The History of Interlocking Bricks - From Kiddicraft to LEGO | Brick Me

Who Invented Stackable Bricks? You Might Be Surprised!

Those multicolored, interlocking bricks that go from chaos to sculpture? It’s easy to think that LEGO invented them. After all, the name itself means “play well” in Danish, and they’ve been around since 1932.
Those colorful, stackable bricks have been delighting (and painfully surprising bare feet) for generations. But before you assume LEGO came up with the idea of small building bricks, then onto your plastic yellow hardhats – the story goes back further than you'd expect!


Kiddicraft's Pioneering Vision

If LEGO didn’t come up with the idea of plastic building blocks, then who deserves the credit? While LEGO may have the market on the brand, the foundation of this favorite building toy was laid in 1932 by British toymaker Kiddicraft. 
Originally known as "Self-Locking Building Bricks,” Kiddicraft was the true pioneer of the interlocking brick world. The first generation of blocks was made of wood rather than plastic. You might say that these humble wooden blocks walked so that the plastic bricks we know today could run!
The inventor, Hilary Fisher Page, envisioned a toy that would spark creativity and spatial thinking in children. The first set of blocks was introduced to the wider public at the 1947 Earl's Court Toy Fair, and you can still find reports on them at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood as the “Must Have Toy of the 1940s.”
As you can imagine, “Self-Locking Building Bricks” wasn’t exactly catchy. So what led to LEGO taking over both the name and concept?



How LEGO Built on Kiddicraft’s Ideas

Here’s where the story takes a somewhat serendipitous turn. LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen – who at the time was building toys as a competitor to Kiddicraft – was in the market for an injection molding machine to help produce his products. 

With the first one he purchased, Ole and his son discovered a set of illustrations for Kiddiwork’s original Self-Locking Building Bricks. Inspired by the idea, Ole’s LEGO brand began to create its own version of the block – naming them “Automatic Binding Bricks.”

Sound familiar?

They say that success is part ingenuity, part timing. And for LEGO, the timing of their take on Kiddicraft’s designs hit at just the right time. By 1958, LEGO had perfected its iconic stud-and-tube coupling system, and the rest is playroom history.

Over the decades, we've seen the introduction of specialized pieces, themed sets, and even massive, human-sized pieces that boggle the mind. It’s amazing to see how those humble interlocking bricks have become a medium for everything from architectural marvels to movie recreations.




The LEGO Patent and Its Expiration

LEGO patented their unique design in 1958, ensuring that their specific interlocking mechanism was protected from imitation. This patent played a crucial role in establishing LEGO's dominance in the market for decades. However, patents don’t last forever. In 1988, LEGO's original patent expired, opening the door for other manufacturers to create similar interlocking bricks.



The Post-Patent Era: Other Brands Enter the Scene

With the expiration of LEGO's patent, several companies began producing their own versions of interlocking bricks. Brands like Mega Bloks, KRE-O, and various generic versions started to appear on the market, offering consumers a wider range of options. This competition has led to innovation and diversity in the types of building blocks available, providing more choices for consumers and often at different price points.




Non-LEGO Bricks: Not Fake, Just Different

Let’s clear the air: non-LEGO bricks are not fake LEGOs. Just like we don’t call Android phones fake iPhones or Pepsi a fake Coca-Cola, we shouldn’t label other brands' bricks as fake LEGOs. While they may be inspired by LEGO’s original design, these alternative brands bring their own pizzazz to the table. Just as LEGO built on Kiddicraft’s original idea to create something new and innovative, other brands have expanded upon LEGO’s concept to offer different experiences and creative opportunities.

Blockify Your Life with Brick Me




While LEGO didn't invent the interlocking brick, they certainly mastered it. Did they steal the magic from Kiddicraft? Or were they just lucky at the right moment? Whatever the reason, interlocking stackable bricks continue to be a fan favorite across the globe.

At Brick Me, we're proud to be part of this rich tradition of nostalgic fun. Our personalized brick mosaics let you build on the legacy of interlocking bricks in your own unique way. After all, isn't that what great innovation is all about?

Ready to stack up some memories? Visit Brick Me today and create your own personalized brick mosaic. Whether it's a family portrait, a beloved pet, or your company logo, we'll help you turn it into a one-of-a-kind brick masterpiece. It's time to click your creativity into place!

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