History, Progression, and Impact
In 1932, Lego was started by Ole Kirk Christiansen in Billund, Denmark. Initially, he started out making Legos out of wood. He had contracted the Danish phrase leg godt meaning play well. This phrase would also come in handy later because lego roughly translates into "I assemble" in Latin. Ole Kirk, also known as OKC, was a Danish carpenter with an excellent control over wood. During the Great Depression, he started to make toys to trade with neighbors for food. All Ole Kirk really wanted to do was get food at first. However, this investment would turn into the something that would change his life forever.
Progression and Changes
He started in a workshop that he designed himself, and had his two sons as employees. He was only working on wooden toys that weren’t even the building blocks. In 1947, he moved on to plastic building blocks called Lego Automatic Binding Bricks. They were almost exact replicas of an earlier product created by Hilary Page called Kiddicraft Interlocking Building Cubes. In 1958, Ole Kirk died and his son Godtfred became leader. Later, in the 1960’s, Lego switched from cellulose acetate to ABS plastic, meaning the Legos were more sturdy, impact resistant, and colorful. However, it was not a complete switch until the 1970’s. Many 60’s sets contained both cellulose acetate and ABS. Now there are more brick shapes, colors, and functions. Also, minifigures are now included, which were not around until the 70’s. Now, there are so many more options than before.
How does Lego Impact Us?
When Lego started, OKC was merely trying to support himself during the Great Depression. Now Lego is a household name. Lego is the largest toy company in the world, surpassing Mattel. Everyday, I use my Legos. Also, the Lego site has lots of games. The Lego minifigure is also one of the most recognized items in the world. Defective sets are donated to poor children. For over 60 years, the bricks we know today have been entertaining children. If they weren’t around today (Oh, god, what a nightmare! A life without Lego?!) children would be less creative, parents would have their hands full, and life would be plain BORING.
Is There a Most Important Product?
You can’t narrow down the one most important product that Lego makes. They produce toys, games, clothing, and video games. Really the most important product is whatever the public wants. When the new Star Wars came out, Lego had new sets to match. Captain America Civil War? Meet “Black Panther Pursuit”, “Crossbones Hazard Heist”, and the less fantastically named “Super Hero Airport Battle”. The public dictates what TLG comes out with next.
Old Lego System Commercial
New Lego Commerical
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp is the current CEO of TLG (The Lego Group). When he became CEO in October 2004 it was special for two reasons. One: He was the first non-Kristiansen (the name’s spelling got changed over the years) to lead the company after three generations. And, two: Lego was failing. They were producing sub-themes that were on shelves for very short times. The company was in debt millions of Danish Krone. How could he rescue this sinking ship? Answer: Selling off most of the Legoland theme parks to Merlin Entertainment, discontinuing unsuccessful lines, and laying off Billund Employees. In just four years, in 2008, sales were up 20%. Now, he leads the most profitable toy company in the world.
Thanks For Watching/Reading
Books: A Million Little Bricks The Unofficial Illustrated History of the Lego Phenomenon. By: Sarah Herman
The Cult of Lego. By: Joe Meno and John Baichtal