Ole Kirk Christiansen
Ole Kirk Christiansen
|First leader and founder of The Lego Group|
10 August 1932 – 11 March 1958
|Succeeded by||Godtfred Kirk Christiansen|
|Born||7 April 1891|
Filskov, South Jutland, Denmark
|Died||11 March 1958 (aged 66)|
(m. 1916; died 1932)
|Children||4 (including Godtfred)|
|Known for||Founding the Lego company.|
Christiansen was born in Filskov, South Jutland, Denmark, the 10th child of an impoverished family in Jutland. Although in poverty, he was able to receive a basic high-school education. Ole turned to work in a factory, then eventually transitioned to woodwork and afterwards a master-carpenter.
In 1905, when Christiansen was 14, he began working as an apprentice to his brother. In 1911 he left Denmark and went to work in carpentry for five years in Germany. Ole bought the Billund Woodworking and Carpentry Shop with spared money he'd saved and made profitable sales in the years. Ole married the daughter of a Norwegian cheese-maker, Kristine Sorensen. Together, they had four children, Johannes, Karl, Godtfred and Gerhardt.
Beginnings of LEGO
During the early 1930s, Ole's business fell into the Great Depression as its peak rose in Denmark. Ole was able to make items such as Christmas tree stands and toys. His business was growing slow. The primary income, which was from sales of ladders and ironing boards, was shrinking in demand. Eventually, Ole had to dismiss his last worker, and after which his wife had died. Ole decided to officially found an unnamed company (then to be LEGO).
Sales in the Depression
Christiansen's company began to focus primarily on the production of toys. The company used the highest-quality of birch wood and sold numerous variety of toys. Ole earned a reputation for his work and maintained steady sales. This just managed to carry profits from the depression. Gotfred also became Ole's principle second-in-command.
Christiansen wanted a name for the group. In 1934, he launched a competition to name the company. The prize was a bottle of his own homemade wine. He created his own name, Lego, and he won it himself.[failed verification] Lego is a shortened form of the Danish words Leg godt, meaning "play well", and the company grew to become The Lego Group.
1940s and 1950s
Christiansen's company expanded throughout the 1940s and 1950s. In 1947, he purchased a self-moulding machine and began production of plastic toys. His son Gotfred became managing director and later CEO. All of Ole's sons assisted his company, and in 1958, the LEGO Brick patent was created.
- Famous Inventors, Ole Kirk Christiansen
- MIT Lemelson Program, Ole Kirk Christiansen
- https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/christiansen-ole-kirk, Ole Kirk Christiansen's Shop Purchase
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5xLRj035BI, A LEGO Brickumentary, LEGO Company's Story
- https://astrumpeople.com/ole-kirk-christiansen-biography/, LEGO Company Story
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdDU_BBJW9Y, The LEGO Story (80th anniversary) by LEGO. Timestamp: 0:29
- https://www.thoughtco.com/ole-kirk-christiansen-lego-1991644, Lego was founded in 1932
- Mary Bellis (1 May 1954). "Timeline: Lego Group". Inventors.about.com. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- "Timeline of Ole's life". Lego and Ole Kirk Christiansen. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- "Inventor of the Week: Ole Kirk Christiansen". Lemelson-MIT Program. December 2004. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2018.