Building Block

Ole Kirk Christiansen        1949         Building Block

When this carpenter invented what he called ‘automatic binding bricks’, after making wooden toys for almost two decades, he had no idea how popular they would become. His love for quality ensured the precision of his building blocks, which are manufactured with a tolerance down to several microns. Since only that accuracy enables the player to satisfyingly build larger constructions, it was ultimately his diligence that was responsible for his success. Influenced by a British forerunner, the creator’s company modified the idea and improved the product that still sells those same basic bricks – among a plethora of other components – until today. Each of their basic elements, with eight surface studs that can hook into the tubes on the underside of a second brick, can be combined with just one other brick in 24 different ways. Three bricks allow already for 1060 ways of combining. Like an alphabet which allows an infinite amount of novels to be written just with 26 letters, the bricks are the smallest element of whatever the user want it to be. The billions of elements, which come in more than fifty colors, that are produced every year doubtlessly allow children and adults to ‘play well’, which in its Danish translation is, in abbreviated form, the name of the company.

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