Technica - 1957
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1958


The Lego Brick


   
In 1957 GKC, now president of Lego, made the first real modification to the brick his father copied from Hilary Fisher Page. He removed the slits and added a tube underneath and created what we now know as the Lego brick.

Detail, 1958 DE catalog
 
The Lego brick:
 
The original 1958 patent application (1) shows the familiar design of a hollow rectangular brick with round studs on top and a round hollow tube underneath. The studs of one brick could fit between the hollow center tube and side wall of another brick and stay connected by friction. The tight tolerances in molding allow the stud and tube coupling to stay attached in virtually any arrangement, a property known as "clutch power", but still easily disassamble.

US patent 3,005,282: 87K
   

UK patent 866,557: 61K
   

FR patent 1,206,687: 139K
   
It would be difficult to overestimate how important this simple coupling would become. Bricks could now be assembled with a versatility that allowed Lego to create an entire system of play around these and, over the years, increasing more complicated interlocking elements, all based around this stud and tube coupling.

  The wheel:   The patent application for the wheel bearing shows how Lego was able to provide new elements that were still compatable with the basic brick. The wheel bearing was a modified 2 x 4 brick with several hollow soft plastic bearings in the interior of the brick which were held in place by a plate attached to the bottom. An axle could fit into the sleeve and stay connected by friction. This axle/sleeve assembly was then free to rotate.

   
US patent 3,234,683: 40K
   
The wheel bearing provided the basis of not just the simple wheel/tire but of any construction that could rotate or pivot. It served as the foundation for the first gear wheels.

(1) GKC patented the Lego brick not only in Denmark, but in many European countries as well as the US and even some African countries. The original Danish patent:

DK92683C. Legetøjsbyggeelement. Filed 28 Jan 1958, Granted 29 Jan 1962. This was also amended by patent DK98227C, 9 Mar 1964.

Patents were also granted in:

AT211715B. 15 Mar 1960. Bauelement für Bauspielzeuge.
CH362354. 31 May 1962. Bauelement für Bauspielzeuge.
DE1076007. 15 Feb 1960. Bauelement fuer Bauspielzeuge.
FR1208887. Feb 2, 1960.Elément pour jeu de construction.
OA125A. 15 Jan 1966. Elément pour jeu de construction.
UK866557. Apr 26, 1961. Improvements relating to Toy Building Sets.
US3005282. Oct 24, 1961. Toy Building Brick.

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