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Freddie

Review: 50 Years of the LEGO Brick

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50 Years of the LEGO® Brick

Author: Christian Humberg

Publisher: HEEL Verlag GmbH

ISBN: 978-3-89880-887-3

Well, where do I start? Since this isn't a set, but rather a book, it isn't just straightforward to snap pictures of its contents, so I've been a bit restrictive with those so I can claim fair use and avoid stepping on anyone's toes - and violating any copyright laws.

With that out of the way; here's how the book arrives (more or less, I've removed the shrink-plastic it was packed in).

1.jpg

There's no extraordinarily fancy packaging or so, but there's no hiding what this is about. The cover is in true scandinavian style very simplistic and straightforward, with studs designed into the front of the cover. At the side we have the six, red, 2x4 bricks - included as a symbol of the many possibilites and versatility of even the simplest brick: the hardcore LEGO-fan will know that with these six bricks, there are 915 103 765 different ways to put them together. These are encased in a sealed plastic tray, with indents for replacing the seal when done with the bricks. The book itself is printed on the type of glossy, slightly plastic paper one would expect this type of book to use. Same goes for all the extras inside.

The book is divided into six chapters - each of these focusing on differents aspects of the company and its products and customers, i.e. end-users. Each of these chapters also have some extras, which I will come back to. After the contents-listing, the book opens with the blueprints for the 2x4 brick, as we know it today, and a foreword by Kjeld himself, where he "looks back" and reflects on the devolpment of the bricks themselves, and some thoughts of what is to come.

2.jpg

First chapter is called "Toy of the century", which could be summed up as an in-depth story of how it all came to be. Interestingly, the chapter immediatly after its introductory page, we find a page with a pocket, designed to imitate the LEGO studs - here we find a copy of the original patent from 1958, which details the bricks and their tubular connection system.

3.jpg

Later on, as the story finally reaches '58 (this is an in-depth story, remember?), there is yet another page with a pocket of similar design to the first one. Here we find a copy of the first catalog depicting the bricks with their new binding system. And this isn't a cheap copy either, oh no. A part from being a reproduction on new, glossy paper, there are no shortcuts taken. Below you can see the front and back illustrations, but when fully unfolded this is the real deal, apart from being a reproduction that is.

4.jpg

There's also been shed some light on some of the challenges behind designing the products, what the designers, or the creatives as they are referred to in the book have to do from the point they get their task to a completed model. Dissapointingly, it's not as in-depth as say, Brickjournal, might have. It does go more in-depth on the Serious Play aspect, however, with it's own chapter dedicated to it. Here, who, how and why LEGO is used in different enviroments other than in the home, and the FLL and Creation Nation are highlighted here, altough stories with other uses are also mentioned.

Spesific users have also been gathered in a dedicated chapter about them. With the exception of one, they're all AFOLs. Two of these are already well known: Nathan Sawaya and Sean Kenney. In the sixth final chapter, Kjeld's influence has been highlighted, along with the influence from fans and some of the ideas and thoughts revolving around the future; LEGO Universe among those ideas, and by which principles LEGO will continue to work.

Of course, only half of the book is written on the pages themselves. There are plenty of pockets in this book, most of them contain reproduced catalogs of significance (i.e. first Technic catalog), plus the gold-metallic anniversary stickers - a scan will not do these stickers justice, because these are actually 3D with modelled studs in them.

5.jpg

A recommendation? Let me be clear on this - this book is excellent as a gift. The enthusiast will purchase one of these nonetheless, but it really is the type of book

one buys as a gift. It's not cheap, it doesn't reveal anything fantastic or something we probably didn't know already, but I did find it a nice read - plus it looks good on the shelf too. The old catalogs are full reproductions as noted above, and it really is nice to have one in the hand opposed to clicking through the pages on Peeron. Perhaps it's easier if I illustrate exactly what type of book it is:

6.jpg

I know I won't regret buying this. I did find the book enjoyable, and I do recommend it as a gift to the enthusiast. If you like this type of books, then it's recommended - if you like more dense reading, then get a novel instead. But then you'll miss all those old catalogs, which is some of this book's charm.

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50 Years of the LEGO® Brick

Author: Christian Humberg

Publisher: HEEL Verlag GmbH

ISBN: 978-3-89880-887-3

Ok, now I know my first item for the christmas wishlist...

