Visionary from the Word (Le)Go

For Chapter 8 -- "Sometimes You Just Have to Lego"

By Published on .

A man riding a goat.

A dachshund. A fire truck. A quacking duck. In 1932, when Ole Kirk Christiansen began his toy company, his product line included no electronic robots equipped with sound and motion sensors.

There weren't even any plastic bricks; plastic was still futuristic technology. What there was was a worldwide depression and an unexpected marketplace for wooden toys, which he, as an out of work carpenter, had been reduced to building, along with stepladders and ironing boards, to put food on the table.

Another thing they had 75 years ago was foreshadowing.

By 1934, with Christiansen's shop now boasting 15 employees, he decided to name the company. It was an early, and strangely prescient, exercise in crowdsourcing. He staged a contest, offering a bottle of wine to the winning entry. Of course, prescient is not the same as sainted. Christiansen, the chief judge, won his own contest. He created a contraction of the words Leg ("play") and Godt ("well") and dubbed the firm Lego.

Like a billion or so plastic bricks to follow, it stuck.
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