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The LEGO® Story

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    You've probably seen one of these,
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    a Lego Brick.
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    But have you ever wondered how it all started
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    and why it's called Lego?
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    Actually, the name is much older than this plastic brick.
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    Are you curious?
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    Let me tell you how it all began.
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    Many years ago
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    there was a skilled and hard-working carpenter named
    Ole Kirk Christiansen.
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    Ole was a respected carpenter with his own company,
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    but times were hard.
    So he didn't have much money
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    and had to dismiss his last worker.
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    Ole: "Come on in".
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    Worker: "I have closed down the workshop and packed my things".
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    Ole: "Thank you. I suppose I'd better write you a paycheck".
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    Ole: "Take care."
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    Ole: "Well, that was the last one.
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    I just didn't imagine that it would come to this".
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    Wife: "I know. It's hard to understand,
    but at least now it can't get much worse."
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    But it did get worse.
    Shortly after, Ole lost his wife.
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    But Ole was a special person.
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    He wasn't the type that gave up.
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    And with the responsibility of his four sons,
    he had to think of something.
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    Ole had gotten an idea
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    and for him,
    it never took long to put an idea into action.
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    Ole's little invention made his boys so happy that he thought maybe he should start making toys.
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    Ole decided to give it a try.
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    Luckily, he had saved up a lot of wood from the carpentry production.
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    He could now use it to make toys.
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    Time passed by
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    and even though Ole was a skilled carpenter and had a good eye for quality and detail,
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    sales were very slow.
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    Luckily, one of his sons, Godtfred, started helping out his dad after school.
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    Together, they just barely managed to keep up the production.
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    Eventually, word began to spread that the wooden toys of the finest quality were being made from that little workshop in Billund.
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    One day, a man drove into town.
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    A man who would change Ole's future.
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    He was a wholesaler from factory shop.
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    'I heard that you are making some very nice wooden toys'
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    Ole: 'Well, one does his best'.
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    The wholesaler was very impressed with all the wooden toys.
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    And placed update order before he left.
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    Ole: 'Now there's finally someone who can see the opportunities and what we are doing'
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    'Look at this. The wholesaler wants to put a lot of our toys into his store for the holidays
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    it's going to be a good Christmas this year
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    that will be busy".
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    Now, there was a lot to do with the little workshop
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    and Ole could rehire his former workers.
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    Ole only used the highest quality wood
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    which was hand-picked and very carefully prepared
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    They worked day and night to get the order finished
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    So the wholesaler could get the toys out in stores before Christmas.
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    Godtfred: "Is there something wrong, Dad?"
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    Ole: "I'm afraid that we are in big trouble".
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    In the middle of their work, Ole received a letter saying that the wholesaler had filed for bankruptcy
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    and couldn't buy the toys that he had ordered
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    Godtfred: "What are you gonna do? What about Christmas?
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    Now we can't even afford food?"
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    Ole: "I'll do it".
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    Godtfred: "What are you gonna do, Dad?"
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    Ole: "I'll do it myself. I'll drive around selling the toys"
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    There was no time to lose. Ole packed the car with all the toys and drove off.
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    Ole was a very good toy-maker but was not a very good salesman.
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    He didn't like praising himself or talking about how carefully the toys have been made
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    but he had to keep trying
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    Ole: "This is going to be a blast. Is there anything you were interested in?"
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    'It looks exciting but i don't have a lot of money right now. Maybe we could trade in and call it even.'
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    Ole: "Well, i would prefer money"
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    'but'
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    In the end, he succeeded in selling all the toys.
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    He didn't receive as much money as he had hoped. But the family managed and they had plenty of food for Christmas
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    Time passed by
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    But the toys didn't sell as quickly as they had expected
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    Ole thought perhaps the company needed a good name
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    'What should it be? It has to be short word. I wanted to convey playing well'
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    In Danish, `playing well` is called `LEG GODT`
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    'What should it be? What should it be?'
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    'If only i could get some sort of a sign'
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    'LEGO'
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    As you can see, Ole himself ended up finding a very suitable name.
