The interlocking toy system was the brainchild of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, son of a Danish toymaker. His father Ole started the company in 1932 and named it Lego—a twist of the Danish words leg godt, meaning “play well.”
Their first plastic bricks, modeled on an earlier British design, were not very popular until Godtfred hit upon the idea of actually inventing a system of compatible toys.
Christiansen first received a U.S. patent for a “toy building brick” in 1961. That original design of a rectangular plastic piece with eight “primary projections” (studs) on the top and three “secondary projections” (tubes) underneath is virtually unchanged in nearly six decades.