What are LEGO® toys? (26 characters)

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LEGO began in 1934 by Danish carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen, using the phrase “leg godt” meaning “play well” to create the company name. The brick is the basic element of the LEGO building system, with over 900 million ways to combine just six of the eight bricks. LEGO produces 19 billion play elements a year and has expanded into other products and areas, including themed models and theme parks.

LEGO® toys began with the work of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish carpenter who lived in Billund. The wooden toys Christiansen began making in 1932 became the LEGO company in 1934, with the name coming from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well.” Christiansen took the first two letters of each word to create the company name. Today LEGO is the sixth largest toy manufacturer in the world.

The basic element of the LEGO® building system is the brick, which comes in various sizes and colours. Bricks get their name from the number of round protruding connectors they have. With over 900 million ways to combine just six of the eight bricks, it’s clear that sets with large numbers of bricks provide openings for imaginative play, along with the ability to build models for which instructions are provided. The bricks are also easy to take apart, with the aim of allowing children to continually reimagine new things.

In their 2007 report, LEGO reported that they were producing 19 billion play elements a year, or about 36,000 per minute. The LEGO® bricks are all produced in Denmark, as well as by external suppliers, in a process that requires heating the plastic to 449.6º Fahrenheit (232ºC) and injecting it into moulds. After approximately 7 seconds of cooling, the elements are ejected. Sizing of elements through this process is estimated to be within 7.87401575 × 10-6 inches (0.0002 mm). Only 18 out of 1,000,000 items fail inspection of quality control standards.

One of the product specialties of the LEGO company are themed models, both for typical adventure and construction scenarios, and related to successful film and television franchises. The first type of themed model includes LEGO® city, pilots, pirates, agents, castle, creator, bionicle and factory sets, among others. The second type includes LEGO® sets related to SpongeBob SquarePants®, Indiana Jones®, Star Wars®, Harry Potter®, Spiderman®, Batman®, Bob the Builder® and Thomas & Friends®.

In addition to building elements, LEGO has expanded into other products and areas. Now there are LEGO® games, books, bags, watches and clothes. With the downloadable LEGO® Factory, you can now design, buy and build your own LEGO® sets.
LEGO also now has theme parks in Billund, Denmark, where they are headquartered, as well as Windsor, England; Carlsbad, Calif.; Gunzberg, Germany; and Berlin, Germany. The parks feature models built with millions of bricks, as well as family-friendly activities and attractions.

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