50 Years Ago, Lego Invented The Wheel

It was 50 years ago, in April of 1962, that primitive lego-cave-dwelling minifigs first developed the wheel. This ranks among the greatest milestones in Lego history since early minifig society first figured out how to smelt raw plastic ore into Lego bricks.

Since then, Lego has produced so many wheels they're the largest tire manufacturer in the world, making 381 million per year.

That first set, code 400, was released in 1962 and was pretty much just wheels. Those early wheels — white tires, separate axles that fit into any side of a special 4x2 block — replaced sets that had small, non-Lego-like toy cars.

I had a very early hand-me-down set of Legos (only three colors!) with such cars, and while they were great (little Volkswagens with steel wheels!) they can't match the versatility of a true Lego car, and all the possibilities that means.

50 Years Ago, Lego Invented The Wheel

Since that time, there's been all manner of Lego wheel development, from the usual heavy-tread wheels on the 2x2 plate to big bulbous ones for moon rovers, to motorized wheel assemblies, all the way up to Lego's largest wheel, the 4.2" monster on the Power Puller set.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm going to reveal for the first time ever the super-secret method I developed as a child to make vehicles wider than what the common 2x2 Lego wheel unit would allow. Ready? Take the wheel unit, remove one of the tires, leaving one tired wheel and one red hub. Use those on the sides of your larger-width car, separated from the base of the car with a flat spacer piece. There you go — the secret to making wider Lego cars with the Legos I had in the 1980s that I'm sure no one has ever ever thought of.

50 Years Ago, Lego Invented The Wheel

You're welcome.