Thank you Freddie to point that out :)

Edited by F0NIX

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Thanks for the great review.

As you say, nothing revolutionary, but it is well-presented and there's lots of stuff I would never have seen so I'm definitely going to pick up.

The gold stickers look cute too :wub:

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Thanks for the review! :blush:

It's been a very long time, ever since I saw a LEGO book. I really prefered the touch and the feel of it.

Hope I will get my copy soon!

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Thanks for the little review I actually don't recall hearing about this book 'till now :classic: . Looks like a nice book, I have a few other books that have a bunch of little pockets with extras in them. The little tray of red 4 by 2's is a clever idea indeed and the stickers are also very nice. I hope I can find this at Chapters or Cosco soon, looks to be an excelent read from your review :sweet: .

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GREAT REVIEW. I'm not sure whether to buy this or the catalog with the list of all the sets.

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At the side we have the six, red, 2x4 bricks - included as a symbol of the many possibilites and versatility of even the simplest brick

So they are all standard current bricks? For some reason I thought they were going to be examples of the evolution of the brick. Guess I was just daydreaming at some point. :sceptic:

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Ooooh, this looks like a goooood book... :classic:

The gold-metallic anniversary stickers - a scan will not do these stickers justice, because these are actually 3D with modelled studs in them.

5.jpg

Is it possible to put bricks on them?

:skull:

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Is it possible to put bricks on them?

Errr - no.

But you can put the stickers on the bricks. :tongue:

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Thanks for the review! How far forward in time does this book cover? Are there any pictures from the 80s +?

Thanks and God Bless,

Nathan

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Thanks for taking the time to write this detailed and excellent review. I am definitely going to pick up a copy of this, I have an area in my bookshelf already reserved. :classic:

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Great looking book. I must pick this up! Is it sold in bookstores, of the LEGO store only?

I have wonder. The original catalouge features 2 children playing with LEGO in the sand... :oh:

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Thanks for the review! How far forward in time does this book cover? Are there any pictures from the 80s +?

It´s nothing more than mentioning Lego Universe to be released in 2009. The rest ist advertising babble. :hmpf:

Great looking book. I must pick this up! Is it sold in bookstores, of the LEGO store only?

Available in every good sorted book store:

ISBN 978-3-89880-860-6 (for the german version)

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Thanks for the review, I was looking at it today in the Lego shop but decided against it I might buy it now.

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Thanks for the review! How far forward in time does this book cover? Are there any pictures from the 80s +?

Thanks and God Bless,

Nathan

It covers up to the mid 70s, sort of misses the 80s and goes straight through to promo for Universe.

I found it really disappointing that they didn't have any catalogue reprints from the late 70s and 80s as. I mean, it was nice to have the earlier stuff which I hadn't seen, but surely the biggest development in the last 30 years - and a contributing factor to the reason why Lego has continued to be such a success - is the invention and huge popularity of the minifig. They missed a trick by not putting a reprint of an 80s (and maybe even 90s catalogue) in as it sort of feels as if this is 'The First 25 Years of the Lego Brick', not '50 Years of the Lego Brick' as it says on the spine :tongue:

That said, I did enjoy it and it's a nice coffee-table type skim read.

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It covers up to the mid 70s, sort of misses the 80s and goes straight through to promo for Universe.

I found it really disappointing that they didn't have any catalogue reprints from the late 70s and 80s as. I mean, it was nice to have the earlier stuff which I hadn't seen, but surely the biggest development in the last 30 years - and a contributing factor to the reason why Lego has continued to be such a success - is the invention and huge popularity of the minifig. They missed a trick by not putting a reprint of an 80s (and maybe even 90s catalogue) in as it sort of feels as if this is 'The First 25 Years of the Lego Brick', not '50 Years of the Lego Brick' as it says on the spine :tongue:

That said, I did enjoy it and it's a nice coffee-table type skim read.

That does sound a little disappointing... thanks for the info!

God Bless,

Nathan

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This looks like an awesome book, but I can't believe they've left out the 80s. I'm glad I saved some catalogues from this era. The 80s introduced so many of the first mini-fig sets: police, fire, town, space, etc. Too important to skip over. :sceptic:

But thanks for sharing images Freddie.

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A great review. I have to buy one of these books, but I am little short for cash so this helps. No 80's. :cry_sad:

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Thanks Freddy, for the review! Now I know what to put on my Christmas List this year.

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