OK... I need to pay attention to these things better.... ;-)
The new re-introduction of diminutive scale Modulex Bricks, which were first produced by TLG as an architectural system in 1962-63 is what I'm talking about... Modulex was a smaller version of LEGO that was not designed on the LEGO 6:6:5 (Length x Width x Height) but on a more perfect 5:5:5 scale... where a 1x1 brick is an actual cube, instead of a rectangle.
Modulex was spun off by TLG in 1965, and morphed from an architectural bricks and industrial design system into one of the largest sign companies... which although still in business today... stopped producing the small plastic bricks decades ago.
For those unfamiliar with Modulex... here's a quick overview... from Appendix D of my 2800 page Unofficial LEGO Sets/Parts Collectors Guide...https://www.google.com/search?q=Downtown+Detroit+Gas+Stations&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS601US601&oq=Downtown+Detroit+Gas+Stations&aqs=chrome..69i57j0.5559j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=0&ie=UTF-8
So anyway... the cool Modulex system has not been produced for many decades... and earlier this summer it was announced that Modulex was going to be re-introduced... that someone got the license to produce these again. I wasn't paying attention, and really didn't think much about it.... until today....
I just found out that the person who now owns the license is a Dane by the name of Anders Kirk Johansen... ding ding ding.... alarm bells went off... but the good kind!! ;-)
I'm adding a new chapter for my next version of my collectors guide (free to current owners)... based on the LEGO founding family... the Christiansen/Kristiansen family. And in putting this together I researched the 4th generation of the family... namely Sofie Kirk Kristiansen (37), Thomas Kirk Kristiansen (36), Agnete Kirk Kristiansen... and their cousin (bingo!) Anders Kirk Johansen!!
First some background....
Lego founder Ole Kirk Christainsen (1891-1958) had 4 boys... Godtfred (1920-1995), Johannes, Gerhardt and Karl Georg. Godtfrend was the "LEGO System" guy and bought his 3 bothers out of their share of the company in the early 1960s, because they wanted wooden toys... and Godtfred insisted on plastic toys only. So eventually Godtfred's family became billionaires today... but the other 3 brothers family didn't fare so well... I don't believe there's even a millionaire among the rest of them.
So Godtfred had 3 kids... the oldest was Gunhild (1946- ), Kjeld (1947-) and Hanne (1951-1969). These 3 kids would be on LEGO set boxes of 1953-60...
Such as this 1955-57 design of the 700/3A basic set of the Netherlands box top showing Gunhild, Hanne, and Kjeld...
More to come.... (getting back on track about Modulex)... ;-)
Fast forward to the present.
Godtfred died in 1995, and his 2 surviving children (and his still surviving 90 year old widow Edith) became the owners of KIRKBI A/S the parent holding company of TLG.
Here is a modern day image of Gunhild, and her husband Mogans Johansen. Also in this image is her still surviving mother Edith Kirk Christiansen, who turned 90 this past May 29th.... this image was at the 2012 wedding of their son/grandson (drum roll) Anders Kirk Johansen....
Back in 2007 Gunhild's brother Kjeld... bought out Gunhild's share of the LEGO family fortune. LEGO was still recovering from the 2004 disaster... and Gunhild received more than $1 billion dollars for her share.
Now fast forward to today... TLG is now valued at about $14 billion... but one can't feel real bad for Gunhild... she has more money than she will ever spend.
So one of the spenders of her share of TLG... is the oldest of her and Mogan's 3 sons... Anders Kirk Johansen.
Here we seen Anders in front of "Rohden Gods"...
Rohden Gods is the 5 story palatial villa near the coast of Jutland... about a half hours drive from Billund. Rohden Gods was the former residence of the Canadian Ambassador... and the estate was purchased a few years back for $40 million... with a lot more put into it to restore the great country house.
So this is Anders Kirk Johansen... the new owner of Modulex Bricks!! With a mom with very deep pockets... and an uncle even richer.... it adds interest to the Modulex story. This is not some cheap endeavor to bring back the Modulex system... but a monied LEGO family member. So I see good things for Modulex!
And why did I go to all the trouble of even mentioning Rohden Gods estate? Well there is a reason for that... it seems that when you do a Google search on the Modulex Bricks new business address... you get this: Rohdenvej 4, 7140 Stouby, DK.
And that address near the Danish town of Stouby, just happens to be that of.... Rohden Gods Estate... ;-)
(more to come later)
(Be sure to click on the website image for a slideshow...)
And Eurobricks user jodawill has posted some images of test bricks from the new run ...
Here is the "primer" on Modulex that I wanted to show (Appendix D from my collectors guide)...
It was 45 years ago today... Oct. 30, 1969... that poor young (18 year old at the time) Hanne Christiansen (younger sister to both Gunhild and Kjeld) died of injuries sustained in a car accident on a cold rainy October night, while being driven to a movie theatre in Give, a town near Billund. The car skidded off the road and hit a tree.
Kjeld was also in that car, and received severe injuries that took many months to heal.
This 1959 image of Hanne when she was about 8 years old, was part of a leaflet for building doll house furniture out of LEGO. It's the last known image of her for a LEGO product.
