Oldest LEGO Sets in the World

10 Oldest LEGO Sets Ever Released

LEGO is a Danish toy company that has grown into a global icon. It has become so popular that it’ll be a challenge to find someone who doesn’t know about these interlocking blocks.

But the company’s success didn’t come overnight. LEGO’s humble beginnings date back to 1932 when it was founded by Ole Kirk Kristiansen– a singular carpenter with an extraordinary vision.

Today, that vision is still being upheld by Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, one of his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.

It wasn’t until 1958 or 26 years after the company was founded, that LEGO began manufacturing the interlocking bricks that we know today. This wasn’t without a few market misses- LEGO wasn’t immediately embraced by the toy industry.

Mistakes or not, LEGO has now captivated both children’s and adults’ imaginations worldwide.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane with some of ‘The oldest LEGO sets in the world’ to see just how far the toy company has evolved over the years.

10. Gears

Year manufactured: 1965
Year discontinued: not applicable
Number of colors in the set: Red, yellow and blue

Gearsphoto source: brickset.com

The first ever LEGO set to utilize gears and batteries was released in 1965. The batteries provided power to a simple engine enabling the gears’ rotation. The colorful and different-sized gears were meant to be combined to suit the builders’ needs which added dynamic movement to an otherwise static toy.

The manual had detailed instructions- mostly on how to connect the battery.

Did You Know?

The set also came with a Ferris wheel to appeal to young and aspiring engineers.

9. Train

Year manufactured: 1964
Year discontinued: not applicable
Number of colors in the set: Red, white, blue, gray, and black

Trainphoto source: www.lego.com

LEGO has been making wooden trains since the 1930s but it was not until 1964 when the company first introduced a proper brick train set that builders couldn’t wait to get their hands on. It was LEGO’s first attempt at a functional train, using the recently released wheels feature just the year prior.

Later LEGO train sets though would come with their own tracks but for now, brick-building fans marveled at the improvement in the overall design.

Did You Know?

The first motorized LEGO train set will be released two years later, this time with tire-less wheels meant to roll along a track.

8. Wheels

Year manufactured: 1962
Year discontinued: not applicable
Number of colors in the set: Red, white and gray

Wheelsphoto source: www.brightontoymuseum.co.uk

LEGO wheels were first introduced in 1962 and are considered a major milestone for the company. They were sold in either Small or Large sizes and were supposed to be used for self-designed vehicles.

Did You Know?

The release of the LEGO wheels in 1962 was a major milestone for the company. LEGO currently enjoys its status as the largest tire manufacturer in the world since nearly half of all lego sets include wheels.

7. Boats

Year manufactured: 1961
Year discontinued: not applicable
Number of colors in the set: Red, white, blue, and yellow

Boatsphoto source: static.wikia.nocookie.net

1958 saw an improved version of the original LEGO brick. It is the same mold design that is still being used by the company today.  The improved design made the bricks more versatile and durable, making it possible for the company to release its first boat in 1961.

Although non-buoyant, the boat set could be seen as a precursor to the LEGO Creator sets that feature ships and port structures.

Did You Know?

The first set also included instructions for multiple boat designs and other water vehicles.

6. The Volkswagen Auto Showroom

Year manufactured: 1958
Year discontinued: 1959
Number of colors in the set: Blue and white

photo source: www.brickeconomy.com

Another real-life company to be used in early LEGO sets was Volkswagen. The Volkswagen Auto Showroom was a 51-piece set that came with two Volkswagen Beetles that could be put on display in the showroom and two plastic lamposts to be placed in front of the structure.

It has become one of the more collectible sets among the early releases and complete sets in mint condition are worth a tidy sum in the secondhand market.

The Volkswagen showroom was meant to compliment the Volkswagen Garage set of 1957. The blue and white bricks stand out in the predominantly red and white structures populating the then ever-growing LEGO towns.

A printed sign that read GARAGE came with the American release, while its translation was allotted for other sets depending on the region.

Did You Know?

The showroom structure doesn’t have any doors. If you want to place the car inside the structure, you would have to build around the cars or place them through the roof.

