{Toys} A True Toy Story

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Home > Toy story! How children have come to ‘play well’ with the bricks of Billund

Toy story! How children have come to ‘play well’ with the bricks of Billund [1]

January 7, 2012 – 07:38 — jaya
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Lego [2]
Toys [3]
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Founded by a carpenter from Jutland, Lego is one of the most successful toy companies in the world

With Christmas been and gone, there are bound to be plenty of households around the country that have experienced a growth in their Lego collection. Always a favourite of parents and children everywhere, Lego is a Danish success story, as synonymous with the country as the Little Mermaid. Lego is testament to what good, simple ideas can do. Now in its 80th year, Lego’s history is one of dynamism and innovation – a story about how one creative family has changed the world.

Lego is the brainchild of Olek Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund in the west of Denmark. Christiansen began operating as a regular carpenter in 1916, building furniture and other wooden products for households and businesses. When the Great Depression hit, Christiansen’s work began to dry up, forcing him to concentrate on smaller projects, including miniature houses. Pleased with his little creations, Christiansen began to see the appeal in making toys and, after expanding his workshop, dedicated himself to this new direction in 1932.

The name Lego was decided after a competition between Christiansen’s employees. A loose combination of the Danish words ‘leg godt’ meaning ‘play well’, the name Lego was also found to translate as ‘put together’ in Latin, a concept that would drive Christiansen’s future ideas. During the 1930s, worldwide plastic production soared, and following the Second World War it became easily available in Denmark. In 1947, Christiansen purchased a plastic injection moulding machine and, after gaining inspiration from a British ‘self-locking building brick’, began making ‘automatic binding bricks’ in 1949, a design that the company later perfected in 1958, the year of Christiansen’s death.

It is one of history’s ironies that Lego’s initial bricks were unpopular. Indeed, so few people preferred the plastic blocks over wooden ones that entire shipments were returned to the company unsold – a situation that nearly saw the business collapse. Seeing the situation as untenable, Christiansen’s son Godtfred began thinking outside the square and came up with the idea of selling Lego in sets consisting of interlocking parts that could be assembled to create an entire design. The first ever set, the ‘Town Plan’, was released in 1955.

By the 1960s, Gotfred Christiansen could see that plastic Lego was the future of the company and discarded all wooden lines. As the product’s popularity grew in Europe, Gotdfred began to think about America, hungry for a slice of the burgeoning toy market there. Without adequate logistics, Lego was forced to make a deal with US company ‘Samsonite’, and Lego began to be produced in the States. In 1964, Lego began to issue instructions with their Lego sets and by 1966 Lego had progressed to its famous train set collections – a series of designs that included small motors.

The ‘Duplo’ range was launched in 1969. Meaning ‘double’ in Latin, the Duplo bricks were twice the size of the regular Lego bricks, making them more accessible to younger children. Despite the difference in size, regular bricks could still be joined with Duplo ones, allowing children to grow and expand their Lego collections without needing to throw the old bricks away. It soon became common for children to amass sizeable collections of Lego, further enabling them to be the builders and designers the company hoped they’d be.

By the early 1970s Lego had become one of the most successful toy companies in the world. The first Lego person made its first appearance in 1974; however, it wasn’t until 1978 that the figurines began to adopt the smiling faces and movable arms and legs that we know today. As the Space Race continued, Lego released a space range, including suitably grey ‘lunar bricks’ and corresponding lunar rovers. By the 1980s Lego was a phenomenon.

As the world becomes increasingly more wireless and internet-driven, it’s comforting to know that Lego is still with us. With entire family generations brought up on it, the act of giving Lego to young children has become a kind of family ritual – a way for different age groups to connect and reminisce. It is this wholesomeness that makes it very unlikely it will go away anytime soon.

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Links:
[1] http://www.cphpost.dk/culture/through-looking-glass/toy-story-how-children-have-come-%E2%80%98play-well%E2%80%99-bricks-billund
[2] http://www.cphpost.dk/Tags/lego
[3] http://www.cphpost.dk/Tags/toys
[4] http://www.cphpost.dk/culture/denmark-through-looking-glass
[5] http://www.cphpost.dk/taxonomy/term/741
[6] http://www.cphpost.dk/field-collection/field-image-and-desc-coll/3671

{Travel} I’m Back

After 2 wonderfully delicious weeks in Denmark, we’re back.

We sailed, ate, walked and remembered. We saw, listened and smelled.

We laughed.

We honored.

I cried.

We ate (did I already mention that?)

