The Non-LEGO Blocks LEGO Used To Build Its Toy Empire

Just a few weeks back, a friend and I were marveling at the workmanship (and marketingmanship) routinely on display when it comes to Denmark's legendary business powerhouse, The LEGO Group.

This video, highlighted by The AV Club, makes an interesting point: while their craftsmanship and marketing (and market share) are unparalleled, originality is not really their thing.

It’s currently the biggest selling toy maker in the world, but the Danish company LEGO was not even close to being the first to manufacture interlocking miniature bricks.

I did not know this. LEGOs are such an ever-present force in my mind (and my kids' playtime) that I can't really imagine an epoch in which they did not exist. And I certainly can't imagine a time when they were playing second-fiddle to some other building brick.

Is this a game changer? Hardly. Does it damage my respect and admiration to learn that "way back in the day," they weren't at the front of the toy-brick line that they now dominate so utterly? Nonsense. (Originality, as Jim Jarmusch reminds us, might be a bit overrated.) But it's a fascinating historical tidbit, all the same.

Attribution(s): LEGO Bricks via photopin (license)