The accident so devastated their father Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, that the grief stricken man spent many months soul searching on whether to sell TLG. Lucky for us, he was talked out of it...
Today TLG is owned by the holding company known as KIRKBI A/S. The principal owners of this holding company are Kjeld and Camilla Kristiansen... with 62.5% ownership of KIRKBI A/S
Their 3 adult married children are... Agnete (31), Thomas (35) and Sofie (36)... who own the remaining 37.5% of KIRKBI A/S, with each of them owning 12.5%...
With KIRKBI A/S worth about $14 billion.... that makes for a lot of billionaires. ;-)
P.S. I love how everyone's middle name is "Kirk"... ;-)
Also... everybody seems to be getting this wrong... Anders... like his cousins Sofie, Thomas and Agnete... is NOT a grandchild of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen... but a greatgrandchild....
Here we have Sofie Kirk Kristiansen (in red) with her husband Christopher, with the future King/Queen of Denmark... Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary... at the occasion of the wedding of their cousin Anders Kirk Johansen, 2 years ago.
The Kristiansen/Johansen family is very close friends with the Danish royal family of Queen Margrethe.
I believe that the close ties between the Danish royals and Danish LEGO royals... will ensure the continuation of TLG to be a Danish company in the family's hands for many years to come...
Now that they are friends? It will take quite a lot to alienate them.
Although it would be quite easy to lose a fortune in the motor industry.
It would be good to see the TLG family develope the clean energy industry and transport systems for the future of Denmark and the world.
Be nice to have a new brick maker in town.
A couple years ago, I was browsing Modulex on Bricklink and found this Modulex firing gun.
Why was it produced?
I happen to know the originator of that image, a fellow in British Columbia who lived a Bohemian lifestyle out of the back of his VW Bus. His public name was WHOVIANART... and when you look at a Google search of images of him... there's also an image of that gun (which leads to a Brickshelf set of images)...
This fellow made a lot of artwork out of Modulex, as well as LEGO (usually the Modulex was for wall art, LEGO was for furniture). And he had a LEGO gun, but no bullets, and found that Modulex parts were the right size for firing.
But originally the LEGO guns of the 1950s had a box of bullets that came with the gun. Those bullets were long gone for this gun example! So someone must have seen the Brickshelf image, and added it (incorrectly) to Bricklink!
"We are pleased to tell that LEGO Juris A/S has acquired Modulex bricks in a
mutual agreement. It has been important for the LEGO Group owner family to ensure
historic rights stay within the owner family. The potential to produce Modulex
bricks has also been addressed and there are no plans to manufacture Modulex
bricks in the near future.
Thanks for your interest in Modulex and for joining this Facebook page!"
This is a fascinating bit of family drama. Was Anders the black sheep? Did the family just pull him back in line? Or was this a scheme to transfer some of the family fortune to Anders? You could write your own plot line :)
At least it didn't end like Queen Victoria's grandchildren.
Anders Kirk Johansen's mother Gunhild Kirk Johansen, is the sister of Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen. And she sold her share of the LEGO parent company (Kirkbi/AS) to her brother in 2007 for approximately $1 billion. Yes it's worth much more now, but there doesn't appear to be any sour grapes... at least not outwardly.
But it appears that Kjeld & Co. must not have wanted Guhild's oldest of 3 children... Anders Kirk Johansen, to re-start up the production of the Modulex System. Why the change of heart on that? Don't know, and we likely will never know. Perhaps they were worried about new Modulex being too much competition to regular LEGO.
But if Anders Kirk Johansen already owned the right to Modulex... then I would image that his uncle would have paid him a pretty penny to sell it back to parent Kirkbi/AS.
I would think that family peace was maintained between Edith's children Kjeld and (mother of Anders) Gunhild.
My gut feeling is that Gunhild's son Anders was very well compensated for giving up the Modulex building brand.
A win for Kjeld.... a win for Anders... but very much a loss for the many in the LEGO community who were at least interested in getting some Modulex... :-1:
Must say that, intriguing as Modulex sounds, it would certainly have cut into the market for interlocking bricks, especially as LEGO seems to be making more and more adult-oriented products (SERIOUS PLAY, for example).
Although production had not started yet... some folks interested in the new Modulex parts were given some free samples.
These modern day prototypes (some painted parts before specific colors were determined)... will surely be very collectible now that the Modulex resurrection is officially dead.
And what exactly happened with the parts already produced and not released? They and all the molds went to TLG in Billund... either to archival storage... or worse... to the trash heap....
This is very sad indeed, since production of baseplates and parts had already started....
So production was a lot farther along than most folks realize!
There are several folks over on Bricklink that were involved with this from the very beginning, and know a lot more about the actual production and prototypes than I do, where this is also being discussed, with considerable disappointment.
From the box designs and measurements....
To actual prototype boxes with contents....
This will all be documented and included in my next collectors guide updates, as the prototypes that ended a system...
These very rare images are from the earliest development of the Modulex print media, from even before the final name "Modulex" was finalized. Here they are just referred to as "Modul". These images were rough designs, getting the final imagery and text ready later....
These are just some of the images that I am preparing for my next collectors guide (free to current owners).
The chapter on Modulex will be twice its' current size... but not for the right reasons! :-(