History's Great Engineers: Ole Kirk Christiansen

2003 Engineers: Changing the World Essay Contest
1st place Contest Winner, Gr 6-8

By Sam Whitesell

If there was an Engineering Hall of Fame, I would nominate Ole Kirk Christiansen who invented Legos. Mr. Christiansen was from Denmark. He started off as a carpenter, then decided to make ironing boards and wooden toys. After his factory burned down, he concentrated on making building toys and switched to plastic rather than wood. The name Lego means play well in Danish. At first Legos were sold only in Denmark, but now they are sold all around the world. Kids everywhere build with them. The best thing about Legos is that they can fit together in lots of different ways. Some kids like the Harry Potter Legos, some kids like the Bionicles. I think the best kind of Legos are the Technic sets. The Technic style Legos are the best because they are more of a challenge and I love to be challenged. Every day at school I think about what I'm going to build when I get home. If you don't know what the Technics style Legos are, some of the things they have are: gears, pneumatics, hydraulics, motors, cams, and axles. When I see catapults on Nova, I can build my own trebuchet and fling Lego men around my living room. If you do not know what a trebuchet is, it is a much bigger size of catapult. When I see a car crusher on Modern Marvels, I can make a model conveyer belt that takes the doomed car to the pneumatic crusher. After the pneumatics crush the car, more conveyer belts take it to spinning saw blades which cause death and destruction. I think it would be very painful. I only pretend to crush my cars, but the crusher works well on crackers or cookies. Right now I'm working on a walking machine like I saw on Junkyard Wars. For this model, I hooked together gears and cams. It looks like a water bug as it scoots along. Every time I see an interesting engineering project on TV, I can work it out with Legos. Legos inspire kids to understand engineering principles. Without the invention of Ole Kirk Christiansen, the world would not be the same.