28 January is colloquially known as International LEGO Day, or more accurately – LEGO Brick Patent Day, commemorating 28 January 1958, which is the date that the original patent for the humble LEGO brick was filed with the Danish Patent and Trademark Office in Denmark by then-owner Godtfred Kirk Christiansen.
it’s one of the biggest milestones in LEGO’s soon-to-be 90 year history, and this year is an especially momentous year as The LEGO Group Turns 90 on the 10th of August 2022.
That said, while the celebrations today tend to revolve around the creation of the LEGO brick, as we all know and love it, but contrary to what people might think, the original patent application is not about to the invention of just one specific type of brick.
Jan Beyer recounts the story here.
Rather, the patent covers a building system or a building method in which two or several interlocking plastic building elements “…could be put together in a great number of mutually different positions…” (Quote from the original Danish Patent application).
For that reason, the patent also covers several different brick designs, some of which can be seen in these photos. The common denominator for these different brick designs is that each and every single one of the designs ensure that the brick has just the right clutch power, and thus the bricks have the ability to stick together – as if they were glued.
The Original Danish LEGO Patent
The best known images of the LEGO brick patent, was actually the version used in the submission to the US Patent Office, but these are the original Danish LEGO Patents, with the date of 28th January 1958.
For references of other parents submitted around the world, last year, LEGO shared a selection of patents from around the world, which you can peruse below:
In the months after the application for the Danish patent, applications were filed in countries such as Norway (March 12, 1958), Sweden (March 22, 1958), Germany (April 10, 1958) and Holland (April 14, 1958). Also in 1958, applications were filed in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy.
The following year, in 1959, the LEGO reach was increased even further to include countries such as Israel, South Africa, England, Poland, Ireland, Turkey, Finland, Portugal and Spain.
Additionally, in 2021, LEGO shared a really insightful story about Godtfred Kirk Christiansen’s involvement with the creation of the LEGO brick, which was shared initially with LEGO employees and then with the wider team.
This article was written by Mads Klougart Jakobsen, Manager, Internal Communications, and first appeared on the employee-only LEGO web. With his permission we can share the story with you, and you are welcome to share it with your community.
100 years ago, today, former LEGO® owner and managing director Godtfred Kirk Christiansen was born. His influence on the company and the success of the LEGO system in play is undeniable, but brand-new research done by our historians in LEGO Idea House shows that his influence on the LEGO brick and the company is even greater than we initially thought.
“For decades we have been unable to give a precise answer to the question of how the LEGO brick was developed, and who was the mastermind behind the design. We have been convinced that it was a lengthy development process carried out by a team of LEGO employees in the mid to late 1950s. Thanks to newly-discovered material, we have found out that Godtfred actually played a pivotal role in developing the LEGO brick that people all over the world love today,” explains Signe Wiese, Corporate Historian from LEGO Idea House.
Here is the never-before-told story of the development of the iconic LEGO brick:
It’s January 23, 1958. Three men are sitting in a LEGO office in Billund. The three men are Godtfred Kirk, his brother Karl Georg (presumably) and Axel Thomsen, head of LEGO sales office in Germany.
The latter explains that he’s getting complaints from his customers in Germany about the fact that models built with the company’s plastic building bricks are lacking stability and clutch power.
The problem is discussed at length, and several ideas and solutions are put forward. At some point, Godtfred finds a piece of paper with circles on, and starts to sketch the different ideas for a new brick design. That same day, Godtfred hands the sketch to Ove Nielsen, then head of the LEGO moulding shop. He is instructed to make a sample of the new brick design with two inner clutch tubes.
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate International LEGO Day than by building some LEGO!
What are you building on International LEGO Day?
Oh, and if you’re itching to buy some LEGO to celebrate the day (no judgement), the LEGO Vintage Taxi gift with purchase is now available online!
To get the latest LEGO news and LEGO Reviews straight in your inbox, subscribe via email, or you can also follow on Google News, or socials on Facebook, Instagram (@jayong28), Twitter or subscribe to the Jay’s Brick Blog Youtube channel.