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    But what he didn't know was that in latin,
    the word 'LEGO' means 'I put together'
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    The name 'LEGO' was well received.
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    And the company slowly started to move forward.
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    Godtfred: "We have made 3000 krones this year. And we have models than usual"
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    Ole: "Did you say 3000 krones. Then you need to see what i've been looking at"
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    Even though Godtfred wasn't comfortable spending money on a milling machine.
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    He could see that it was useful and that the quality of the toys improved
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    'Could you finish the last batch and get it ready for shipping?'
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    'I will'
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    'Dad.... dad, i received a lot of money for the company today'
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    Ole: "Really? how?"
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    Godtfred: "I figured we could save money in the locker. It's like only coated the duck twice instead of three times"
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    Ole: "You what?"
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    Unfortunately, Godtfred's idea didn't go over well with Ole.
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    Ole made Godtfred unpacked all the ducks himself
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    gave them the last layer of letter and bring them back to train station.
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    Ole believes in high quality and not cheating his customers
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    when Godtfred returned, Ole explained that wasn't the way to create a good brand.
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    This little lesson opened Godtfred's eyes to the fact that every detail matters
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    and only the best is good enough.
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    In the late 1930s, LEGO was making a profit even when the second world war broke out.
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    They tried to make the best out of a difficult time.
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    It seemed nothing could go wrong.
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    But a stormy night in 1942 changed their luck.
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    'There's a fire. The workshop is on fire.'
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    But when the firemen arrived, they were unable to save the workshop
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    it burned to the ground and all the drawings and models were destroyed.
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    Ole was beginning to lose hope.
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    All that he had worked for was gone and he almost lost his company
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    but being responsible for his children and workers inspired him to rebuild LEGO
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    A new factory was constructed
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    Soon the production of the wooden toys started again
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    The little company fought it way back into the market
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    Gradually, the LEGO factory began to run smoothly and Ole started looking for new challenges
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    One day, he went to Copenhagen to look at a new machine that had just arrived in Denmark.
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    It was a plastic moulding machine and Ole was very excited about it
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    Ole: "Should we buy it? i'm sure it's a good bargain and it would give us a lot of opportunity"
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    Godtfred: "Well, it does sound interesting but it is a lot of money"
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    Ole: "I'll take that as a Yes"
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    When the plastic moulding machine finally arrived, Ole started making little plastic teddy bears and letters.
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    But he still had the plastic brick that he had received at the fair.
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    There was something about that he couldn't stop thinking about.
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    And even though no one else could see the potential in them.
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    Ole decided to redesigned and put them into production.
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    But it was when LEGO first launched the great Ferguson tractor, that the plastic toys became a success.
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    Unfortunately the sales were dropped during the summer
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    and the company had too many toys in stock.
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    Godtfred: "This can't be right. Of course, our products can be sold the whole year, not only for Christmas"
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    Godtfred decided that he would go out and sell the toys himself.
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    Godtfred brought his wife as a company and moral support
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    "If you can't ### We need butter and eggs"
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    Well, it wasn't that bad.
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    Godtfred was a success in his trip around the country which helped LEGO to get out of its financial crisis.
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    They reached home just in time for Ole's birthday party.
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    Ole turned 60 and the whole family was gathered to celebrate with him.
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    Ole: "Well, it isn't ####"
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    "Hey, I got an idea. Eh, listen. Listen. What about a picture with the three generations"
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    Everyone thought that was a good idea. And we were placed on the sofa with all the presents and flowers around us.
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    On a business trip to England, Godtfred met the head of a big shopping center on his way home.
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    They discussed the toy industry. And the conversation would be very important to the future of LEGO.
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    "Damn that industry. I just think that toys are no good nowadays"
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    Godtfred: "What do you mean? I think they are working very well".
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    "Oh, they work fine. Sure, but there's no system in anything"
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    Godtfred: "System?".
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    Godtfred: "System? Hmm. There isn't any system".
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    Ole: "What in the world are you doing, Godtfred?"
