The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891–1958), a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934, his company came to be called “Lego”, derived from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. In 1947, Lego expanded to begin producing plastic toys. In 1949 Lego began producing, among other new products, an early version of the now familiar interlocking bricks, calling them “Automatic Binding Bricks”. These bricks were based in part on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were patented in the United Kingdom in 1939 and released in 1947. Lego modified the design of the Kiddicraft brick after examining a sample that they received from the supplier of an injection-molding machine that Lego purchased. The bricks, originally manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of the traditional stackable wooden blocks of the time.
By 1954, Christiansen’s son, Godtfred, had become the junior managing director of the Lego Group. It was his conversation with an overseas buyer that led to the idea of a toy system. Godtfred saw the immense potential in Lego bricks to become a system for creative play, but the bricks still had some problems from a technical standpoint: their locking ability was limited and they were not versatile. In 1958, the modern brick design was developed; however, it took another five years to find the right material for it, ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) polymer.The modern Lego brick design was patented on 28 January 1958.