For us, as LEGO lighting sellers, a world without LEGO seems a very dark place indeed (see what we did there?). But there was a time when mechanical bricks weren't even a shadow of a thought in the creator of LEGO's mind. Sad, isn't it?
But today we thought we'd take you right back to where it all began by first exploring LEGO's history, and then directing you to the first ever LEGO set so you can see how far the company has come.
After that, we might throw in some ideas about lighting up your first ever LEGO set's a little more because, well, we think it makes a real difference. Ready to hear about all things LEGO history? Then lets go!
How did LEGO start?
Ole Kirk Christiansen is the man behind LEGO, but it might surprise you to hear that his first passion wasn't children's toys at all, but carpentry. Thankfully for us (sorry Ole), his carpentry business didn't go so well, and when he was almost bankrupt, he decided to try his hand at building children's toys.
Originally, in 1932, his toys were wooden, and in 1934 Christiansen's company became known as LEGO, a play on the Danish phrase 'leg godt' which means 'play well'. These early LEGO toys must have been relatively successful, because in 1949, his toys became plastic and a series of Automatic Binding Bricks were created.
These bricks were like nothing the world had ever seen before. There was no strict way of playing with them: If you could imagine it, then you could do it. LEGO became so successful that in 1955, they launched 28 sets known as the LEGO System of Play, an interconnecting series of block building sets that could be enjoyed alone or in combination with any of the other 27 sets. Unfortunately, these first ever LEGO sets were unsuccessful as the bricks came apart too easily and children were less than impressed.
This didn't stop LEGO. The early LEGO sets may have been a failure, but their idea had success written all over it, and on January 28, 1958, they patented the design of the LEGO bricks we know today - they were finally on to something big. 5 years later, and they found the perfect plastic with which to build the bricks, and the rest, as they say, is history...
First ever LEGO set
There's some controversy around the first ever LEGO set, because those initial early sets were a bust. But, once LEGO had perfected their brick design, they re-released a bunch of sets to show the stark difference between the poor design of 1955, and the superior design a couple of years later.
We're not here to debate what the first ever LEGO set was, so we'll give you the LEGO set that most LEGO fans agree with, and that's set number 234, or, as it's better known: the LEGO System Garage with Automatic Door. They re-released this set with the modern brick design in 1957 and it became a resounding success!
Not only did the bricks actually stay together now (thank goodness) but it also had a spring plate that opened and closed the garage door. At the time, this was the perfect set because LEGO made toy cars, and this garage was the perfect home for them! We love this set. Yes, it's simple, but boy oh boy, is it fun!
First ever LEGO Star Wars set
We can't think of a partnership that's lasted as long as LEGO and Star Wars. What started out as two giant companies taking separate worlds by storm quickly became a worldwide phenomenon when they joined together. They announced their partnership in 1999, and they wasted no time in bringing out a whole series of LEGO Star Wars sets that every kid was asking for the world over.
Set number 7140, or the LEGO System Star Wars X-Wing Fighter, was the first to be released in 1999 and it's remained a fan favorite ever since. It's no wonder either. You take the most recognizable fighter in the Star Wars universe, mix it with LEGO bricks, and tell children they can build one for themselves, and you've got yourself a winning toy!
We love this one too, and especially so with a DIY LEGO lighting system to make the X-Wing really pop.
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First LEGO Technic set
Some of you are more technically minded, so it might interest you to know where the first LEGO Technic set began. Today's offerings are much more complicated than the early LEGO Technic sets of years gone by, but you can see the principles of the Technic range being born here.
Want to see it for yourself? Look out for set number 850, a 250 piece LEGO Technic set released in 1977. The LEGO Technic Forklift Truck was an instant hit with older children. The box advised it was suitable for builders aged 9 and up, and they flew off the shelves.
It's a really neat first set from the Technic brand because it offers something completely different from the LEGO System sets that had become so popular. That's one of the chief things we love about LEGO - the different styles of play that they offer - and this certainly was the start of LEGO diversifying their product range.
The first LEGO minifigure
Finally, let's talk about the first LEGO minifigure. Until this point, children were limited to building scenes only, with no characters. Then, in 1978, the first LEGO minifigure was released and everything changed for the better. Set number 600 burst on to the scene, and the friendly LEGO Police Man accompanied his LEGO Police Car for the first time.
Now LEGO had really hit on something amazing. They were not only giving children the power to create, but the power to create stories, too. LEGO were actively encouraging children to develop their storytelling and imagination skills alongside their physical ones and the world lost their mind!
We love this set for its nostalgia, but also for that happy smiling yellow-faced policeman too! Who couldn't?
Light 'em up!
If after reading this you're thinking of picking some of these sets up for yourself, then we say go for it! Once you do though, consider coming back here to pick up some LEGO lighting. Trust us, if any LEGO sets deserve to be lit up and put on display, it's got to be the firsts, right? And we have everything you need right here, so check out what we have to offer today!