The Birth of an Invention

A Few Little-Known Facts about the Modern Combine

Farming changed forever when Cyrus McCormick introduced the mechanical reaper to the world. Although Cyrus brought this invention to its birth, its origins are more complex.

- McCormick's reaper was a mechanized marvel in a simpler age. -

– McCormick’s reaper was a mechanized marvel in a simpler age. –

Learn 3 stops on the timeline of invention, and see a LEGO® combine.


Micro-Scale Millennium Falcon

Tips and Tricks from Builder Chris Walley

Who doesn’t love an old, clunky spaceship that can outrun the emperor’s own finely-tuned fleet? I enjoy seeing LEGO models of Han Solo’s Millenium Falcon, but there are few versions that I have enjoyed more than Chris Walley‘s micro-scale.

I asked Chris for three tips on how to build a beautiful micro-scale, and the last of his answers really surprised me.


How an Artist Invented Texting

Communication Became Instant 170 Years Ago

Aptitude is everything. Or is it? Little Sammy Morse was an artistic boy and wanted to become a painter, but his parents didn’t think relying on art for a living was such a good idea.

After Samuel spent a year working as a clerk at a publishing firm, his parents paid for him to study art in London. However, Samuel struggled to achieve a sufficient income from painting.


Generate Ideas Like a Rocket Scientist

A Five-Step Countdown to Launch Your Imagination

Half a century before his time, Robert Goddard took a quantum leap in scientific speculation. His 1920 scientific paper proposed that rockets could propel themselves through space even without an atmosphere to push against.

- Robert Goddard is known as the Father of Modern Rocketry. -

– Robert Goddard is known as the Father of Modern Rocketry. –

His idea defied the conventional understanding of cause and effect, resulting in a mocking New York Times editorial that concluded: “Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” Maybe the Times was right.


Round Pegs and Square Holes

LEGO Bricks Don't Have to Be Square

If I gave you a pile of rectangular bricks, what would you build? Many would build a wall. My 3-year-old would certainly build a tower. People expect a square wall from square bricks, but they are more impressed by a curved arch from those chunks of masonry.

Masterfully demonstrating the “wave technique” in this surfing scene, Sylvain Amacher (captainsmog), turns the blockiness of LEGO into a sleek action scene.

Try the ‘wave technique’ with bricks from your own collection.

A graphic designer from Switzerland, Sylvain knows how to please the eye.


Escaping the “Brick Blahs” with Birgitte

Understanding Categories and Insight Into the Creative Process

Have you ever wondered how some artists display such amazing creativity? Builder Birgitte Jonsgard took the time to share a few secrets and an interesting visual trick.

JD: Birgitte, how do you escape the “blah” to find creative inspiration?

Birgitte: Creativity is not the easiest topic to say something sensible about. It is such an abstract topic, but the theme is too interesting not to give it a try. Well, here we go…


Discover When to “Stick” Out Failure

The Surprising Story of the Post-It® Note

You have likely used a Post-It® Note, but do you know who invented them? Originally discarded as a failure, the adhesive that made the World’s favorite sticky note was ignored for years.

Tasked with developing a high-strength glue, Spencer Silver accidentally made the weak adhesive we now find on Post-Its®. But he didn’t dream up the handy notes.


Do You Know the Story of the LASER?

LASER Inventor Shares His Thoughts on Luck and Invention

Because he was not part of the elite scientific establishment, the inventor of the LASER struggled his entire life to receive the credit he deserved. Curious, adventuresome and somewhat creative as a child, Theodore Maiman wasn’t afraid to look at things a little differently from the crowd.

Maiman started his experiments early. At  three and a half years old, young Theodore was convinced that the refrigerator light was not turning off when his mother closed the door. Like most of us, she was skeptical; but before she could close the door Theodore had climbed inside to inspect.


A Simple LEGO Kingdom

How to Create the Illusion of Detail

Bad news: there is no formula for creating an awesome LEGO castle like this one. Although Igor Elshin (Sunder_59) built this model more by feel than by a set of rules, he was able to share a few pointers with me.

Looking over Kazum’dar Castle from a bird’s-eye view, I was impressed by the clean appearance of the model. So I asked Igor, “How do you keep from over-complicating your micro-scale builds?” Read his answers below.