LEGO is Toy of the Century...

The Council of the BATR chose Lego as the winner of the BATR Toy of the Century awards. It beat the teddy bear, Action man and Barbie. From plastic interlocking building bricks to bricks with implanted microchips to theme parks, Lego was seen as having made a major contribution to children’s play over the last 100 years.


Ole Kirk Christiansen started his Lego toy company in Denmark in 1932. Lego means ‘play well’ in Danish. (leg godt). Later he discovered Lego in Latin means ‘to put together’. Lego bricks went on sale in the UK in 1955. The international success of Lego is now the stuff of legends. Besides the simple Duplo bricks for youngsters, the range extends to Mindstorms, where dedicated bricks have imbedded microchips to create robots which can be controlled over the Internet!

Game of the Century


In the USA in 1933, Charles Darrow devised Monopoly. The patent was filed 31st August 1935 while the game was on sale in America. Based on an earlier game, The Landlord’s Game, it was at first rejected by Parker Bros., as being too complicated to be a success. How wrong could they be! It came to the UK in 1936, made under licence by Waddingtons. Darrow died in 1967 having realised he had developed one of the most successful board games of all times.

Craze of the Century

Yo Yo (photo courtesy of

Rediscovered by Frank Duncan in Los Angeles in 1929 when he saw waiters originally from the Philippines demonstrating their traditional toy. The Yo-Yo can be traced back to ancient Greece – in the Philippines it was a weapon (like a boomerang) for hunting and war until later it became a sporting item and a plaything. To promote his product, Duncan used celebrities such as Mary Pickford and Bing Crosby (who sang ‘My Little Yo-Yo). In 1930 Frank Duncan brought over demonstrators to Europe to play the music halls. The craze started to spread all over the world, and seems to be frequently revived. Last year the UK toy retailers sold yo-yos worth over £30m.