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LEGO DUPLO 50th anniversary press-release

by admin on January 29, 2019

in LEGO History

Today, LEGO celebrates the 50th anniversary of the LEGO DUPLO building system, designed for the youngest children who are not yet ready to play with standard LEGO bricks. Below is the press-release with more details on the history of DUPLO, as well as an interesting video on how LEGO DUPLO bricks are tested for safety and durability. 🙂

BILLUND, January 29, 2019: Today we mark 50 years since the LEGO Group unveiled its inaugural large brick for small hands (yes that would be 1969) – the same year the first person set foot on the moon. You can decide which was the bigger moment for mankind (although could Apollo 11 be dismantled and rebuilt into a racecar?) but, either way, below are some highlights from half a century of big building fun.

LUDAMUS! A LATIN ORIGIN

Did you know the name DUPLO derives from the Latin word ‘duplex’ meaning double? The name first featured on two LEGO DUPLO sets launched in 1969 – the #510 LEGO DUPLO Building Set and the #511 LEGO DUPLO Building set – if you like specifics.

And did you know that LEGO DUPLO bricks are twice the size of classic LEGO bricks on all dimensions? This is so all our bricks fit into the LEGO System of Play. Finding this 2:1 scale solution was no easy task. We tried both 4:1 and 3:1 scale before Godtfred Kirk Christiansen – second generation LEGO Group owner – in 1968 came up with the idea (during his sleep!) to hollow the studs on LEGO DUPLO bricks. This meant they could be combined with classic LEGO bricks, and thereby formed the basis for safe and more age-appropriate LEGO building experiences for the youngest children.

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE

The urge to play is nature’s way of helping us make sense of the world. Through play, we come to know what it means to belong, to be loved, and feel happiness. From birth to the age of four, children undergo intense neurological transformation. The most rapid period of learning and development a human being will ever experience takes place in those four years. By the end, a ‘blueprint’ has been drawn for the adults they will become.

That’s why all LEGO DUPLO products are carefully designed to inspire and help toddlers unlock their full potential through creative, playful experiences that will further shape their future. Don’t just take our word for it. We asked over 9,000 parents around the world how they feel about the LEGO System of Play in the 2018 LEGO Play Well Report. 94% of the responders said it stimulates their child’s imagination, 93% said it helps their child be creative, 91% said it helps their child learn and discover new things, and 84% said it helps their child develop life skills. Oh, and 91% also said it is a fun activity for the whole family!

A RABBIT… AND SOME FRIENDS

First conceived in the late 1970s when Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen – third generation LEGO Group owner – decided to focus on LEGO DUPLO as a separate brand. The red LEGO DUPLO rabbit logo has taken pride of place on our product packaging ever since. Of course, it had a few makeovers during the years like any famous icon, but still, today the rabbit remains the symbol of the brand.

It has also since been joined by a host of other DUPLO animals – from horses, sheep and cows to elephants, lions, and even dinosaurs. Not to mention the many different DUPLO figures that have launched over the years – farmers and policemen, doctors, cowboys, scientists, cheeky kids and hipster parents. There’s something to inspire every little builder’s imagination and help facilitate storytelling and role-play.

PRODUCT QUALITY AND SAFETY

Our biggest inspiration and reason for being – children – are also our biggest concern. So, we are relentless in making sure children can play safely and enjoy our products – indeed, it’s the most important thing for us. That’s why all our products meet or exceed the most stringent toy safety regulations globally.

Across our physical and digital play experiences we work from a safety-by-design approach, and age grade to ensure children have a fun time while being challenged at their appropriate level. Putting our products in the hands of the world’s most creative geniuses means they must withstand several experiences, and big feelings. From being bitten, dribbled on, thrown across the room in a tantrum, stepped on, or pulled by determined young explorers. So, we have to be equally creative when it comes to testing our products – testing for how they’re meant to be used… and for how they’re most definitely not meant to be used! Before you ask what these tests look like, why not let the experts give a sneak-peak below?

