Happy 50th, Lego

Thanks to a delightful Google logo this morning, I’ve found that today is the 50th anniversary of the Lego brick.

google lego logo

Now I played with Legos nearly every day of my life from 1 year to 16 years, and I still occasionally lust after the higher-end Star Wars sets. Growing up I went through nearly every variety of theme and skill level, from pirates to cities, from little cars to full-blown Technics boom cranes. I still have a custom-designed spacecraft in my bedroom, and an A-Wing from Return of the Jedi in my office.

I have to admit, however, that I have mixed feelings about the mighty little bricks these days.

On one hand, today we have a greater incidence of specialized bricks and pieces that preclude much of the construction that would have been required in years past. What’s the point of a building-block set where half the building is done for you? On the other hand, I have to admire the longevity of such a fundamentally simple toy. In an age of electronics and video games, Legos have adapted admirably with their popular Mindstorms kits and a slew of reasonably successful video games. They also, meanwhile, continue to offer multifarious kits for all ages that allow for the creative rebuilding and invention that so attracted me to Legos as a child.

So happy 50th indeed, Lego. Here are a few useful links in honor of the best toy since the cardboard box:

Lego’s own history and manufacturing process (PDF, close to a Meg)
Wikipedia’s rather exhaustive Lego entry (if only because of the near-overwhelming array of links to subsections and related articles)
And lest we forget what may be one of the coolest Lego kits ever conceived…the Motorized Walking AT-AT.

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