The trip has left my heart full and deeply inspired with new ideas and direction for my personal life and the Danish Mama website.

For the next few days I’m playing catch up on: sleep, laundry and email.

However, over the next few weeks I look forward to sharing new inspirations from our trip.

Be prepared to be awed and hopefully inspired as I share my journey home.

Knus {hugs},

Kathy

It’s tea drinking weather

Today is a cold and rainy Spring day. This is the kind of Danish weather that I love. It’s all about snuggling and being cozy together.

Dane’s love to drink tea. My favorite is peppermint. Do you have a favorite? I love to drink it out of my big mug.

My grandparents were very traditional and we would have tea time two times a day, once around 11:00 and again at 3:00. If we were lucky we’d also get to have tea right before bed.

Danish Mama Stats

I’m a nerd. But you’ve probably already figured that out. I geek out over Google Analytics and loved learning today what countries my readers are from.

I was especially happy to see that we have a few readers in Denmark! Mange Tak!

Here is a map of what cities they are coming from:

Danish Mama Vodka

When I named this blog, I wanted it to be a representation of me.

Little did I know there is a Vodka named “Danish Mama” as well.

I like this article written by Linda on Design Bridge. I’m not sure you really want to be thinking of your mama while you’re drinking do you?

Danish Mama Vodka

You can also check out the Mama Vodka link here www.mamavodka.com

Danish Ice Cream Topped with Guf

This time of year makes me wish I were in Denmark. They celebrate Mid Summers Eve in true fashion by a witch burning on the beach (more on that later).

Would you believe that Danes eat more ice cream per capita than anywhere in the world?

But what I really miss is the ice cream, spelled “IS”. Whey is Danish ice cream superior to American ice cream? To start, it’s made from cream (and that makes everything better). Plus they put a dollop of this amazing stuff called “guf”. Guf is a marshmallow like substance that can be easily made at home.

Guf recipe for ice cream cones
Ingredients

* 100 g frozen strawberries
* 75 g sugar
* 50 g pasteurized egg whites
* 6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
* 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions
1. Blend strawberries and sugar in a food processor for 3-4 min at high speed. Whip egg whites and sugar to a stiff meringue. Fold the strawberries and lemon juice into the meringue. Serve right away or keep very cool.
2. Tip: its important that the egg whites, bowl and utensils all be the same temperature to get good, stiff peaks. Also, to avoid salmonella risk, do not cheat and use unpasteurized eggs.

While researching for a recipe, I also came across a pre-made product Guf

Denmark World Cup

“We are red, we are white, we are Danish Dynamite!”

I’ll be honest. I don’t know much about soccer.

But when Denmark played the Netherlands in the World Cup Monday, we had to watch. Or rather I critiqued uniforms and hair styles.

What do you think of this guys hair?

Sweet hair

My Danish Grandma

I just got the cutest email from my Grandma:

“Just thought the other day,we traveled half around the world,to see you when you were born—what a thrill and joy it was when we got the phone call,you had arrived. When we had to go through the customs at airport in Copenhagen, I quickly showed them my passport and continued to run out to get to my granddaughter—they said,hej,wait for your luggage and I said—keep it till I’ve seen this baby.”

I love and admire her so much. She was in WW2 when the Nazi’s invaded and was the first to leave for America. What a difference her choice has made in my life.

Danish Pancakes – Pandekager

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • regular wheat
  • eggs
  • milk
  • water
  • sugar
  • butter/for the pan
  1. Step 1

    this will give you 10-12 pancakes.
    Depending on the thickness of them.
    Double the amount for twice as many.

  2. Step 2

    Mix all the ingredients in to a bowl.
    You will need atleast a meduim sized bowl.
    Big if double portion.

  3. Step 3

    3-4 eggs
    3dl. Milk
    1dl. water
    2 spoons of sugar

  4. Step 4

    now the wheat is a little tricky.
    to not get it all thick and hard to mix up, pour a little wheat in at a time.
    You will need:
    200gr. wheat for that.

  5. Step 5

    now its a little thick liquid.
    You turn the pan on medium hot temperature.
    Let the butter melt. (You’ll need a good scoop of butter every pancake)
    Give both sides 3-4 mins..
    And its ready to go..

  6. Step 6

    it can be used as; dinner pancakes, (usually with meat and cheese some veggies.) breakfast pancakes, (served with sugar, or nutella, or berry sirup.) or also dessert pancakes, (served with ice cream, or the same as breakfast pancakes.)

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