Ole Kirk Christiansen (LEGO(tm)

Danish businessman and LEGO(Tm) creator Ole Kirk Christiansen, was born 7 April 1891 in Filskov, Denmark. He trained as a carpenter and started making wooden toys in 1932 to make a living after having lost his job during the depression. Sadly though, shortly after the depression Christiansen’s wife also died, leaving him to raise his four sons by himself. Christiansen knew the value of hard wearing toys So to make ends meet he decided to construct a small wooden duck toy for his children. When he found that his sons loved the new toy he decided to put the ducks into production using the leftover wood from his old business. He then went on to making miniature versions of the houses and furniture, which also became quite successful.

Sadly though In 1942 a fire broke out at the factory destroying Ole’s life’s work and forcing them to rebuild from scratch. So in 1947 he invested in a revolutionary injection-moulding machine Imported from Britain in 1947 for 30,000 Danish kroner (£3,200). After Building a new factory, Ole set about re-making his lost designs and moved on to manufacturing plastic items rather than wood, these originally consisted of small plastic bears and rattles. By 1949 he had produced over 200 plastic and wooden toys. Then, two years after buying the injection-moulding machine, he produced the first Lego bricks, called Automatic Binding Bricks, they looked similar to today’s blocks but had a slit in the sides and were completely hollow. Ole Kirk Christiansen came up with the name Lego from the Danish words leg godt, meaning “play well”, and the company grew to become the Lego Group.

Then In 1954, Ole’s son Godtfred, the firm’s junior managing director returned from a UK toy fair with the idea of creating a toy system in which every element could connect together to build things, and by 1958 the firm had patented the colourful bricks with hollow tubes on the underside so they could be locked together and the story of the Lego brick began. Sadly though On 11 March 1958, Christiansen died from a heart attack when he was 66 years old, however his third son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen promptly took over the company and developed his idea of interconnecting bricks culminating in The first Lego set, Town Plan No.1, which had everything a child needed to make their own model town centre, this became a huge success.

Since then Lego(tm) has grown to become a household name, annually selling many million sets worldwide. Then In 1968 they opened a theme park at their HQ in Billund, Denmark — the first of six worldwide. A year later came Lego Duplo for under-fives and in 1978 “minifigure” people. Since then, all manner of themed Lego sets have hit shelves, from pirates, Outer Space, Lord of the Rings, Ninjago to Harry Potter and today, eight Lego sets are sold every Second worldwide. The UK even has its own Legoland which opened in Windsor in 1996 and there are now Lego-only stores, Lego computer games including Lego batman. There are two rather entertaining LEGO Movies and even a clothing range.

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