January 28, 2020
Day 28 of 366
January 28th is the twenty-eighth day of the year. It is Data Privacy Day worldwide, an observation designed to raise awareness and promote privacy and data protection best practices.
In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Blueberry Pancake Day, National Fun at Work Day, National Kazoo Day, and National Plan for Vacation Day. That last one is typically observed on the last Tuesday in January.
Historical items of note:
- In 1573, the Articles of the Warsaw Confederation were signed, sanctioning freedom of religion in Poland.
- In 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is first published in the United Kingdom. Zombies would be added 196 years later.
- In 1855, a locomotive on the Panama Canal Railway ran from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
- In 1878, the Yale Daily News was published, becoming the first daily college newspaper in the United States.
- In 1922, the Knickerbocker Storm occurred in Washington, DC. It was so named when the immense snowfall caused the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater collapsed and caused the city’s largest loss of life.
- In 1936, actor, writer, and director Alan Alda was born.
- In 1956, Elvis Presley made his first nationally televised appearance.
- In 1965, the current design of the Flag of Canada was chosen by an act of Parliament.
- In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds after liftoff. All seven astronauts on board were lost. I commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the disaster in this post.
In 1958, The Lego company patented the design of its famous bricks.
Lego was born in 1932 when Ole Kirk Christiansen of Billund, Denmark started making toys in his workshop. The company was named in 1934 based on the Danish phrase leg godt, which means “play well”. The company started making plastic toys in 1947 and two years later started into the interlocking bricks game with their Automatic Binding Bricks.
The interlocking bricks were based on the Self-Locking Bricks line from Kiddicraft, which had been patented in the United Kingdom in 1939 and released eight years later. Lego received a Kiddicraft sample from their injection-molding machine supplier.
By 1951, the plastic toys were around half of Lego’s output. By 1954, they were on the way to becoming a toy system after Christiansen’s son, Godtfred, talked to an overseas buyer in his role as junior managing director. The big catch was the fact that the bricks were limited in locking ability and versatility, so over the modern brick design was developed over the next five years. The ABS polymer design was patented in 1958 and is still compatible with bricks released today.
From there, the company continued innovating. They made the Duplo line in 1969, a design for younger children that basically doubled the dimensions of the standard Lego bricks. Minifigures were introduced in 1978 and became a highly-collectible staple of the toyline.
Lego’s popularity has reached many forms of popular culture including books, films, video games, and art. The system has also been used as a teaching tool for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. It also reached a major milestone in 1998 when it was one of the original inductees into the National Toy Hall of Fame at The Strong in Rochester, New York.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.