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    Godtfred: "There isn't any system.
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    The toys need an idea and a system built around it.
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    I want to put system in the play. Children have only been offered ready-made solutions.
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    They need something different that will strengthen their imagination and creativity".
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    Ole: "So, you are trying to put LEGO into a system? Interesting".
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    That same year, LEGO started producing the first LEGO system of play.
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    Children could now build houses from the LEGO bricks.
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    The town planned gave play a realistic town setting and with this, children learned about traffic safety.
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    My sister and I could play with the new LEGO system for hours.
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    Some people said we were the luckiest children in the world.
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    Because we grew up in a toy factory.
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    It was a huge breakthrough.
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    And Godtfred decided to try selling it outside of Denmark.
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    The system of play was so popular that they managed to sell it to many countries.
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    "Look what I just built".
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    "That is really nice, Cal".
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    Even though LEGO was meant for only building houses, there was still a lot of opportunities.
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    There was just one problem.
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    "Hmm, I can't lift it up. It keeps falling apart".
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    That made Godtfred wondered. He wanted to find a way to make the LEGO bricks stick together.
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    But that was easier said than done.
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    Godtfred noticed that the LEGO bricks got a better clutch powers with tooth inside.
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    Now, it was no longer just bricks but a whole construction system with endless possibilities.
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    This was ground breaking for the LEGO product.
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    With a child's imagination, LEGO could be anything in the world over and over again.
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    The imagination is the limit.
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    "Look, Dad. Now, I can build everything"
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    Unfortunately, Ole never got to see how successful the little bricks actually became.
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    Godtfred was left on his own and he had to go through another fire at LEGO that destroyed most of the wood production.
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    Just like his father, Godtfred knew that he had to try to get the best out of any situation and never give up.
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    Godtfred took the hard times with his head held high.
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    As sales grew, the company also got bigger.
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    He had to think ahead and he decided not to resume the production of wooden toys and to only focus on the LEGO system.
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    And it turned out to be great decision. Many new models were built and LEGO got stronger in the toy industry.
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    Staff: "Sir, which one of these do you think is the best?"
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    Godtfred: "Hmmm, Err, that one".
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    Even though it got busier at LEGO, Godtfred still had bigger plans.
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    Now, he wanted to build an airport.
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    So, it would be easier to sell his toys to the whole world.
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    Like father, like son.
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    It didn't take long to put his ideas into action.
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    Only three years later, Billund airport was opened.
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    Then many guests and business connections who visited the company always wanted to see their modeling department.
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    Gradually, it got so crowded that it was hard for the employees to keep up their work.
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    Godtfred: "I think we'd better wait a while".
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    Godtfred could see that something had to be done.
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    He needed a bigger place to display the LEGO models.
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    Employee: "Er, I don't want to interrupt. So, I'll just put this package of our new LEGO train on the table".
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    Godtfred: "Jut put it there".
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    The idea grew quickly from an exhibition room to an amusement park.
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    Godtfred: "And then, we could have a tower so you could look over the whole park from above, the whole town. It would be land made out of LEGO, LEGO land".
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    "Well then, it looks interesting. But how many visitors are you actually counting on?"
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    "Well, i guess eh two hundred three hundred thousand".
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    "Three hundred thousand?"
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    Even though it sounded like a lot, my dad was actually pretty far off the mark.
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    There were six hundred thousand guests the very first year.
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    My family and I were there to greet the guests.
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    We've kept up this tradition ever since.
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    Now, you know how it all began.
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    LEGO wouldn't be what it is today if it hadn't been for my grandfather's sense of quality and search for profession.
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    My father firmly believed in the endless possibilities of the LEGO system.
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    I seek to take the LEGO idea even further.
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    Encouraging children to explore, experience and express their own world, a world without limit.
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    And we are still convince that only the best is good enough because children deserve the best.
Title:
The LEGO® Story
Description:

As The LEGO Group celebrates its 80th Birthday, we take a look back at its history with this short animated film.

Find out more here, http://www.facebook.com/LEGOGROUP

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
17:10
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