick of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has been named the new LEGO Papert learning research professor. The LEGO brick is named as one of the “Products of the Century” by Fortune magazine. LEGO World Shop appears on the internet as the first LEGO products-only store opens in the center of Bluewater in Dartford, London, England. New items for the turn of the millennium are the LEGO MINDSTORMS 1.5 Robotics Invention System, the LEGO SYSTEM Star Wars and Rockraiders set, Winnie the Pooh and Friends for the LEGO DUPLO, LEGO TECHNIC Sledges and two educational programs called ROBOLAB and LEGO Soft.
The company’s mission and core beliefs have been revised “Children are our role models …” The British Association of Toy Retailers names the LEGO brick “Toy of the Century”. The LEGO group reaches its budget surplus of DKK 500 million and employees are rewarded with a bonus and a global party, meanwhile the LEGO group signs a partnership agreement with Warner Bros. related to the launch of LEGO products based on the magical universe of Harry Potter. The LEGO factory opens in Kladno, Czech Republic but the LEGO group still has a deficit of 1 billion Danish crowns. The LEGO & Steven Spielberg MovieMaker Set for the LEGO Studios, the decorative foam for the LEGO SCALA line, the Formula 1 silver champion car and the catapult for the LEGO TECHNIC, the LEGO MyBot, the LEGO Calcio, the musical apple appear. and the LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System 2.0, released only in Japan.
LEGO My World receives a major award in Germany for the best software learning product at the Frankfurt Book Fair. The LEGO Mindstorms robot “Jitter” is sent into orbit around the earth in the International Space Station. LEGO Serious Play was unveiled in the fall and this time around the deficit is being turned into profit again for the LEGO Group. The LEGO BIONICLE appear, also for PC and Nintendo in the form of a video game, the Dolls of the LEGO DUPLO, the LEGO Builder Bob, LEGO Harry Potter, the figure of Jack Stone, the Alpha Team, the software for the LEGO My World, the software for LEGO Island 2 The Brickster Revenge and LEGO MINDSTORMS Robotics Invention System 2.0 is released in the rest of the world.
The “Play On” brand declaration replaces “Just Imagine…“. The LEGO DUPLO brand is replaced by the LEGO EXPLORE brand which covers all pre-school activities. LEGO stores open in Cologne, Germany in September, Milton Keynes, England in November, and Moscow, Russia in December. LEGOLAND Deutschland opens in Günzbrug, Germany. The music composer and the music reel for LEGO EXPLORE, the LEGO Island Extreme Stunts with PlayStation game, the Williams F1 race, Galidor and SpyBotics are born.
The LEGO Group signs the United Nations Global Compact initiative. For LEGO minifigures that represent real-life people or characters from books, movies or TV series, the yellow face coloring is replaced by a more authentic skin color, facial expression and hair style. The first BIONICLE movie, Mask of Light, is released and proves to be a huge success. The LEGO Expedition to the East and CLIKITS, the new design system for girls, are here.
In January, the LEGO Group announces its 2003 results, a huge deficit. Owner and CEO Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen leads the construction of an action plan to revive the company. In October he appoints Jørgen Vig Knudstorp as the company’s new CEO, but the year ends with another huge deficit due to severe devaluations. The LEGO Group and Ferrari launch an agreement to create some LEGO sets based on the iconic racing cars. The DUPLO brand is restarted following consumer requests. LEGO Factory launches on LEGO.com allowing you to create your own LEGO model and purchase the necessary elements to build it. The LEGO Ferrari and the LEGO Racing Off-Road Vehicle come to life.
LEGOLAND parks are sold to Merlin Entertainments and the parent company of the LEGO group, KIRKBI, buys a share of them. Today KIRKBI owns about one third of the Merlin Entertainments. The LEGO group registers a profit again, the company is back on track. CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp launches a five-year strategic plan, a vision shared by the LEGO group which in turn creates its own LEGO Ambassador program to create closer ties between the company and LEGO fans. New products are the LEGO Vikings, the Exo-Force, DINO 2010 and some LEGO sets for drawing.