THE NEXT 50 YEARS AND BEYOND

If LEGO DUPLO was a person, it would probably be eyeing up those last few years of work and imagining a life of relaxation and retirement. But not a bit of it.

As play patterns become ever more fluid, products like the new DUPLO Steam and Cargo Trains are helping toddlers move seamlessly between physical and digital play like never before, introducing little builders to early coding, color recognition and accompanying apps full of fun activities. All with the key aim to encourage and enhance the physical play experience.

The brick is, and will always remain, our key contribution trough which we hope to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. And who knows how many new space explorers will be hatched from the LEGO DUPLO play world?

While we don’t talk about LEGO DUPLO here very often due to the fact that our community mostly consist of teen and adult LEGO fans, LEGO DUPLO has a rich and long history with a great variety of sets and themes. To see the current selection of LEGO DUPLO sets, visit the LEGO DUPLO section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? Did you have any LEGO DUPLO sets as a child? Or did you start with regular LEGO sets? And what do you think of the development of LEGO DUPLO sets and themes? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

And you might also like to check out the following related posts:

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob January 29, 2019 at 10:36 AM

I had no idea that Duplo as been around so long! I do have a certain something in common with Duplo: I’m also turning 50 this year and I am far from planning on retiring and relaxing, so there ya go! 😀

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admin January 29, 2019 at 11:26 PM

LOL! Good for ya! Live happy and bright for a long time, just like DUPLO bricks! 😀

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Martin January 29, 2019 at 10:52 AM

Those safety tests are very interesting! I feel bad for the Duplo figures and animals!

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admin January 29, 2019 at 11:25 PM

I know! Just look at that poor cow! 😮

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Håkan January 31, 2019 at 6:54 PM

Yeah, indeed, the poor calves of those poor calves…

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jabber-baby-wocky January 29, 2019 at 12:10 PM

I started straight with Lego, but my younger cousins had Duplo bricks. They were clearly for younger kids with bright colors and those weird square people. I wouldn’t touch them in fear of being called a baby. 😀

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admin January 29, 2019 at 11:25 PM

LOL! Yeah, I remember those square figs! They were so weird! I remember there were people and different animals. 😀

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brickmaster January 29, 2019 at 2:21 PM

What about the Duplo castle and Pirate sets? They were some of their best sets! They should have added those to the press release too! On another note, Duplo has a great selection of animals. I don’t know why Lego is so hesitant to add more animals to their other sets.

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admin January 29, 2019 at 11:24 PM

Hm… yeah, DUPLO Castle and Pirates were my favorites. But apparently parents didn’t like them because the colors were dark and the minifigs scary! 😈

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Hayato January 29, 2019 at 3:57 PM

Our kids have both duplo and lego due to their age differences. They happily build with both and mix them up too. The larger bricks are great for building tall towers and big castles, and they are also easier to clean up. We like them and appreciate that they are compatible.

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Legoed January 30, 2019 at 12:34 AM

I hope they release some special 50th anniversary sets. Maybe one including the red rabbit.

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Håkan January 30, 2019 at 6:19 AM

I guess it would be something quite subtle, in that case. The core audience barely understands either the passage of time, or nostalgia.

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Mark Avery January 30, 2019 at 5:40 PM

How about all the other names that Lego preschool went under?

This seems like a very incomplete history that ignores all the bumps in the road.

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Håkan January 30, 2019 at 8:37 PM

Like “Explore” and such? I guess they prefer skipping on many embarrassing details…

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admin January 30, 2019 at 9:03 PM

There were actually tons of images sent over to us with this press-release. And I think I have seen some Explore sets in the package as well. However the whole package is over 6 GB even when zipped up, and I can’t upload them all here. Huw might add them to the Brickset database though under the Document Library. At least I hope so. Not many websites have room to upload such huge packages.

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admin January 30, 2019 at 8:59 PM

Well, this is just a press-release celebrating the 50th anniversary of LEGO DUPLO, not so much a history lesson. However, just like with all aspects of LEGO’s history, it can be interesting to dive into the details. But that’s usually something that only adult LEGO fans are interested in, and not toddlers and parents. It could be a good research project though. 🙂

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