chapter  1
14 Pages

The Cultural History of LEGO

ByLars Konzack

The LEGO Brick is a cultural object with its own history. It was designed in Denmark during the Cold War that followed WWII and has since swept the world off its feet. The history of LEGO has already been told; Jan Cortzen’s LEGO Manden: Historien om Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (1996) is an excellent biography of Godtfred Kirk Christiansen (1920-95), son of Ole Kirk Christiansen (1891-1958), which tells how Godtfred created the LEGO brick and became one of Denmark’s most successful businessmen; and more recently, Niels Lunde’s Miraklet i LEGO (2012) tells how Godtfred’s son Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (his family name was spelled with a K due to a clerical mistake) continued to develop the LEGO Group, and how they changed to professional leadership in order to handle the company crisis. 1 David C. Robertson’s Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry (2013) is about the toy company as well, focusing on innovations; John Baichtal and Joe Meno’s The Cult of LEGO (2011) describes the consumer and LEGO-fan perspective with a little introduction to the company; and Sarah Herman’s A Million Little Bricks: the Unoffi cial Illustrated History of the LEGO Phenomenon (2012) focuses on how the LEGO Group and its products developed over time. 2 What remains to be done, then, is not the writing of the history of LEGO, but to put the history of LEGO into a general overview. Consequently, the aim of this essay is to comprehend the cultural history of LEGO from a broader cultural perspective.