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  • Jennifer Bligh

Stone on stone.

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
Ole Kirk Christiansen started a building boom on carpeted floors with Lego bricks. In over 80 years, his company has become an internationally successful toy company with over 9,000 employees. The destitute village where Ole Kirk Christiansen was born on April 7, 1891, is located in the Jutland nowhere. There, where pragmatism, diligence and faith in God are unshakable. And a little stubbornness is part of life. Even as a twelve-year-old apprentice carpenter, Ole doesn't like to conform. He is supposed to make fences, ladders and ironing boards. But he prefers to make toys. Useless stuff, according to brother Kristian. After the First World War and a few months of apprenticeship in Norway, Ole decides that in future no one should forbid...

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  • Jennifer Bligh

Open Air.

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
Wilhelm Karmann is considered the father of the convertible. His successful family business produced around three million bodies in the last century - mostly open and mostly for other major carmakers. But in the end, life in the niche doesn't work. The world looks most beautiful to those who whiz through it without a roof, Wilhelm Karmann thinks. It's 1901, and the 30-year-old from Krefeld has just made one of the most important decisions of his life. The ink on the contract with Minna Klages is still wet: Since August 1, 1901, Karmann has been the new owner of Christian Klages, Osnabrück's largest carriage builder, along with 15 employees and two houses at Kamp 30/31. The business is known beyond the city limits. Since 1874, everything...

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  • Jörg Zipprick

The secret of the nut.

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
Out of sheer necessity, an Italian confectioner replaced chocolate with nuts after World War II. The enthusiasm for his Supercrema was the basis for the success of a company that today ensures that people all over the world give their chérie a little kiss. Creativity often arises from simple need. This is probably why Pietro Ferrero, a confectioner and chocolatier from Alba, was so lucky that chocolate was in short supply in post-war Italy. There was only one thing in abundance: nuts, which fell at Ferrero's feet during walks around Alba. Well, they weren't just any nuts, but the fine "Tonda gentile delle Langhe" variety, also called "Round from Piedmont." Sometime in 1946, Ferrero unceremoniously replaced cocoa beans with nuts in a recipe,...

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  • Jennifer Bligh

Good nose.

(Reading time: 2 - 4 minutes)
John Sharp Douglas had a good nose for fine soaps. His breakthrough, however, was thanks to Anna and Maria Carstens. The sisters opened the first Douglas perfumery in Hamburg. Heinrich Eklöh and his descendants turned it into a successful chain. The moon makes the brick buildings in Hamburg's Speicherstadt shine brightly, the Elbe is calm. Scottish immigrant John Sharp Douglas is standing at the railing of the three-masted ship. In his pocket, the 29-year-old has everything he owns: a little money and a certificate as a soap boiler. In his head he carries a dream: his own small factory. In Scotland, taxes put a spoke in his wheel - too expensive. America would have been nice, but the crossing - too expensive. In the "Free Hanseatic City"...

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