Kay Bojesen kept his childish curiosity and joie de vivre until the very end. He died at the age of 72, leaving behind a significant design legacy. A legacy that is now protected by his family.

See what date your favourite animal was designed on Kay Bojesen’s historical timeline.


Kay Bojesen was born on 15 August 1886 in Copenhagen, son of publishing director Ernst Bojesen and artist Valborg Rønsholdt. Kay was the third child of four – Oscar (painter), Aage (pediatrician), Kay and Thyra (married to an architect).


Kay Bojesen graduated as a silversmith at Georg Jensen in
Bredgade, Copenhagen, where he gained wide recognition. He then attended the vocational school for precious metal in the German Schwabisch Gmund and from there he went to Paris, where he worked for a period as a silversmith.


Kay Bojesen married Erna Pethrine Drøge-Møller. The same year they got married, son Otto was born.


The Danish Working Environment Association held a toy competition. Kay Bojesen participated and won an award. Kay Bojesen explained his reason for participating: "This is simply because I have a son who
gets more toys than you can possibly imagine from family and friends. However, the sad fact is that he is a strong and heavy-handed little guy, and the toys quickly break in his fingers."


The horse first appeared in the early 1930s. With a quirky stance, thick mane and reins ready to grab onto, the horse tempts you to gallop away to distant lands. The soft shapes and stiff legs give the horse the distinctive cheerful expression that Kay Bojesen’s wooden animal family is known for.


Kay Bojesen opened a basement shop and workshop on Bredgade 47, just near Amalienborg. For the next 26 years, he would work in the store, with Mrs Erna in the front, and himself in the back, coming up with new ideas. The basement shop was a mecca of toys, silverware, wooden bowls and plates. The rattle, the first classic toy for children, was created the same year. The dimensions made the rattle easy to hold in little hands, while the ball in the middle of the rattle flicked back and forth and spun around much to the baby's delight. The rattle was made of unpainted wood, because Bojesen believed that it let the imagination run free.


The Dachshund Hound was born in mahogany and in two different sizes. The Dachshund was just one of Kay Bojesen’s many dogs from the 1930s. The Dachshund was re-introduced in 2011 and made of oiled walnut wood.


The zebra, carved in wood
and hand-painted in black and white, was one of Bojesen’s first exotic animals. That same year, Tim, the whimsical little terrier, was also born. When children visited Kay Bojesen’s store on Bredgade 47 in Copenhagen, they often received a small gift. And often it was Tim the dog they received.


e beech rocking horse was born. It was produced in several variants with and without handles and paint. A solid rocking horse that kept on rocking for generations. The rocking horse lived up to Kay Bojesen’s ideal for toys to withstand being used and played with.


The car was created in 1937 by Kay Bojesen, who himself was a big car fan. In the autumn of 2017, the Sedan was put back into production in the same size as the original car. In the spring of 2019, the Limousine, which Kay Bojesen and Ole Wanscher developed together, was put back into production.


King Christian X turned 70, and in honor of the occasion, Kay Bojesen created soldiers in the Royal Danish Guard, which he put up in front of the store in Bredgade as a tribute to the king. Four gala-clad metre-high guards greeted King Christian X as he rode past the store. It was not until 1942 that Kay Bojesen started putting the guards into production. Amalienborg’s guards include an officer with a sabre and three guards holding a drum, flag and gun.


In the 1940s, Santa Claus saw the light of day, inspired by the successful painted guards. Kay Bojesen’s grandchildren clearly remember how Santa stood everywhere in the store and at home as a sign of the happy Christmas season. Bojesen generously gave Santa Claus away to the children and young at heart among his customers. Santa Claus was re-introduced in autumn 2013.


Kay Bojesen created the songbirds in the 1950s, but they were never put into production. In 2012, the songbirds were put into production
created from old photos from Kay Bojesen’s family album. The family added Ruth, Pop, Otto, Kay, Peter, Ernst and Sunshine to Bojesen’s wonderful animal family.


1951 was the year when the beloved monkey was born. The monkey in teak and limba was a living proof of Kay Bojesen’s conviction that the lines of a product should “smile”. The smiling monkey is probably the best known of all Kay Bojesen’s designs. The story goes that Kay Bojesen was asked if he wanted to design a coat rack for a children’s furniture exhibition. The idea behind the monkey was that the long arms would bring the coat hook down to child’s height, and the short legs would make room for a hat and scarf.


This curious little bear was born in oak and maple. Kay Bojesen was inspired by the little bear cub Ursula, who grew up with the Copenhagen Zoo's zoo keeper and his wife. The little Ursula had been abandoned by her mother, a story that touched Kay's heart. That same year, Kay Bojesen was appointed Purveyor to the Royal Danish Court for long and regular trade with the Court.


The elephant joined the family. Made of oak - large and sturdy with movable trunk and legs. The elephant was also available in a rare gray version with pink ears.


Kay Bojesen designed several different kinds of fine birds. This articulated puffin was made in two sizes. The puffins were made of painted orewood and painted by the great theatre artist Svend Johansen, who was famous for his nativistic line and who has also painted several of Kay Bojesen’s other animals. The puffin has since become one of his most sought-after “forgotten” designs. The puffin was re-introduced in spring 2013.


The hippo was born with its movable jaws in oiled oak. There are also a few copies in a painted version. The hippo may be Kay Bojesen’s most angular creature with his friendly open jaws. Kay Bojesen himself used it for storing his pencils on his desk. The hippo was re-introduced in 2011 in a reduced size.


A year before he died, Kay Bojesen made one of his very last wooden animals – the rabbit. It is made of oak, can move both arms and
legs and the pointy ears give him a curious and alert expression. The rabbit was be re-introduced in 2011. Kay Bojesen is known for his circus of charming wooden animals, but the witty designer also loved his fellow human beings, whom he often portrayed in various professions – from baker to priest. Based on the Royal Danish Guards, in the 1950s Kay Bojesen created the diligent postman who takes pride in distributing post through the rain and sleet. After Kay Bojesen died in 1958, the family put the postman into production. The postman was reintroduced in autumn 2017, now under the name Einar.


Kay Bojesen died 72 years old on 28 August 1958. His widow Erna Bojesen continued the company until her death in 1986. The family
continued to run the store for a few years. In 1991, the rights to all wooden designs, the wooden guards and the “Grand Prix”steel dinner service were sold to Erik Rosendahl. In 2011, the rights to all silver and steel designs, including the Grand Prix”  cutlery “, was transferred to Kay Bojesen’s grandson Sus Bojesen.

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