Ole Kirk Christiansen (7 April 1891 – 11 March 1958) was the founder of a Danish construction toy company called 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.
Christiansen was born in 1891 in Filskov, Denmark, a small village north of the Danish town of Billund. He was educated as far as high school, and then began working in a factory, eventually becoming a woodworker and master carpenter. He set up his own business in Billund in 1932. Among the products he made were stepladders, ironing boards and wooden toys – which would become his specialty. 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.
THE FIRST EVER SERVER OF GOOGLE WAS ALSO BUILT WITH LEGO BLOCKS.
LEGO’s Automatic Binding Bricks, however, were still made of wood at that time, and they were available only in Denmark. They became very popular there, but they really took off once Christiansen began making them out of brightly colored plastic. By 1949 he had produced over 200 plastic and wooden toys. The company adopted the name “LEGO,” from the Danish words “Leg Godt,” or “play well.” (Appropriately, “Lego” also means “I study,” or “I put together” in Latin), and the company grew to become the Lego Group.
Additionally, LEGO opened a series of theme parks based on the Lego toy concept, the first in Billund in 1968. Others opened in Windsor, England in 1996 and in Carlsbad, California in 1999. Most recently, a fourth park opened in 2002 in Gunzburg, Germany. The parks continue to be immensely popular with people of all ages, especially parents and their children.
LEGO has been a pioneer in using its products to advance research in learning and play. Initiatives include the LEGO Learning Institute, the LEGO Educational Division, collaboration with MIT’s Media Lab, and LEGO Serious Play, a product designed to help business owners to develop innovative strategies and solutions. The company has sold Lego toys in 130 countries, with sales totaling more than $1.5 billion.