Monday, December 22, 2008

Ole Kirk Christiansen


I'd like to kick off the Christmas week honoring Ole Kirk Christiansen, inventor of one of my favorite toys of all time - the LEGO.

Christiansen (1891-1958), born in Filskov, Denmark, was a master carpenter and woodworker. In 1932, he founded the company that would eventually become LEGO. The company first manufactured wooden toys, but moved into the more familiar plastic production in 1940. The now-famous LEGO brand interlocking blocks - first known as "Automatic Binding Bricks" hit the streets in 1949.

The LEGO building blocks were first sold in the U.S. in the 1960s. By this time, Christiansen had begun offering his product in sets. Consumers could purchase blocks bundled to create a specific scene or object - e.g. buildings, vehicles, etc. These sets have since expanded to include blocks for entire city scenes, remote controlled robotics (such as the MINDSTORM NXT pictured above), trains, and more.

Today, the company is headed by Ole's grandson, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. The LEGO company continues to manufacture new and innovative products that sell worldwide and appeal to every age group.

Sources:
LEGO at Wikipedia
LEGO.com
MIT-Inventor of the Week Archives

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