When did you last do some LEGO? Perhaps at Christmas with the kids? Maybe back in your own childhood? Or perhaps you are a daily LEGO user, filling your home with clickety-brick creations of all shapes and sizes. Whether you use LEGO or not, the brand and its bricks are inescapable. There are more LEGO mini-figure people in the world than humans—and for each person on the planet there are sixty-two LEGO pieces. Contemporary designs are high-concept, high-tech masterpieces, ranging from skyscrapers to space shuttles, Star Wars to Harry Potter, and everything from animals to robots along the way. This is all a far cry from the modest beginnings of the company. 2022 will be the 90th anniversary of the year Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from a poor farming family in Billund, Denmark, first made his foray into toy making. During the Great Depression, when carpentry work was hard to find, Ole found inspiration from the miniature prototypes of the wooden items he was planning to build, which he discovered could be turned into toys. After two years of success, he named his company LEGO, combining two Danish words ‘leg’ and ‘godt,’ which mean ‘play well.’
It was not all plain sailing at the beginning, however. The company averted disaster when the Yo-Yo craze died a sudden death, leaving them vastly overstocked with unsellable product. Ole had the bright idea to cut the Yo-Yos in half, re-inventing them as wheels for a new truck design, which went on to be a big hit!
In the 1940s, a British toymaker called Hillary Page patented the first Interlocking Building Cubes, but he failed to see the versatility and astounding potential of his creation. It was the Danes who rolled with the idea, creating their own Automatic Binding Bricks, which were renamed LEGO bricks in 1953. It wasn’t until 1964 that the first instruction manuals found their way into kits, and four years later, a Legoland Park opened in Denmark as sales accelerated to 18 million units.
Despite flirting with bankruptcy in 2004, the company went back to basics and is now going from strength to strength, with video and board games, as well as movies—on top of their vast empire of creations.
Some LEGO facts:
-20 Billion LEGO pieces are made annually.
-Each second, seven LEGO sets are sold globally.
-4.8 million LEGO pieces were lost at sea in the late 90s, and pieces are still washing up!
-Six eight-stud LEGO pieces have 915 million different construction combinations.
We at Hoogly are big LEGO fans, of course. Not only because they are Danish (although that certainly helps!)—but because doing LEGO is an embodiment of many of the principals of Hygge that we live by: focussing on what makes you happy; being calm and mindful; sharing happiness with others; treating yourself to something a bit naughty—and creating something beautiful and exciting!
Of course, there is no better accompaniment to a LEGO session than a cup of Hoogly tea. Especially if you’re building something epic like Hogwarts or the Death Star—you’ll need all the delicious fuel you can get!
For maximum creativity and flair, we heartily recommend Banoffee Pie Black Tea! Slotting together a pudding with a cuppa in classic LEGO brick style, this lush brew is indulgent, rich and sweet, with subtle warming tones of banana and toffee. The only problem is that our sensational taste may distract you from your project!
And to further celebrate all things Danish, why not try Danish Pastry Rooibos? This national treat has a wonderfully warming chocolate and cinnamon aroma combined with a subtle pastry taste, perfect to sip while you brick!
So—if you haven’t done LEGO for a while, why not drag down that box from the loft, or treat yourself to a new set, setting aside the stresses and strains of the day to focus on something calming, creative and mindful. And don’t forget to keep one of our delicious teas handy for those mini-breaks from all the fun!
That’s it for now, Hoogly fans. Stay safe, be good yourself and flip the kettle on!
Written by Chris Bedford