Two days ago on 12 August 2012 the Lego corperation celebrated it’s eightieth birthday! I don’t know why but before seeing that headline spread all over the internet I imagined that Legos had been around for much longer than that; probably because I remember my parents telling me about how they played with Legos growing up. Everything seems old when you let your parents talk about it, lol. Enough jokes! Back to the topic. Those iconic little bricks have been on the market for a mere eighty years and have taken the toy industry and pop culture by storm. Lego bricks can be found just about anywhere there’s entertainment. Kids have Lego sets, contemporary artists use the tiny bricks to create works of art, hell even video game companies are in on the Lego action! I don’t know about you, but I think Lego Star Wars and Lego Batman are the shizz! Everyone seems to love those multi-colored cubes and childish or not, I can’t imagine modern culture without them. It’s just something about the simple design and those tiny-little-Lego-dudes that scream “happy”.
Prior to learning Lego’s true age I’d always been curious about its roots. Because Legos are bricks, I’d always imagined that a construction worker designed them. Seemed sensible; maybe this guy (or girl) was such a hard worker that he wanted scale models of his favorite work things to take home with. Maybe a construction tycoon needed a model made of a potential structure so he ordered someone to build it and they used little plastic bricks. Made sense to me! As far as I saw, who else other than a construction worker could come up with a design as simple yet useful as a Lego? Lucky for nerds like me who enjoy learning random facts about random objects, the real story behind Lego is much cooler than I ever imagined!
Way back in 1916 a humble carpenter named Ole Kirk Christiansen opted to shift his imagination from building homes to making wooden toys. Although this prospect seems innocent in nature, the idea hit him after a bit of misfortune was sent his way. After a couple of pretty major personal losses, Christiansen was forced to downsize his shop and could no longer afford to pay his (former) employees and despite times being tight had to make a living for his family; that’s where the toys came in. After enlisting the help of his eldest son Godtfred, Christiansen was able to pick up productivity and land a high dollar client; that is until trying times reared its ugly head once again forcing this dedicated father to think on his feet and come up with a way to turn tough times into opportunity. Over the next few years Mr. Christiansen and his son continued to make toys but realized they needed to come up with a name for their creations. Something catchy. Something that people would remember; it was then Lego was truly born!
I don’t want to give away too much of the story but that very brief run-down should at least get you wondering. To celebrate their eightieth birthday the brilliant minds over at the Lego corporation (and Ole’s grandson Kjeld Christiansen who is the vice chairman of Lego) decided to create a short animated film to show how Lego came to be. I know this may sound corny but the story of Lego is truly a heart-warming tale. It just goes to show you that imagination, hard work and hope truly pave the way for many great things. With that being said, here’s “History of Lego” for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy!
Happy birthday Lego!