Ole Kirk Christiansen

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Ole Kirk Christiansen
1st Leader and Founder of The Lego Group
In office
10 August 1932 (1932-08-10) – 11 March 1958 (1958-03-11)
Succeeded byGodtfred Kirk Christiansen
Personal details
Born(1891-04-07)7 April 1891
Filskov, South Jutland, Denmark
Died11 March 1958(1958-03-11) (aged 66)
Billund, Denmark
Cause of deathHeart attack
Spouse(s)Kirstine Christiansen
(m. 1916–1932; her death)
Children4 (including Godtfred)
Known forFounding the Lego company.

Ole Kirk Christiansen (7 April 1891 – 11 March 1958) was the founder of the Danish construction toy company The Lego Group.

Christiansen was born in Filskov, South Jutland, Denmark, the 10th son of an impoverished family in Jutland.[citation needed] He trained as a carpenter and started making wooden toys in 1932 to make a living after having lost his job during the Great Depression. Soon after, his wife Kirstine died, leaving him to raise his four sons; he never remarried.

Christiansen was inspired to construct a small wooden duck toy for his children. He soon learned his sons loved the new toy and decided to put the ducks into production, using the leftover wood from his old business.[citation needed]

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, Ole had produced over 200 plastic and wooden toys.[citation needed]

Ole wanted a name for the group. In 1934, Ole launched a competition to name the company. The prize was a bottle of his own homemade wine. He won it himself.[not in citation given] Lego is a shortened form of the Danish words Leg godt, meaning "play well", and the company grew to become The Lego Group.[1]

On 11 March 1958, Christiansen died from a heart attack at the age of 66, and his third son Godtfred promptly took over the company.[2][3]


  1. ^ Mary Bellis (1 May 1954). "Timeline: Lego Group". Inventors.about.com. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Timeline of Ole's life". Lego and Ole Kirk Christiansen. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  3. ^ "Inventor of the Week: Ole Kirk Christiansen". Lemelson-MIT Program. December 2004. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2018.