Happy Birthday, Duplo

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Duplo is fifty years old today! To mark the occasion LEGO has published a press release and produced a cool infographic that highlights milestones in the product's history.

50 Years Young: Celebrating half a century of big building fun with LEGO DUPLO

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 racing car?) 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 – set no. 510 and no. 511 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 in Play, but 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 and 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 in Play in the LEGO Play Well Report, 2018; 94% say it stimulates their child’s imagination, 93% say it helps their child be creative, 91% say it helps their child learn and discover new things, and 84% say it helps their child develop life skills. Oh, and 91% also say 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’s 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 in 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 here:

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, colour 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?


Infographic

Click to enlarge.

24 comments on this article

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By in Finland,

It's a good time to have the Duplo invaders in LEGO Movie 2...

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By in Norway,

Who could imagine a childhood without DUPLO!

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By in Russian Federation,

They overdesigned the rabbit.

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By in Poland,

Funny thing - I got my first DUPLO set when I was 5 and I kept playing with Duplo until I was...10, mixing it with Lego!
Probbaly because I was surrounded by smaller kids :D
My favorite set: 2697: Farm Animals! I spend HOURS playing with those animals, and still have two yellowed cows from this set in my cow collection.
My favorite theme: Little Forest Friends! I would LOVE normal Lego sets with this setting!
To this time I keep my favorite figure - A green sweter girl from 2815: Bike Ride!

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By in Sweden,

Ok, I admit it, I really love Duplo. :) sturdy, fun, easy to clean. Do my kids have way too much? Yes! (25 kg I think? ) I still bought more last week. And I will be buying the Duplo invaders soon too!

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By in New Zealand,

Duplo, you’re the Best! Love you

Crickey, Fabuland deserves another go, doesn’t it?

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By in Australia,

The small Duplo train set 2705 was one of my first ever toys, and I played with that train for years, well longer than the age limit would suggest. I think I've still got the engine, in a crate of my old Duplo somewhere in the house. I remember, I gave the engine a name (and I named the carriage Henrietta, I think inspired by Toby's Henrietta from "The Railway Series" books. Yeah, I could've come up with something more original, but c'mon, I was like 5), and I used to make up little stories about him and his adventures.

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By in United States,

Amazing. Duplo's 50th on my daughters 2nd birthday. She will be getting some to add to her collection, which she loves.

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By in Canada,

Longer article than I expected...
Would be nice if Black was more common a brick option. Am still occasionally adding to my brick wall on my window. AKA my DUPLO curtains WIP

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By in United Kingdom,

Happy Birthday Duplo!
I love Duplo. If it wasn't the fact it takes up far to much room I would love to collect it so much more. I am focusing on my Duplo train set - well I say that until I come across another bag of the stuff in a charity shop!

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By in United States,

"(although could Apollo 11 be dismantled and rebuilt into a racing car?)"

Challenge accepted.

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By in Hungary,

The 1st Duplo rabbit looks scary.

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By in United States,

Thank you for including this article! I am a big fan of Duplo and really enjoyed reading the article and watching the video as well.

So excited about The LEGO Movie 2!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

Happy birthday DUPLO! Never had any as a child in the 70s. But am making up for it with my young son who now has an obscene amount. It is all for him you understand, and not for me to live a missed experience from my childhood in any way!

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By in United States,

Duplo was a winner from the beginning. Parents recognized the value and started to pass on those bricks to the next generation instead of selling them off at garage sales. Today Duplo is as strong as ever with a wide variety of new molds and printed bricks produced every year.

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By in United States,

You don't see people giving DUPLO as much love as it deserves. Even beyond the safe play granted to young builders, these massive blocks are great for filling in the underside of hills and raising foundations for more intricate LEGO builds without having to use near the amount of pieces. They can save so much time and money!

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By in United Kingdom,

Whoa, its my brothers birthday as well today (although he is only 15). I remeber playing with duplo when i was only like a year old! Happy birthday!!!

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By in United States,

You would think by now that duplo would be old enough for the bunny to be playing with Legos, not Duplos

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By in Canada,

Who would have thought that I share my birthday with DUPLO of all things. I guess I better run home and play :)

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By in United States,

"although could Apollo 11 be dismantled and rebuilt into a racing car?"

Apollo 11? No, probably not. But Apollo 15-17 carried the famous moon buggies, which do have wheels. I imagine strapping the biggest rocket engine from the entire mission that you could fit without crushing the buggy would make for one exciting ride.

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By in United Kingdom,

They should make a Duplo Saturn V to go along what my Lego one.

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By in United States,

Enlarging the infographic actually makes it smaller on mobile devices

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By in United Kingdom,

I had a mix of the first Duplo figures as well as the second - and that push train! It all came out of my Mum’s loft recently to be enjoyed all over again by my daughter, and now my 1 year old son has just started connecting and disconnecting bricks (rather than just shoving them in his mouth or throwing them at the cat)... Happy 50th Duplo!

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