December 14, 2016
Lego Toys by Kris Hirschmann
Mention Lego and people think of brightly colored plastic bricks. But these awesome blocks were not the first Lego toys.
The very first LEGO toys were wooden toys ranging from trucks with pegs to pound to wooden blocks and more. Ole Kirk Christiansen, the Danish man who created the LEGO company, was a master carpenter. In 1932, he opened up a small shop to sell his handmade toys. Piggy banks and blocks were beautifully crafted and made to last. Not surprisingly, the toys sold well and soon Christiansen had other people working for him. He adopted the motto “Only the Best Is Good Enough.”
It wasn’t until the mid-1940s that Christiansen saw the plastic that other people were using to make jewelry and car parts. Christiansen liked the idea of making toys from plastic. Soon the company was injecting plastic into molds to make baby rattles, cars and more. It wasn’t until 1949 that the company first made plastic bricks.
But plastics were tricky to work with and the LEGO bricks faded and warped. They just weren’t good enough. Eventually a new type of plastic and marginally different block ironed out the problem. Ole Kirk’s son was now working for LEGO and he came up with the idea of systems of play. Instead of just selling one toy, sell a series of toys that work together. Themed sets to be used together to make vast arrays of LEGO wonders. Smaller bricks were compatible with the larger bricks eventually made for younger children. When LEGO ventured into robotics, the various mechanical and electrical robotic components all worked with the earlier LEGO bricks.
This book is a must-read for any LEGO enthusiast. Hirschmann writes about the history of the LEGO company, LEGO engineers, LEGO artists and LEGO theme parks. She writes about LEGO robots and universities using LEGO systems to teach their students.
It is also an excellent choice for young readers who are interested in history or science. There is also an underlying theme of “try-try again.”
That said, be sure to set aside some time for serious LEGO play. You are definitely going to want to create after spending time with this book.