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Lego's Beginnings in Denmark

How did Lego bricks come to be?

From humble beginnings in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen a carpenter and furniture maker.

After his workshop burned down in 1924 he began again by building a larger workshop and increasing production but the depression in the 1930's almost forced him out of business when a social worker encouraged him to begin making toy reproductions of his furniture.

He began with pull toys, piggy banks, cars and trucks and enjoyed a modest amount of success but his toys were expensive and he was forced to return to furniture making.

In 1934 the company name was coined. A contest was held encouraging his employees to come with a name and two names were considered "Legia" a combination of legion of toys and "Lego" from the Danish phrase "leg godt" or play well.

When plastic came into widespread use Ole Kirk stayed with the times and began producing plastic toys including a modular truck that could be taken apart and reassembled and in 1949 began producing plastic bricks designed after Kiddicraft bricks produced by Hilary Harry Fisher Page.

The Lego bricks were developed to resemble traditional wooden blocks that could be stacked one upon the other the difference was the several round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom so that they would stick together and the rest is history.

Legoland Denmark in Billund can easily be reached by car from Copenhagen and on the way a stop in Odense for a visit to the Hans Christian Andersen home and museum may be in order.

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