Part of the Historical Department is based in LEGO® Idea House, which is full of LEGO history and incidentally located in the former home and woodshop of founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen.
Most LEGO® employees know the story about the time Godtfred Kirk Christiansen tried to impress his father, Ole (founder of the LEGO Group), by saving time and money by giving a shipment of wooden ducks only two coats of varnish instead of the usual three. But, as it turned out, Ole was far from impressed and demanded that Godtfred personally retrieve the already shipped ducks and give them the third coat of varnish.
“This is just one of the many inspirational tales and funny anecdotes that LEGO history is so full of. It embodies the company’s spirit all the way back to Ole Kirk Kristiansen, and it’s stories like this that makes it so fantastic and a privilege to be a LEGO historian and help keep LEGO history alive,” Corporate Historian Signe Wiese points out.
A sensational discovery
She and a dozen of her colleagues in the Historical Department are the custodians of LEGO history, and they know (almost) all there is to know about this company’s rich history: the invention of the brick; when Ole started making toys; when Godtfred built the first LEGOLAND® park; when Kjeld introduced the Minifigure; and all the other small and big events that made us one of the most successful toy companies in the world.
Yet, despite their extensive knowledge about our past, the LEGO historians and their teammates from the LEGO Group Archives still find new nuggets of gold in the old records. Only last year, they made a sensational discovery, when old legal documents shed new light on Godtfred’s involvement in the development of the iconic LEGO brick with studs and tubes.
“He played a much bigger role than we had previously thought. He was actually the mastermind behind the design. It doesn’t get any bigger for a LEGO historian than making such a crucial discovery about the brick, and we went a little crazy… as crazy as it gets for historians,” Corporate Historian Kristian Riemer Hauge says with a huge smile.
Understanding our history helps you understand this company
The historical team also helps colleagues from a myriad of departments finding fun, surprising, and not least inspiring information about old products and historical milestones.
Kristian: "Most of the times we can help when people come to us for historical information, but sometimes it takes a little digging. It’s always worth the effort though; we love sharing our history with our colleagues, and we learn something new about LEGO history.”
Signe adds: “I would argue that understanding our history and values, helps you understand this company. So, we want to reach as many as our colleagues as possible to share our fantastic history and the great stories like the wooden-duck story.”