Written By: Ray
Although my journey as an Adult Fan of LEGO (AFOL) is just beginning, my obsession with the Danish toymaker LEGO began at an early age. I can still remember opening my first LEGO set during a birthday party in my youth. It was an underwater-themed set, and I couldn’t wait to build it. Sure, my dad applied the stickers, and of course, I eventually lost every brick that belonged to the set. The LEGO aesthetic and its cathartic building experience has stuck with me, and become a part of me, throughout my life. I currently have hundreds of LEGO sets, and my collection is rapidly expanding (thanks in large part to a supportive girlfriend and a steady income)!
In researching LEGO, I consider myself lucky to be a part of the generation I to which I belong. Had I been born into the generation when LEGOs first arrived, I’d be playing with an entirely different line of LEGO toys… or not at all. “LEGO” (derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”) started in 1932, manufacturing wooden toys. It wasn’t until 1949 that Ole Kirk Christiansen, LEGO’s founder, began producing what he called “Automatic Binding Bricks,” which were a precursor/ancestor to what is now known as the classic LEGO brick.
I don’t know if Ole himself could imagine how big his company would make it someday (or how painful it may be to step on one of his creations). LEGO has become one of the highest grossing toy manufacturers in the world, and even a pop-culture icon! There are hundreds of new LEGO sets per year, a LEGO movie, LEGO-themed clothing and jewelry and even a LEGO artist, Nathan Sawaya. His creations can be seen on display at “The Art of the Brick” exhibits in art museums nationwide. I attended the exhibit in the Philadelphia Museum of Art and was utterly blown away. If you get a chance, go see this dude’s stuff. It’s incredible!
Who knows what LEGO will do next? All I know is that, as long as LEGO is around, they’ll be a spot for their sets on my shelves!