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History

The Lego brand had it's beginnings in the workshop of a Danish carpenter, Ole Kirk Christiansen. He founded a furniture manufacturing company in Billund, Denmark in 1916. However, it was burned to the ground by a fire in 1924, which gave Christiansen the opportunity to rebuild and expand his workshop. In order to increase his sales, he decided to make miniature versions of his products for showcasing; this concept inspired him to make toys.

Former production of toys began in 1932, however, the brand did not start by making the building toys that makes today. The first Lego toys were wooden trucks, cars and piggy banks.

1946 Lego Wooden Truck.

He named his company Lego, after joining the word Leg (Play) and Godt (well). It is also "I assemble" in Latin roots.The first years for the Lego brand were economically tough, since most danish families from the countryside couldn't afford his toys and would instead exchagne them for other goods. During this first years, the Lego company produced toys in addition to it's already existing line of furniture. As soon as plastic became a viable material for industry, Christiansen started adding safer, plastic toys to his lineup. A notable addition is a truck that could be taken apart and reassembled, probably Lego's first assemble model. However, it wasn't until 1949 that Lego's history changed forever when Christiansens' workshop produced the first "automatic binging brick", which were later renamed as the legendary Lego brick.

After a lukewarm reception and poor sales, the Kirk Christiansens' plastic toys were widely criticized, however, they decided to keep them in the market. In 1958, a new redesign for the Lego bricks was introduced, in order to make all of them compatible with each other allowing what Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, now a high executive at Lego named "creative play". This was the true birth of the Lego system. After the death of Ole Kirk Christiansen, Godtfred assumed the definitive leadership of Lego company.

In 1960, a new fire consumed the Lego manufacturing plant, destroying all of the wooden toy inventory. However, by the time the Lego brick had gained a strong popularity and was selling well, reason why Lego decided to stop manufacturing wooden toys. Over the next decade, many popular elements like the Lego wheels, the Lego train line, the Duplo line and the first Legoland park came to be, and by the end of 1969 the Lego company had grown vastly and was ready to expand beyond national borders.

Lego´s First Minifig.

In 1990, the Lego company hit the top 10 biggest companies, being the only European company featured on the list. Each year the lineup of Lego sets was renewed, and Lego started promoting building contests to increase it´s popularity and show the almost endless possibilities the Lego brick has. At the end of the nineties, Lego started making their own themes and storylines to create a original hype around their product of toys, being fine examples of this is the Lego Bionicle series or Lego Rock Raiders, both which were aimed at a specific demographic target. Lego company also began acquiring licenses to other types of products in order to implement them in their toys, being the first one of this sets the still popular Lego Star Wars series. Since then, the Lego company has expanded its line of toys to include robotics kits (Mindstorms) and also began searching for a new market by publishing its first video games, beginning with Lego Island in 1997.

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