The famous “Lego” toy company turns 75 years old today.
From EarthTimes.org – Parties were due to take place around the world Friday for Danish toy firm Lego as its 5,000 global employees prepared to celebrate the company’s 75th birthday. Master carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen started the company on August 10, 1932 in his studio in the town of Billund in Jutland.
The headquarters of the global toy giant are still located in Billund. Christiansen created the word “Lego” in 1934 from the Danish words “leg godt” (play well).
Following the company’s initial production of wooden toys, he started manufacturing the now legendary plastic building bricks in 1949.
Lego then enjoyed half a century of unparalleled sales success, but at the end of the 1990s, the family firm found itself in trouble as more and more children played with computers than with plastic bricks.
Finally in 2006, company chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp described after-tax profits of 1.4 billion kroner (258 million dollars) on sales of 7.8 billion kroner as “extremely satisfying.”
The turnaround came from the off-loading of production from Denmark and Switzerland to Eastern Europe and concentrating on the core business of building bricks.
Germany is Lego’s most important market, with an 11.9-per-cent share of the toy market. In 2006, Lego sold some 300 million dollars worth of toys to Germany.