The Lego brick celebrates 60 years

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DENMARK (AP) -- The world's most famous toy brick is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Now sixty years old, the Lego brick had various iterations since it first started making them in 1949.

The earliest version of the brick, called the Automated Binding Brick, had the distinctive studs on top, but was hollow underneath - and a flop in toy stores.

By 1958 Lego bricks were refined into the shiny plastic bricks of today, with tubes inside the hollows to allow pieces to grip together more firmly.

Today thousands of tiny Lego pieces are continually flowing off the production line, satisfying a global demand.

During the moulding process, plastic is heated to between 230 and 310 degrees Celsius before being injected into moulds.

On average, it takes around ten seconds to cool and eject new pieces.

Founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen, the name Lego was invented by combining the first two letters of the Danish words "Leg godt" (play well) without knowing that the word in Latin means "I assemble."

Lego claims there are 915,103,765 ways to combine six traditional two-by-four Lego bricks.

Tom Hall is the General Manager of Lego Education International.

"I think Lego bricks are you know more relevant than ever before and I think globally, they don't need a language. If you put a set of bricks down in front children from any nation in the world they are going to get hands on straight away. It's iconic, its also something that is just infectious. I mean as a parent, as someone who witnesses children playing with this all the time, it has a magic about it and that's what we really celebrate in terms of the legacy."

John Baulch, Publisher and Owner of Toy World, has been fan of Lego for many years.

"Well I think any toy that manages to last sixty years has to have the hallmarks of a classic toy. It has to have great play value, has to be adaptable, has to be able to be played with by children instinctively all around the globe and I think Lego ticks all of those boxes."

"What Lego teaches children in terms of creativity, in terms of imagination, in terms of spatial awareness, in terms of that tactile, the ability to create something from nothing. Yes absolutely Lego was the original, if you like, educational toy," Baulch adds.

From Star Wars to Harry Potter, Lego has embraced collaborations with movie franchises.

Baulch says its Lego's ability to move with the times has kept it relevant.

"Lego has continued to innovate despite the fact that it is 60 years old It never rests on its laurels, it is always introducing new concepts, new ideas. It is always pushing the boundaries. It is taking what kids are interested in now and it is adapting its ranges so kids are just as interested and just as fascinated by the concept of Lego as they were sixty years ago when it was first introduced."

Earlier this month the fourth annual convention for adult fans was a four-day celebration of all things Lego at the Pasadena Convention Center in California.

Lego conventions are not organised by the toy company itself but are independent gatherings where enthusiasts can share their creations.

Lego puts more and more pieces and sets on the market each year, as the company licenses new movies and creates new miniature accessories.

So for these builders, every new Lego set offers the possibility of something new to create with, inspiring replicas of movie scenes from Harry Potter and Star Wars, or whole villages with working transport links.

Lego also boasts several theme parks around the world including Dubai where Lego models recreating the Dubai skyline and India's iconic Taj Mahal are just some of the sights wowing visitors.

A 17-metre tall replica of the Burj Khalifa stands at the centre of Miniland, made of 439,000 Lego blocks.

Organisers say it took over 5,000 hours to construct.