Ole Kirk Christiansen and the birth of the LEGO BUILDING BRICK
The LEGO Group began in the workshop of Danish carpenter, Ole Kirk Christiansen. Ole opened the shop with his 12-year-old son, Godtfred, in 1932. The father-son duo made items such as stools, ladders and ironing boards. The depression weighed heavily on Ole, and he decided to change his tactics and make things that would sell; it turned out he was an excellent toymaker and focused his craftsmanship on wooden toys. By 1934, Christiansen had success selling his toys and named his company “Lego” which comes from the Danish phrase “leg godt” meaning play well. Today, Kjeld Kirk Christiansen, grandson to Ole Kirk, owns LEGO.
When the Lego Group was first started it was focused on building wooden toys. Eventually, by 1947, it began to produce plastic toys. The Lego Group took a risk by switching from wood to plastic but the risk paid off when the toy building brick was named “Toy of the Century” by the British Toy Retailers Association as well as Fortune, twice.
One of the things that set LEGO apart from the competition is it put out specialized sets and licensed with movies and other companies such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Toy Story, and more. The company also uses target marketing and has product lines marketed specifically towards girls and adults; including its Architecture Studio Set which has over 1200 pieces and no instructions. The company strives to inspire its customers to “Let your imagination guide your design.”
All around the world, there are LEGO museums and figures where you can see larger than life LEGO creations. A few of those notable creations include The Lego X-Wing which is a 23 ton, 5.3 million brick creation with a 44 feet wingspan. The Milan Lego Tower is at 114 feet tall with 580,000 bricks.