Thursday, May 3, 2018

Oh, patents! Lego® (1)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Sixty years ago, the Danish inventor  Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of the Interlego AG Founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen,  filed the first Lego® brick patent. 

Indeed, the US patent  US3005258,  titled Toy Building Brick, was filed at the USPTO, on July 28, 1958, and granted on Oct. 24, 1961. The invention offered a novel way of assembling, and most importantly, re-assembling interlocking toy building blocks, alternatively called bricks. The open-faced, rectangular parallelopiped Lego® toy building brick invention thus comprises (to date) interlocking means in the form of protrusions and cavities enabling a clamping engagement of the bricks (see red bricks below). A clamping engagement that can be repeated indefinitely, and in different ways, for the purposes of generating a great many different sorts of play structures and constructions. The bricks were otherwise originally made of plastic and produced using an inventive injection molding process.

The first patent drawing page, containing six of the 12 original patent figures, is included below, respectively showing for :  

  • Fig. 1 - the protrusions (21 and 22), on both sides of the base plate (10), comprising the interlocking system; 
  • Fig 2 - a plan view of a hollow, open-faced rectangular brick, showing how the circular protrusions (21 and 22) fit together within the side walls (11 and 12)
  • Fig. 3 - a cross-section of the Fig. 2 brick, showing the protrusions on both sides of the base plate; 
  • Fig. 4 - two stacked bricks assembled lengthwise;  
  • Fig. 5 - a cross-sectional view of the Fig. 4, showing how two bricks are stacked and connected lengthwise, and
  • Fig. 6 - two bricks assembled sideways.

An image of two red bricks, showing the interlocking protrusions on each side of the plate base, is also included below the patent drawings. 

Note: The name Lego®,  short for leg godt meaning  “Play well” in Danish, was used from the onset. 

Lego® USA
BrickiPedia: Lego® Wikis in other languages
Ole Kirk Christiansen and the history of Lego®

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