Ole Kirk Christiansen
|Ole Kirk Christiansen|
7 April 1891|
|Died||11 March 1958
|Known for||Founding the Lego company.|
(m. ?–1932; her death)
|Children||4; including Godtfred Kirk Christiansen|
Ole Kirk Christiansen (7 April 1891 – 11 March 1958) was the founder of the Danish construction toy company the LEGO Group. He was the 10th son of an impoverished family in Jutland in western Denmark. Born 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. Soon after, Christiansen's wife died, leaving him to raise his four sons. Christiansen was inspired to construct a small wooden duck toy for his children. He soon found that his sons loved the new toy and decided to put the ducks into production, using the leftover wood from his old business. In 1942 a fire broke out at the factory forcing them to rebuild. Initially, he made miniature versions of the houses and furniture as he worked on as a carpenter, but in 1947 moved to using plastics, which were originally small plastic bears and rattles. By 1949 he had produced over 200 plastic and wooden toys.
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. On 11 March 1958, Christiansen died from a heart attack when he was 66 years old, and his third son Godtfred Kirk Christiansen promptly took over the company.