It was 50 years ago that the then 17 year old Bente Thomsen stepped into LE KLINT's folding room for the first time. She has now reached a quite exceptional milestone, one that very few employees in the entire country manage achieve.
With 50 years of experience in our company, she will spend March 12th 2019 celebrating her 50th work anniversary.
Bente Thomsen at her place of 50 years in the folding room at LE KLINT in Odense.
One million lampshades
Bente or "Mrs Thomsen", as some of her colleagues affectionately call her, has plied her trade in the Pleating Studio for a long time. And plying – well, she has done a lot of that. Over the years since 1969, Bente has folded approximately one million lampshades. When the young girl started working at the company, she folded from 7 o'clock in the morning until she finished work at 3:40 in the afternoon. It was Bente's sister-in-law, who at the time was also a "Pleating Technician" at LE KLINT, who helped Bente discover the company.
The bond with my colleagues is really strong. This is my second family. If you ask for their opinion on anything, you get an honest answer- sometimes you also get a second opinion without asking, says Bente with a smile and continues: The tone of conversation is really good, and we have also been spending our free time together during the time.
Bente Thomsen has participated in many events during her time at LE KLINT, at which the craftsmanship of folding was on display. As is evident, this drew a lot of attention. In this case it was a reading event at the Brandts Museum in January 2019. Bente can be seen in the left-hand corner.
Bente is a respected and well-liked colleague, who is always ready to lend a hand. On a regular work day in 2019, Bente will fold between 60 and 80 lampshades, depending on the model, but there is also time for other tasks over the course of the day. For example, she will cut out the lampshades that need to be folded the following day. And in addition to being among the experienced hands in the folding studio, Bente is also "mother" to the entire company.
She takes care of the canteen every day, making sure that it presentable, and she makes sure that coffee is served, as well as open sandwiches, biscuits or real Funen "brunsviger" (classic Danish coffee cakes), when events are held in the house. Particularly the men will be kindly – but firmly – informed if they have forgotten to put their own cup in the dish-washer, because things need to be in order, of course.
Bente is seen here, flanked by some of her colleagues, at the celebration of LE KLINT's 75th year at "Alfred og Kamilla" in Odense in the autumn of 2018. From the left are Heidi Fabricius, Bente Thomsen, Ulla Jensen and Susanne G. Kristiansen. They have been employed at LE KLINT for 19, 50, 48 and 25 years respectively.
Over the course of her working life, Bente has served under three directors at LE KLINT. It began with Jan Klint, who was the last member of the Klint family at the helm, after which it was Kurt Jørgensen, and today Kim Weckstrøm Jensen is the CEO.
We have the privilege of having many people celebrating anniversaries at LE KLINT – we have three 25-year anniversaries in the first half of 2019 – and this is in addition to us having a number of employees that already have more than 30 years' of experience.
This certainly isn't the norm in the society of today, and of course, it is good to gain new inspiration and breaths of fresh air. But that said, I have a great amount of respect for employees that can evolve along with the business – who remain on board when things are going well, but who most certainly show their worth when times are hard... and we definitely benefit from this in our company.
But 50 years is something... quite special, even for us...
It gives me great pleasure to celebrate 50 years with Bente, and there can be no doubt that, with her years of work, she has been – and continues to be – a solid part of LE KLINT's DNA. With her loyalty and high spirits, Bente has always been a unifying figure for our employees, old and new. And I have a great respect for the dedication and passion she folds into every shade on a daily basis.
When I have been on the move, and when things are hectic... And this is often the case - then it is always nice to return home and meet Bente over an early cup of morning coffee. We take it easy then, and we work our way down through things.
Bente – many congratulations on your day – I look forward to many more LE KLINT shades... and a cup of coffee now and again...
Kim / CEO
In this picture, Bente signs her initials upon one of the many lampshades that have passed through her skilful hands over the years.
The favourite lamp
It can be difficult to pick out a design that you like the most, when so many lamp shades have passed through your skilful folding hands over the course of 50 years. But one of the lamps that occupy a special place in Bente's heart is a true LE KLINT-classic, the Model 101/The Fruit Lantern, which was designed by Kaare Klint in 1944. The Model 172 is also one of LE KLINT's bestsellers, and Bente thinks so too, and the designer also made quite an impression on her. She clearly remembers when she met the long-haired designer, Poul Christiansen. He worked closely with the Pleating Studio, where he taught them a folding technique which was, at the time, quite different and innovative.
Bente grew up in Odense, where she lives with her husband, Jørgen. Together, they have three children and seven grandchildren. It is not yet known when Bente will end her long career as a Pleating Technician, but when the time comes for her to stop folding lamp shades, she looks forward to having more time to spend with her family. Until that day comes, all Bente's colleagues will enjoy her good humour and expertise. This special anniversary date will celebrated, along with her colleagues, at Egestubben, which houses LE KLINT's main office and production unit.
We all wish to congratulate Bente on her anniversary!