Disaster strikes

A major fire in 1942 burns Ole Kirk Kristiansen’s life achievement to the ground almost destroying in the process his will to carry on. Only his sense of responsibility for his sons and employees persuades him to rebuild the factory.

LEGO® employees in the rubbles of the old woodworking factory after the fire in 1942

LEGO® employees in the rubbles of the old woodworking factory after the fire in 1942

During the night of March 20, 1942, a fire rages through the wood products factory, but the adjoining family home is saved from the flames.

Ole Kirk Kristiansen almost abandons the idea of carrying on the business; the insurance cannot cover the loss and construction of a new factory. He receives a number of offers from other parts of Denmark to build a factory but finally decides to remain in Billund thereby saving the jobs of his 26 employees. It becomes possible to build a new factory with the accommodating attitude of Vejle Bank, which grants Ole Kirk Kristiansen the necessary loan.

With the assistance and support of family and employees a new factory is built at the site of the old workshop. The new factory is much more modern than its old counterpart and better suited for mass production of toys. This means a rise in productivity from 1943 when the new factory is finished.

After the factory fire, Ole Kirk Kristiansen must reconstruct all models and patterns by hand.

image of the LEGO factory from 1943

The new LEGO® factory, 1943

Strong faith

In his memoirs Ole Kirk Kristiansen writes of the fire in 1942:

“Our aim is to do a really good and solid and pleasing piece of work so that people will know that LEGO® products are quality ... My prayer is that the Lord will help us to run a reputable business in every way in our life and example ... that our actions and life may be in honour of him ... and with his blessing. Lord, may we live in thy mercy each day.”