Lego, the beloved plastic construction toy that has graced the wish lists of countless children over the years, has been a fixture in playrooms worldwide. Surprisingly, many are only now discovering the true meaning behind the name.
In the heart of Billund, Denmark, a visionary carpenter named Ole Kirk Kristiansen embarked on a journey in 1932, crafting toy bricks from wood and igniting the spark of creativity in young minds. Little did he know that his modest wooden creations would lay the foundation for one of the most successful toy brands in history.
It wasn't until four years later that he officially named his creation 'Lego,' completely unaware of the linguistic coincidence hidden within this simple moniker.
Lego's path took a significant turn in the late 1940s and early 1950s when Ole Kirk Kristiansen encouraged his son, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, to transition from wooden to plastic bricks. He challenged his son's doubts, envisioning global success for their innovative creations.
The shift to plastic marked the birth of 'Automatic Binding Bricks,' which would eventually transform into the universally recognized Lego.
In a statement from Lego, it is revealed, "By combining the two Danish words 'Leg Godt,' meaning 'Play Well,' Ole Kirk Kristiansen created the Lego name for his company—unaware that this word in Latin means 'I put together.'"
"He also considers the alternative LEGIO (legions) but in the end, he opts for the name that embodies high-quality play and commitment towards children's development through play."
Expressing his enthusiasm for the new mission in the mid-1950s, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen remarked: "Our idea has been to create a toy that prepares the child for life – appealing to their imagination and developing the creative urge and joy of creation that are the driving forces in every human being."
This philosophy came to life through the innovative coupling principle patented in 1958, offering Lego enthusiasts limitless possibilities for building.
Today, Lego stands as a worldwide sensation, available in more than 130 countries and employing approximately 23,000 people.
With subsidiaries spanning across the globe, the legacy of Ole Kirk Kristiansen has been faithfully carried forward through generations.
Currently, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, a grandchild of the founder, leads this beloved brand.
As Lego celebrates its '90 years of play' milestone in 2022, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, the chairman of the Lego Group, took a moment to reflect on their enduring commitment to enriching lives through play.
He remarked: "When my great-grandfather founded the company 90 years ago, he recognised that play could change the lives of children – it brings families together and helps children develop skills that can enable them to reach their full potential."
"He only had a small workshop, but he had big ambitions to ensure as many children as possible could experience the benefits that play brings."
"Whether 1932, 2022 or on our 100th Anniversary in 2032, we have and will always strive to continue Ole's legacy by helping all families, wherever they are in the world, to play well."
Reddit users, taken aback by their newfound understanding of the name's meaning, have been sharing their amazement.
One user commented: "I didn't know that being a new Lego collector."
Another added: "I had no idea about that."
A third shared: "I actually learned that from a Danish au pair while growing up."
"She, however, said it meant play good. Can't blame her for the grammatically incorrect translation though."
In the vast fabric of play, Lego persists in creating connections, sparking imagination, and embodying the essence of 'Leg Godt.'