LEGO has 4922 employees and the LEGO Group announces plans to outsource major parts of production to external partners. The LEGO plant in Willisau in Switzerland closes. LEGO.com records on average over 8 million aggregate daily unique visitors per month, who spend an average of around 28 minutes on the site. CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp publicly announces the shared vision, an action plan for the company through 2010. MINDSTORMS NXT, a significantly improved new version of the LEGO robotic system and the Parcheesi board game, is launched.
The LEGO Group, in good shape, celebrates its 75th anniversary on 10 August. The LEGO Club has around 2.6 million members. All distribution for the European and Asian markets is collected in a distribution center in the Czech Republic. The LEGO Group enters into a licensing agreement with Lucasfilm Inc. for the production of Indiana Jones LEGO sets. The Millennium Falcon LEGO Star Wars is the largest LEGO model ever designed so far weighing 6 kilos and with 5,195 parts included. The Power Functions of the electric building system are born, and the LEGO Aqua Raiders.
The LEGO brick celebrates its 50th anniversary. While maintaining production at sites in Eastern Europe, Mexico and Denmark, the LEGO Group decides to resume most of its production so that the majority of LEGO products are produced in-house. The Taj Mahal is launched, containing the largest number of bricks assembled so far, 5,922 bricks. LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen was inducted into the US Toy Industry Hall of Fame. The lines of LEGO Indiana Jones and LEGO Agents are produced.
The LEGO Group is now the world’s fifth largest toy manufacturer in terms of sales. Warner Bros. and the LEGO Group announce their intention to develop the first feature film based on LEGO bricks and icons. The LEGO Group announces a multi-year partnership with Disney Consumer Products by obtaining exclusive rights to construction toys based on the entire portfolio owned by Disney and Disney Pixar. An entirely new product line, LEGO Games, is launched. The line consists of a series of board games that can be played by the whole family. Pilot launch takes place in the UK and Germany. The rest of the world will follow. LEGO Power Miners makes an appearance.
The online game LEGO Universe is launched. The largest LEGO mosaic in the world is assembled in London. Measuring 15.3 x 6.4 meters and made up of 384,000 LEGO bricks and 1500 building plates, the motif consists of several Star Wars figures. New products are the LEGO Prince of Persia and LEGO Atlantis.
LEGOLAND Florida opens, the largest LEGOLAND park of all in the world. The LEGO group launches its first “Life of George” appcessory. The LEGO Group is now the world’s third largest toy manufacturer in terms of sales and adds LEGO Technic Unimog, LEGO NINJAGO and LEGO Alien Conquest to its catalog.
Organizational change is intensified to prepare the LEGO Group for future growth and to make it more adaptable and competitive. Company management changes from 6 to 22 people. The LEGO Universe closes, as does DesignbyME, because the two product lines are not sustainable. LEGO Education becomes a separate subsidiary under LEGO A / S. LEGO Friends is born, a new line aimed at girls aged 5 to 8.
The LEGO Group continues its growth and presents strong annual results of 2012, having nearly tripled sales in 2007. LEGO MINDSTORMS celebrates its 15th birthday and launches its third generation: LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3, powered by the new EV3 smart brick. The LEGO Group opens a sales office in Beijing, China and a new main office in Singapore while the LEGO brand retail store number 100 opens in White Plains, United States. This year also sees the creation of the LEGO Legends of Chima and the LEGO Ranger Lone in collaboration with Disney.
In early February, The LEGO Movie premieres in several countries. The film is written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller and produced by Warner Brothers. It is the first time that the LEGO universe has been portrayed in a film. As part of the company’s expansion strategy and global presence, the LEGO Group announces in addition to its headquarters in Billund (Denmark), its headquarters in London, England, Enfield in the USA, Singapore and Shanghai in China. Strong growth continues and the LEGO Group has very satisfying annual results for 2013. In less than 10 years, the company has quadrupled its revenue. The LEGO name celebrates its 80th birthday. In 1934, the founder of the company, Ole Kirk Kristiansen, launched a competition to find a suitable name for the company. He won the competition himself by combining the first two letters of the words LEg and GOdt to create the name “LEGO“. LEGO Mixels, LEGO Juniors and LEGO Disney Princess products are born.
The LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation have entered into a three-year partnership with UNICEF to protect children’s rights and change the way children learn. The offshore wind farm, Borkum Riffgrund 1, of which 32% is owned by the LEGO Group, opened in October. LEGO products are now sold in over 140 countries around the world. The first bricks are printed in the new LEGO Group factory in Jiaxing, China. The first packaging lines were put into operation in September and the first box packed in Jiaxing was the LEGO CITY police station. New products this year are LEGO Dimensions, LEGO Elves, the relaunched LEGO BIONICLE, and LEGO Jurassic World.
The number of employees exceeds 18,000 and represents more than 70 nationalities. In August, the LEGO group organizes the first PLAY DAY in which all company employees at all LEGO locations leave their desks and play for four hours. Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and Thomas Kirk Kristiansen inform of the gradual generational change taking place in the owner’s family. Thomas takes over as president of the LEGO Foundation and vice president of LEGO A / S. The LEGO factory in Jiaxing, China is officially open. In December, it is announced that Jørgen Vig Knudstorp will take up the position of CEO, replacing Bali Padda. Going forward, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp will support active family ownership as the working chair of the board of directors at LEGO A / S, among many things. LEGO Nexo Knights come to life.
Annual revenue grows by 6%. Starting in April, former LEGO Group CFO John Goodwin is the new CEO of the LEGO Foundation. In August and September, the LEGO Group celebrates its 85th Anniversary with Play Day activities and parties at all LEGO locations around the world. The LEGO House, Casa del Mattoncino, will open on 28 September. Among other things, guests can admire the Tree of Creativity, which is the largest LEGO model to date built with over 6.3 million LEGO elements. A one-of-a-kind LEGO logo measuring 2 × 2 meters is made with over 1.6 million LEGO elements and is visible at the entrance to the historical collection. On 1 October Niels B. Christiansen takes over in Bali Padda as CEO of the LEGO Group. LEGO BrickHeadz and LEGO BOOST are born.
2018 marks an anniversary where the LEGO brick celebrates its 60th anniversary, LEGOLAND Billund turns 50, and the LEGO minifigures celebrate its 40th anniversary. It is now possible for younger children to code with LEGO elements. With the launch of two LEGO DUPLO trains and an associated app, trains can be programmed to drive, brake, turn on the lights and change direction. Following the launch of the LEGO Technic Bugatti Chiron, a full-size Bugatti Chiron is built with over 1 million LEGO Technic elements and without glue. And it is possible to drive it! The largest mosaic in the world is assembled in the LEGO House. It measures 12×14 meters and is made up of over 650,000 LEGO elements. The first sustainable LEGO bricks are made of plastic granules, an extract from sugar cane, thus entering the market. Among the first elements are trees and bushes. The LEGO Foundation donates $ 100 million to Sesame Workshop to help children affected by conflicts around the world. LEGO Unikitty is coming!
In February 2019, a sequel to The Lego Movie was produced by Warner Animation Group and released by Warner Bros., titled The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. Many of the voice actors from the first film reprised their characters for the sequel, but it underperformed in ticket sales compared to its predecessors. On 25 November 2019, The Lego Group announced the acquisition of Bricklink, the world’s largest Lego fan community, from Nexon for an unknown price, which is expected to finish before the end of 2019.
In November 2020, Lego announced its largest set to date, a replica of the Colosseum in Rome containing 9,036 pieces. The set overtakes the previous record holder, the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars franchise. This year Lego also presents Braille Bricks, bricks for children with visual impairments. These special bricks, while maintaining their original shape, have buttons in their upper part arranged to form the letters and numbers of the Braille alphabet, the tactile writing and reading system in relief for the visually impaired and blind. Always remaining compatible with the remaining LEGO bricks, each one has the corresponding letter, symbol or number printed on it, thus making it possible for visually impaired children to collaborate equally with their peers and sighted teachers.
“Over the past 85 years, LEGO has come a long way, from a small woodworking shop to a modern, global Enterprise, and is now one of the world’s largest toy manufacturers. The LEGO brick is the most important product. They have been nominated twice “Toy of the Century“. LEGO products have undergone extensive development over the years, but the basis remains the same and unmistakable LEGO brick. The brick in its present form was launched in 1958. The interlocking principle with its tubes makes it unique and offers unlimited construction possibilities. It’s all about letting the imagination run wild and bringing out a lot of new creative ideas through play”.