LEGO is a well know brand across the world and I will guarantee every person has come across the name LEGO or played with the LEGO Brick.
But, have you ever wondered how the world’s most loved toy brand actually started? Well, I'm here to tell you...
Ole Kirk Kristiansen was born on 7th April 1891 and he trained to be a skilled carpenter. In 1916, Ole Kirk bought a workshop in the little town of Billund and set up a business building houses and furniture.
Business was not great and to make things worse, the Great Depression hit worldwide in 1932, threatening Ole Kirk to close his shop. However he turned his skills into creating a range of wooden toys. He created a mixed range of wooden toys such as wooden blocks, pull along animals and vehicles.
Ole Kirk Kristiansen (pictured aboue ^ )
LEGO, The Name...
Have you ever wondered where the actual name ‘LEGO’ comes from?
In 1934, Ole Kirk held a competition with his employees which was coming up with a name for his toy business. The winner would receive a bottle of wine. Ole Kirk himself wins with the name LEGO which is short for the Danish word ‘Leg GOdt’ which means ‘play well’. Surprisingly ‘LEGO’ also means ‘I put together’ in Latin.
The beginning of 'LEGO'...
Now he had the name LEGO, Ole Kirk needed a Motto. He decided on ‘Only the best is good enough’. The first LEGO duck was also made named ‘Kirk’s Sandgame’. This duck has been recently made into a LEGO set, 2011-2 LEGO Duck.
(First LEGO toys including Duck, pictured left < )
In 1947 Ole Kirk bought a plastic injection-moulding machine from Britain which cost DKK 30,000, one-15th of the company earnings for the year.
In 1949, ‘Automatic Binding Bricks’ were the company’s first interlocking bricks. Three years later, Ole Kirk plans build a new LEGO Factory at the cost of DKK 350,000. As the bricks became more popular, they were renamed ‘LEGO Mursten’ (LEGO Bricks).
1954 was a very important year. LEGO was officially registered in Denmark and Ole Kirk’s son, Godtfred Kirk Kristiansen, had the idea of creating a LEGO system of play, built with the LEGO Brick.
1958 was the year of the most important part of LEGO’s future. The LEGO stud-and-tube interlocking brick principle is patented at 1:58 pm on January 28th. Unfortunately however, Ole Kirk passed away in the same year and Godtfred becomes head of the company.
In 1978, the LEGO Minifigure was created.
We thank you a lot for reading this page! I hope you can now understand that little bit more about the beginnings of The LEGO Group.
Now, Ole Kirk’s grandson, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (Godtfred’s son) is head of The LEGO Group but Jørgen Vig Knudstorp acts as CEO.
So, who would have thought a carpenter in the small town of Billund would create the worlds most loved toy? LEGO, now with over 100 stores and 6 LEGOLAND Parks, is loved by all across the globe!
(left: Kjeld Kristiansen. Right: Jørgen Vig Knudstorp)