My wife called me this morning to ask if I had been to google today. I had, but because I use a personalized home page, I hadn’t seen the custom logo celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Lego Brick. This reminded me of an article I had started writing over a year ago. I think I’ll finish it in honor of the special occasion.
While surfing last year I came across a Business Week article about Legos. Reading the article and watching the slideshow about how they are made, reminded me of a lifetime of enjoyment these little toys have brought me, so I thought I’d share.
The earliest I can recall ever having played with Legos was in kindergarten. My teacher that year, Ms. Barnhart, told my parents that she was concerned about my creativity and recommended they get me some toys for Christmas that would help get my creative juices flowing. That year under the tree I found my very first Lego set. I’m not 100% certain about the details of the particular set, I believe it was a fire station, with a firetruck, helicopter and all the characters you’d expect to find there. With the help of my siblings, I meticulously assembled the models. That Christmas, I spent hours playing with my new favorite toy.
The ability for Legos to transform into something else was a great boon to a kid who seemed to lose things easily. On one road trip with my family, my parents bought me a box of Legos to keep me entertained. Somewhere during the 1,800 mile journey I lost some pieces and was upset that I couldn’t build the model in the instruction booklet. However, I soon realized I could build all kinds of things with these pieces. And it was probably at this point that I really came to appreciate how much more fun it was making my own creations. Any time after that, all of my space Legos became deep-sea explorer sets. The space crafts transformed into submarines, and the mini-figures in their space suits became SCUBA divers, in their diving gear.
Over the years, I can’t think of a single year that has gone by that I haven’t acquired new Legos in some form or another. Just this last year I was given two new sets for Christmas, and my son got two sets for his first birthday and Christmas.
Today, I am employed professionally as a web designer and developer. I believe this choice of careers is due, in large part, to my experience playing with Legos. One of the most striking similarities is that web design uses a box model for laying out pages. Essentially, everything on a web page is a block, and you build pages by changing the properties of those blocks to get a unique look. There’s a lot more to it, but at it’s core, building web pages isn’t that much different than building with Legos.
Anyway, Happy Anniversary Lego! I hope they’re still going strong in another 50 years.