Explore the LEGO history

Automatic Binding Bricks

1946 - 1954

Automatic Binding Bricks, 1949.

Automatic Binding Bricks, 1949.

The forerunner of the LEGO brick

Among the company’s first plastics products are the forerunner of the LEGO brick – Automatic Binding Bricks. In 1949 the company’s plastics department manufactures various kinds of toys. Among these are the first LEGO bricks, which are marketed under the English name Automatic Binding Bricks. Giving the toy an English name is a tribute to the Allied forces who liberate Europe and end World War II in 1945. At this point, the bricks – like all of the company’s other toys – are sold exclusively in Denmark.

The forerunner of the LEGO brick

Among the company’s first plastics products are the forerunner of the LEGO brick – Automatic Binding Bricks. In 1949 the company’s plastics department manufactures various kinds of toys. Among these are the first LEGO bricks, which are marketed under the English name Automatic Binding Bricks. Giving the toy an English name is a tribute to the Allied forces who liberate Europe and end World War II in 1945. At this point, the bricks – like all of the company’s other toys – are sold exclusively in Denmark.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen brings home with him a few plastic coins from a demonstration of a plastic injection moulding machine in Copenhagen in 1946. They become an inspiration for Monypoli, a traffic game, launched in January 1948.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen brings home with him a few plastic coins from a demonstration of a plastic injection moulding machine in Copenhagen in 1946. They become an inspiration for Monypoli, a traffic game, launched in January 1948.

The first moulding shop, 1953.

The first moulding shop, 1953.

Experimenting with plastics.

Due to the ban on using plastics for toy production in 1947, no one can be sure exactly when the company began the production of plastic toys. Employees do, however, begin experimenting with plastics immediately after the arrival of the company’s new plastic injection‑moulding machine, installed in a wooden building purchased from nearby Vandel airfield – after the machine has been tested in the basement of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen’s home.

Experimenting with plastics.

Due to the ban on using plastics for toy production in 1947, no one can be sure exactly when the company began the production of plastic toys. Employees do, however, begin experimenting with plastics immediately after the arrival of the company’s new plastic injection‑moulding machine, installed in a wooden building purchased from nearby Vandel airfield – after the machine has been tested in the basement of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen’s home.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen and his employee Orla Jørgensen doing gardening, 1948. To the right is the first building used for plastics manufacturing. The building was bought from Vandel Airfield near Billund in 1947.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen and his employee Orla Jørgensen doing gardening, 1948. To the right is the first building used for plastics manufacturing. The building was bought from Vandel Airfield near Billund in 1947.

Automatic Binding Bricks, 1949.

Automatic Binding Bricks, 1949. Niels Åge Skovbo/Fokus Foto

Launch of the first building set.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen and son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen begin redesigning the plastic cubes that Ole Kirk Kristiansen has brought home with him from the demonstration in 1946 – and in 1949 the company launches its first building set: Automatic Binding Bricks.

Launch of the first building set.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen and son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen begin redesigning the plastic cubes that Ole Kirk Kristiansen has brought home with him from the demonstration in 1946 – and in 1949 the company launches its first building set: Automatic Binding Bricks.

The Ferguson Tractor introduced in the early 1950s.

The Ferguson Tractor introduced in the early 1950s.

Although the bricks are relatively successful, they are not the best‑selling plastic toy to come from the LEGO Group. That distinction goes to the Ferguson Tractor, introduced in the fall of 1951.

Although the bricks are relatively successful, they are not the best‑selling plastic toy to come from the LEGO Group. That distinction goes to the Ferguson Tractor, introduced in the fall of 1951.

One of the company's first plastic toys was a baby's rattle shaped like a fish.

One of the company's first plastic toys was a baby's rattle shaped like a fish. Niels Åge Skovbo/Fokus Foto

Automatic Binding Bricks, 1949.

Automatic Binding Bricks, 1949. Niels Åge Skovbo/Fokus Foto

The bricks that Ole Kirk Kristiansen brings home from the first demonstration in 1946 have been invented by a Briton, Hilary Fisher Page – but they have not been a success for his company, Kiddicraft. In the late 1950s the LEGO Group contacts Kiddicraft to ask whether they object to the LEGO brick. They don’t. On the contrary, they wish the LEGO company good luck with the bricks – with which Kiddicraft has not enjoyed much success. In 1981 the LEGO Group purchases the rights to Kiddicraft bricks from the descendants of Hilary Fisher Page.

The bricks that Ole Kirk Kristiansen brings home from the first demonstration in 1946 have been invented by a Briton, Hilary Fisher Page – but they have not been a success for his company, Kiddicraft. In the late 1950s the LEGO Group contacts Kiddicraft to ask whether they object to the LEGO brick. They don’t. On the contrary, they wish the LEGO company good luck with the bricks – with which Kiddicraft has not enjoyed much success. In 1981 the LEGO Group purchases the rights to Kiddicraft bricks from the descendants of Hilary Fisher Page.

Plastic bricks from Kiddicraft. Photo is taken in the 1980s.

Plastic bricks from Kiddicraft. Photo is taken in the 1980s. Mogens Skou Reklamefotografi

LEGO, the LEGO logo, the Minifigure, DUPLO, the DUPLO logo, BIONICLE, the BIONICLE logo, LEGENDS OF CHIMA, the LEGENDS OF CHIMA logo, DIMENSIONS, the DIMENSIONS logo, the FRIENDS logo, the MINIFIGURES logo, MINDSTORMS, the MINDSTORMS EV3 logo, MIXELS, the MIXELS logo, NINJAGO, the NINJAGO logo, NEXO KNIGHTS, and the NEXO KNIGHTS logo are trademarks and/or copyrights of the LEGO Group. ©2018 The LEGO Group. All rights reserved.

Copyright
We use cookies for storing your selections on our website as well as compiling statistics and personalising our marketing efforts. If you click to proceed on the website, you accept our use of cookies. This website is owned and maintained by LEGO System A/S, Denmark. Read more about our use of cookies, including how to disable them.