It’s difficult to imagine there was a time when the LEGO Minifigure didn’t exist. From the most basic building set to video games and up through hit films, the Minifigure is now synonymous with the toy brand.

First, an infographic following the development of the Minifigure. They reached the form we know now in 1978 although there were some generic figures before that.

Next, lets walk through the actual patents, the very first figures, and the first molds. This set of images wraps up with the more modern molds.

Next, some photos of the factories where the Minifigures are made. There is something awesome and disturbing going on here. Seeing a vat filled with what appears to be thousands of Minifigure heads feels like you’ve come across some gruesome crime scene.

With over 5,000 Minifigure styles out there, it’s clear LEGO has put in a lot of work over the past 40 years. With another movie on the way, more games, and an endless stream of sets, it certainly looks like the Minifigure will be a part of our lives for many more years to come.