5. Church

Year manufactured: 1957
Year discontinued: 1957
Number of colors in the set: Red and white

Churchphoto source: www.brickeconomy.com

LEGO’s first and only Christian church set was released in 1957. It is a simple structure mostly made out of white and red bricks with a single bell tower and a congregation room. Later versions would have a stickered brick stating “Anno 1762” to indicate the church’s supposed construction.

Did You Know?

As of February 2021, LEGO has not released a Church set since 1957. One can only assume that it’s because the company feels that the subject can be controversial.

4. Fire Station

Year manufactured: 1957
Year discontinued: 1966
Number of colors in the set: Red and white

Fire Stationphoto source: brickset.com

The 1308 Fire Station was a 111-piece Town Pan System released in 1957.

The basic design of red and white bricks seen in previous sets was kept but now includes an extra garage for other LEGO vehicles.

A Bedford fire engine exclusive to the set came with a ladder that could extend longer than the truck itself.

Did You Know?

The printed 1 x 8 brick sign saying “Fire Station” came in various translations, depending on which region the set was released.

3. Esso Filling Station

Year manufactured: 1956
Year discontinued: 1966
Number of colors in the set: Red and white

Esso Filling Stationphoto source: brickset.com

While it kept the same design as the previous year’s Esso Station set, the Esso Filling Station now came with gas pumps and a built-in garage.

Advertised as the first stand-alone LEGO set rather than a component of a larger town, it had a total number of 98 pieces and measured 14.8 x 9.1 x 1.1 inches.

Did You Know?

A Bedford tanker that was previously released as a standalone toy was included in the 1956 Esso Filling Station set.

2. Town Plan and Town Plan Accessories

Year manufactured: 1956
Year discontinued: 1966
Number of colors in the set: varied

Town Plan and Town Plan Accessoriesphoto source: brickset.com

To help builders expand their LEGO towns, the brick maker introduced Town Plan- a series of stand-alone sets and accessories such as cars, trucks, and trailers. They even released a set called ‘Painted Trees and Bushes’ to help add color to the town.

Town Plan was when LEGO built its own world- literally. It featured their own fictional gas company, Esso. This was replaced by another fictional gas company called Octan in 1992.

Other cool LEGO Town Plan accessories include a garage set. It was a one-car garage with a plastic door that could be opened and closed.

LEGO also released a small store set that came with bricks and instructions to help fill out the small town. The simple structure had a large front window and a door at the back, while two bricks representing the store’s sign sit atop. Like most early LEGO sets, ‘Small Store’ is a straightforward structure without all the elaborate details the toy company would soon be famous for.

This LEGO system proved to be a pivotal moment for the toymaker. They released it again 50 years later to celebrate its anniversary in 2008. The new release also featured LEGO owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen on the box, just as it did half a century ago.

A true homage to the 1950’s version, it looks almost exactly like a 1950’s town but with a few twists. For one, it has gold bricks that cannot be purchased with any other set. It also has mini figures like a groom, a bride, a pedestrian, three Octan workers, a chef, and a ticket clerk.

Did You Know?

LEGO has been given the “Toy of the Century” award not once but twice. It bested Barbie and the Teddy Bear. 

1. Automatic Binding Bricks

Year manufactured: 1949
Year discontinued: 1953
Number of colors in the set: Red, White, Yellow, Light Green and sometimes a 5th color, called Medium Blue.

photo source: www.lego.com

Technically not part of the LEGO System proper, the Automatic Binding Bricks catalogs marked a turning point in LEGO’s modern trajectory. Even though the Automatic Binding Bricks were not sold with specific structures in mind, the catalogs included ideas for possible builds, including the number of bricks needed.

Despite the company’s Danish roots, the precursor to the modern LEGO system was given an English name when it was launched in 1949. It was LEGO’s simple but meaningful tribute to the Allied Forces, particularly the American and British forces who helped end the 2nd World War in 1945.

While not part of the LEGO system that we know today, toy historians credit the Automatic Binding Bricks to be the oldest LEGO set in the world.

Did You Know?

The name LEGO comes from two Danish words ‘leg’ and ‘godt.’ Leg Godt literally translates into ‘play well.’

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