Back in 1998, LEGO (or as we casually refer to them, Legos) was one of the original toys to be inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, and there are good reasons why. In a way, Legos can be seen as the iconic "building blocks" of so many people's childhoods all over the world. Even if you never loved Legos, you definitely know what they are (and you probably appreciate its role in keeping your brother out of your hair for hours).
And Legos aren't just for kids. Plenty of adults have stayed fond of the ubiquitous bricks (or, like us, have recently rediscovered that fondness via the awesome new Lego Movie, which is definitely made for grown-ups). Whichever the case is, take a quick break from your LEGO set, and read these 11 totally awesome facts about LEGO.
1. LEGO is 82 years old.
The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 in Denmark. It went from a small carpenter's workshop to the world's third largest manufacturer of toys.
A vintage LEGO set from 1985:
2. A LEGO brick from 1958 would still interlock with a LEGO brick made today.
LEGO bricks are part of a "universal system," so that regardless of the year it was made and the set it belongs to, each piece is compatible with existing pieces.
Here's a LEGO panda:
3. The name has a very special meaning.
The LEGO name was created by using the first two letters of the Danish words "Leg" and "Godt," meaning "play well."
Here's Escher's "Relativity" recreated in Lego:
4. You can combine six of the eight-studded LEGO bricks in 915,103,765 ways.
Here's a challenge for your brain: Try to figure out the 24 different ways two LEGO bricks with eight studs can be combined.
Here's a woman wearing a dress made out of LEGOs:
5. The nation of minifigures would hold the record for the world's largest population (if they were humans, of course).
The first minifigure was created in 1978, and since then, four billion have been made.
Here are Prince William, Duchess Kate and Baby George in LEGO form:
6. Someone built a real house made entirely of LEGO.
In 2009, a man named James May in Surrey, Great Britain, constructed the world's first full-size LEGO house, using 3.3 million bricks. The house contained a working toilet and shower and a bed... all made out of LEGO. Legoland offered to take the house and put in their Windsor, Berkshire theme park, but took back the deal after deciding it would be too expensive to move it. They also criticized May for not asking for their help when building the house.
7. LEGO Duplo bricks (the large ones for little kids) can connect with regular LEGO bricks.
Even though they are eight times the size of regular bricks, the DUPLO LEGOs connect perfectly with the regular ones.
Here's a 150,000-piece LEGO creation of Helm's Deep, from "Lord of the Rings":
8. The world's largest LEGO tower contains over 500,000 bricks.
Students at John Dickinson High School in Delaware built this tower in August 2013. It stands 112 feet and 11 stories high.
9. There are artists who sculpt exclusively from Legos.
You may have heard of Nathan Sawaya, a New York-based artist, who makes art out of unlikely materials. He was the first artist to ever take LEGO into the art world and currently has a touring exhibition called "The Art Of The Brick."
Fellow artist, Sean Kenney, has also made a career of creating "contemporary sculpture" made out of Legos for clients and corporations worldwide. Kenney, who calls himself a "professional kid," says he likes to work with Legos because "unlike traditional art, kids love it; it gets them excited and creative. And seeing that makes it all worth while."
This sculpture is part of Kenney's touring exhibit, "Big Leagues Little Bricks," which is "celebrating the beauty and lore of baseball as a part of Americana."
Kenney's six-foot long map of Iowa that was displayed at the Iowa State Fair in 2013.
10. The largest commercially produced LEGO set is the Taj Majal.
The set contains over 5,900 pieces.
11. This amazing kid created a Braille printer with his LEGO set.
Earlier this year, a 12-year-old child prodigy from California used his LEGO MINSTORMS EV3 set to make a functional Braille printer. Shubham Banerjee used the $350 LEGO set to make the printer after he saw a flier asking for donations to help the blind. His prototype is a fraction of the cost of other Braille printers, which retail for around $2,000 online.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the LEGO house was in Surrey, British Columbia. The house was actually in Surrey, Great Britain.
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