≡ Menu

LEGO Bayer test-strikes – PART 3

(Written by Maxx)

After my last post on the really nice LEGO Bayer advertisement I have found, I would like to share with you another piece of history about the connection between the two companies; LEGO and Bayer. The following post appears on Bayer’s old website. It is a wonderful testimonial to the tight connection between the two companies.

“Once upon a time there was a brick and the brick was red and had eight studs on top. It was great fun to play with…” This is how one might start the never-ending story of a toy which, like scooters and hula hoops, was as much a part of childhood when today’s parents – and in some cases grandparents – were kids: LEGO.

The colored bricks have been around since 1949 and have lost none of their popularity. The Danish LEGO Group, headquartered in Billund, has come up with plenty of new ideas over the years. LEGO bricks can be used to build anything which children see in real life – from a simple little man to a high-tech robot. Gone are the early days of LEGO when we fancied ourselves as little architects and happily constructed houses from bases, bricks with two, four and eight studs, roof elements, windows and doors. Nowadays, there are knights with swords, treasure chests and ghosts. Those who prefer the future to the past can be light years ahead of the present with UFOs and space buggies. Those who are happy with the here and now can try to emulate their Formula One heroes on a track complete with a race control tower and pits. With just a little imagination, children can create a brilliant mix of time and space – a big world made from little colored bricks.

The concept behind all this is making a good toy. According to LEGO man Peter Ambeck-Madsen: “Anything which not only occupies children but also encourages them to think and develop their own imagination is a quality toy.” The Danes have thought a lot about the significance of play. “Through play, children learn about themselves and their environment and develop their capabilities.” Toys should provide children of all ages with unlimited scope. They should not be seasonal and their quality should be perfect.

As a result, stringent requirements are specified for the world-famous colored bricks. They must be stable, safe, colorfast and virtually indestructible. They can then be handed from one generation to the next. Of particular importance is the so-called clutch strength with which the small holes on the inside stick to the studs on the surface of the bricks.

Bayer’s Novodur experts have a particularly close relationship to the plastic bricks made in Denmark. Novodur is one of the materials used in the manufacture of LEGO bricks. The team heaves a sigh of relief every time the sample bricks produced from a new consignment of the plastic exactly meet the LEGO specifications. The Danish toy manufacturer will not accept anything but the best.

Every day, the LEGO factory in Billund produces millions of parts made from Novodur. In simple terms, the process is very much like baking. The plastic is melted at a temperature of 225°C and injected under pressure into the various molds. It then cools and the bricks are ready. They are transferred via counting machines and balances into pails and boxes for sale. Between 1949 and the early 1990s, 110 billion LEGO parts were produced in this way.

Around the world, 200 to 300 million children and adults play or have played with LEGO. According to statistics, playing with LEGO takes up five billion hours each year. The German poet and playwright, Friedrich Schiller, summed it up around 200 years ago: “Man only plays if he is a man in the full sense of the word, and he is only complete if he plays.”

Isn’t it great? Here, I’m also enclosing the original link for you: gertrude-old.case.edu.  The link may or may not work, as it is already in a catched state. It will likely be taken down at some point. But if you have a chance, check it out. And if you are interested in LEGO Bayer, LEGO colors and LEGO history you may also like to read:

{ 7 comments… add one }
  • brickmaster September 28, 2011, 7:06 PM

    Nice find! But what is Novodur? I thought Lego was made of ABS plastic.

    • Maxx September 29, 2011, 7:07 AM

      Yes, LEGO is made of ABS, but “Novodur” is the specific term for the plastic used for LEGO.
      ABS are the first 3 chemicals used, and mixed with a few other chemicals, you get specific qualities, such as heat resistance, extrusion and our general injection molding one.
      Remember, ABS is used in all kinds of household places with different qualities, Novodur should be mentioned as ABS “Novodur”.
      But in the industrie, they simply speak of the last name, kind of like your first and last name.
      People that know you will call you by your first name “Novodur” while others might call you mr. ABS or mr. Novodur ABS etc.
      Hope that explains it:)

  • Hayato September 29, 2011, 12:50 PM

    When I think about it, lego bricks are truly an accomplishment. I take it for granted that they snap together and come apart just right, so naturally, but that is the result of tireless work and testing.
    “…from a simple little man to a high-teck robot.” I’m not sure what they mean by the “simple little man” – minifigs or perhaps miniland like figs. But it is funny. 😀

  • Giza October 3, 2011, 9:53 PM

    Great find! I wonder what will happen as the environmentalists keep pushing biodegradable plastics! It would be a shame if lego could no longer make its famous bricks! 🙁

    • Maxx October 6, 2011, 9:50 AM

      One thing that would quickly happen is all (existing) LEGO bricks would become very expensive:)

      And most likely my collections worth would jump through the roof!!!

      • Maxx November 20, 2011, 10:44 AM

        Giza, I have looked a bit further into this, biodegradable would not make that much difference.
        You only would not wish to drop LEGO in your garden, as I am sure you wouldn’t do right now.

        It might just be the best thing ever for LEGO….

        • Ravi Karumanchiri July 6, 2014, 3:51 AM

          I’m a big-time fan of LEGO for almost 40 years. I’m also a business professional *and* a committed environmentalist with a particular concern for all things artic. I’m writing this as LEGO is in the news for having tied-up a little too tightly with SHELL, selling not just mini Shell gas stations, but also artic drilling kits. There is already (July-6-2014) a significant backlash under way, lead by GREENPEACE.

          So, while I am aware of how much good has been brought to us by plastics like ABS Novodur by Bayer AG, which is what LEGO uses for manufacturing in Denmark. It would be very, very interesting indeed, if…………. Well, I can’t even imagine it just yet. But these are certainly interesting times!

Leave a Comment