How Ole Kirk Christiansen Became Rich with Lego Toys

Ole Kirk Christiansen was Danish entrepreneur who found fortune in toys. Born on April 7 in the year 1891, in Filskov, Denmark, he became famous and wealthy as the founder of The Lego Group.

Ole Kirk Christiansen
Ole Kirk Christiansen – Founder of Lego

Ole Christiansen was the 10th son of poor farmers. With very little formal education, he started learning carpentry even as a young child. As a teenager, he travelled to Germany where he found work in a carpentry shop. After saving a small amount in five years, he returned to Denmark in 1916 and bought a carpentry shop and lumberyard in Billund, a small town near his birthplace. In this shop, he built different kinds of furniture and building components.

In 1932, the Great Depression engulfed Denmark and Ole Christiansen lost many customers. Having nothing to do in the shop, he created small wooden duck toys for his children to play with. He noticed how much his children loved the toys. He started making more of them and sold them to other children. Since then, wooden toys such as piggy banks, pull toys, cars and trucks and houses became the main products of his shop. In 1934, he adopted the brand name Lego which has good associative meanings in several languages such as “play well” in the Danish Language or “put together” in Latin. When he needed money to build a bigger factory, he asked help from his relatives. Instead of lending money, they chastised him. Undaunted, he mortgaged everything to get a loan. In 1939, he gave a big party for having paid the loan in full.

In 1942, a fire totally destroyed the factory. In 1947, the company started using plastic to make the toys, one of the first companies to use plastic molding machines. In the following years, the company patented the lego products and started to export.

Ole Christiansen died in 1958 of heart attack at the age of 66. He had four children with his wife Kristine.

References
https://lemelson.mit.edu/resources/ole-kirk-christiansen
http://www.famousinventors.org/ole-kirk-christiansen
https://www.lego.com/en-us/legohistory

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