Happy 50th Birthday Duplo


Today marks the 50th birthday of Duplo. These big blocks don’t get a lot of coverage here on Bricking Around, but for so many kids they are their first introduction to the world of LEGO.

The team from LEGO sent through a huge treasure trove of images, videos and infographics to celebrate this special occasion and I’ve included a bunch of that below. But firstly I want to talk about what Duplo means to me personally.

I have a young son and being the massive LEGO fan that I am I have slowly been introducing him to Duplo. The Duplo Steam Train was probably one of my favourite sets from last year because it offered something that no other set did – it made my son happy. Seeing his eyes light up when the train first went around that track was one of those awesome dad moments.

I actually spent my day off yesterday playing with that set as well as a whole bunch of other bits and pieces. We had Spider-Man driving the train, while the carriage was full of bricks and the roof was covered in a mix of people and animals. Where else but Duplo can you have Hulk, a little girl, two cats and a dog all going on a train ride together.

Here’s the only MOC I have built this year – I call it “House”. It’s where Spider-Man lives when he’s not driving his train (sorry for the low quality photo. I didn’t realise at the time that I’d be using it in a post).


To me, that build and those moments playing trains with my son speak more about the value of Duplo than anything else. Duplo is a toy that brings creative play to a younger group of kids. It’s genuinely awesome.

Before we get into the stuff that LEGO sent through, I’d love to hear your Duplo experiences.

Duplo Product History

Historical Duplo Logos


Duplo Ads

Here are two retro ads for Duplo. The first is from 1986 while the second comes from 1993.

Press Release

50 Years Young

Celebrating half a century of big building fun with LEGO® DUPLO®

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?

3 Responses to Happy 50th Birthday Duplo

  1. Bruce says:

    My kids have grown out of Duplo now but the Duplo they played with up until about a year ago was the set I played with in the mid 1970s. Same bricks, still going strong. I have been using those bricks every year on Christmas Eve to spell “Ho Ho Ho” in large red, yellow and blue bricks so the kids thought that Santa had time in his travels to deliver presents, eat milk and cookies, and play with Duplo when they came out on Christmas Day.

  2. Andrew says:

    I remember bringing home Play House 2770 and Sea Explorer 2649 from a work trip in the late 80s for our toddlers. Now our grandchildren eagerly seek them out when they come over. Timeless.

  3. Charlotte says:

    I have a 7yo and a 5yo and they both still absolutely love playing with Duplo (as well as Lego)! The best thing is that we often find Duplo at Op Shops (unlike Lego which is much harder to find at op shops!) so we have a MASSIVE Duplo collection, with heaps of people & animals so it makes building heaps of fun! And they love it Cos you can build something really large in a short period of time, so they are forever making a big Zoo or a town with a train. Duplo is awesome!

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