TIDSLINIE

Kay Portraet


1886

Kay Bojesen is born on 15 August in Copenhagen.

Son of publisher Ernst Bojesen (publisher of the Danish satirical annual Blæksprutten (The Octopus)) and artist Valborg Rønsholdt.

Kay is the third of four siblings – Oscar (painter), Aage (paediatrician), Kay and Thyra (married an architect).

1910 1

1910

Completes his apprenticeship as a silversmith with Georg Jensen in Bredgade in Copenhagen where he gains great recognition.

Kay Bojesen then travels to the vocational school for precious metal in Schwabisch Gmund in Germany and then on to Paris where he works as a silversmith for a period.

Kay Mor Sorthvid

1919

Kay Bojesen marries Erna Pethrine Drøge-Møller.

The story goes that Kay Bojesen with his characteristic humour proposed to Erna in 1918 with the words: “I am enthusiastic about your body, Miss Drøge-Møller. Will you marry me...?”

Their son Otto is born the same year.

 

Mand Koerer Sorthvid

1922

The Dansk Arbejde Association organises a toy competition in Copenhagen where Kay Bojesen debuts as toy designer.

He enters four toys – including the toy drum in painted beech (30 cm long), a wooden ship, a riding dragoon and a seesaw – and wins an award.

Kay Bojesen explains his reasons for entering the competition: “It is simply because I have a son who is given all the toys imaginable by family and friends. But with the pitiful result that he, who is a strong and heavy-handed little chap, very quickly sees them go to pieces in his hands”.

 

Kay Forretning



1932

Kay Bojesen opens a basement shop and workshop at 47 Bredgade, very close to Amalienborg Palace. He works here for the next 26 years with Mrs Bojesen serving in the shop and himself in the back room dreaming up new ideas.

The basement shop is an eldorado of toys, silverware, wooden bowls and plates.

 

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1930

Horse was born to the world in the beginning of the 1930s.

1932 2

1932

The Rattle arrives, the first classic children’s toy.

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1934

The dachshund is born and created in mahogany in two sizes (15 cm and 32 cm). The dachshund is just one of Kay Bojesen's many dogs from the 1930s.

The dachshund is reintroduced in 2011 and is now made of oiled walnut.

 

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1935

Original drawing of the zebra, cut in wood and hand-painted in black and white. The zebra is one of Bojesen's first exotic animals. 

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1935

The little quirky terrier, Tim, comes to life.

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1936

The beech rocking horse is born. It is produced in several versions with and without handles and unpainted.

A sturdy rocking horse which rocks down through the generations. The rocking horse very much lives up to Kay Bojesen's ideal that toys should be able to withstand heavy-handed use and play.

1940 1

1940

King Christian X celebrates his 70th birthday and Kay Bojesen produces his own life guards for the occasion and exhibits them in front of his shop in Bredgade as a tribute to the king. Four life guards in gala uniform measuring more than a metre in height greet King Christian X as he rides past the shop.

Only in 1942 does Kay Bojesen put the life guards into production. The Royal Life Guards at Amalienborg Palace comprise an officer with a sabre and three life guards who each carry a drum, a flag and a rifle.

Kay Bojesen takes his inspiration from the uniforms of the Royal Life Guards – which the Royal Life Guards have worn since 1657 – with their characteristic bearskin hats, blue trousers and red and white jackets.

The life guards come in several heights and versions.

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1948

Father Christmas is introduced in the 1940s and is inspired by one of the successfully painted life guards. Kay Bojesen's grandchildren remember clearly how Father Christmas appeared everywhere in the shop and at home at Christmas time.

Bojesen generously gives his Father Christmases away to children and customers alike.

Father Christmas is reintroduced in the autumn of 2013.

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1950

Kay Bojesen creates the songbirds in the 1950s, but they are never put into production. In 2012, the songbirds are recreated on the basis of old photos from Kay Bojesen's family album and put into production. The family welcomes Ruth, Pop, Otto, Kay, Peter and Sunshine into Bojesen's wonderful animal family.

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1951

The beloved monkey is born in 1951. The teak and limba monkey is living proof of Kay Bojesen's conviction that the lines in any product need to ‘smile’.

The smiling monkey is probably the best known of all Kay Bojesen's toys.

The story goes that Kay Bojesen was asked if he wanted to design a hat rack for an exhibition of children's furniture. The idea behind the monkey was that its long arms would bring the pegs down to child height and its short legs would provide the pegs for hanging hats and scarves.

 

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1952

The curious little bear is born – in oak and maple.

The same year Kay Bojesen is appointed Purveyor to His Majesty as a reward for his long-standing services to the Royal Danish Court.

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1953

The elephant joins the family. Produced in oak – large and chunky with moveable trunk and legs. The elephant is also available in a rare grey version with pink ears. 

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1954

Kay Bojesen designs several different types of fine birds. The puffin with its moveable head sees the light of day and is made in two sizes – measuring approx. 17 and 30 cm.

The puffin is made of painted alderwood and coloured by Svend Johansen, the great theatre painter of the time, who was famous for his naive lines. Svend Johansen painted several of Kay Bojesen's other animals.

The puffin has since become one of his most popular ‘forgotten’ designs. The puffin is reintroduced in the spring of 2013.

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1955

The hippo with its moveable jaws in oiled oak is born. A few hippos are available in a painted version. The hippo is perhaps Kay Bojesen's most angular animal with its invitingly open mouth. Kay Bojesen himself uses it to organise pencils on his desk.

Here he can be seen with his grandchildren Peter and Lotte at his desk with the hippo in the foreground.

The hippo is reintroduced in 2011 in a reduced size.

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1957

A year before Kay Bojesen's death, he creates one of his last wooden toys – the rabbit. The rabbit is made of oak with moveable arms and legs. Its protruding ears give the rabbit a curious and alert look. Produced in several sizes in both painted and unpainted wood.

The rabbit is reintroduced in 2011.

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Kay Bojesen dies at the age of 72 (on 28 August 1958). His widow Erna Bojesen continues the business until her death in 1986.

The family runs the shop for another few years. In 1991, the rights to the wooden toys, the life guards and the Grand Prix steel cutlery are sold to Erik Rosendahl. In 2011, the rights to the Grand Prix cutlery are transferred to Sus Bojesen, Kay Bojesen's granddaughter.

Since 1930

Danish design

Kay Bojesen is regarded as one of Denmark's biggest designer names and his designs are among the most popular in Danish design.

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