It’s time to Lego: The man who made happy childhoods even happier
Jens Nygaard Knudsen, creator of Lego’s minifigures, vastly expanded and humanised the beloved toys
Jens Nygaard Knudsen, who has died aged 78, created the Lego minifigures, which added a human element to the Danish toy building brick company’s playscapes.
The company had originally introduced human figures in a “Family” set in 1974, but while the set sold well the figures were too large to be incorporated in the miniature Lego world.
Knudsen was given the task of overseeing the development of a new line of miniature figures, and over the next four years, initially working by carving Lego bricks, he created 50 prototypes before he eventually came up with a figure three bricks high with eight movable parts. These provided ample scope for adaptation, with C-shaped hands capable of gripping, and hollow heads that could accommodate different hairstyles and hats, enabling nurses to be transformed into policemen and firemen into astronauts...