The origins of the German toymaker we know today as Playmobil can be traced to 1876, when a locksmith named Andreas Brandstätter opened a metal shop. By 1908, his son, Georg, took over the company from his father and renamed it after himself. Throughout the 1930s, the younger Brandstätter’s firm, renamed again as Geobra, made mostly telephones and cash registers, but it also produced some sheet-metal items for toy stores.

Plastic toys were added to the company’s line in the late 1950s, and in 1958 a molded race car was created as the first Playmobil prototype. But it would take more than a dozen years for the Playmobil look to coalesce, and the man credited with creating what would become a serious competitor to LEGO was Hans Beck, Geobra’s director of development.

One of the motivators behind Beck’s designs for Playmobil was the rising price of oil in the 1970s, which was pushing up the cost of plastic. In Playmobil, Beck created a world of toys for children that would be fun to play with despite their small size. In fact, their handheld size would be a key to their success.

Unlike LEGO, for whom figures were an afterthought to the building bricks themselves, Playmobil figures were an integral part of the toy from the start. Beck spent a lot of time on the figures, designing them after the look of children’s drawings, which are marked by exaggerated features and a liberal attitude when it comes to physical proportions. Thus the heads of Playmobil figures, which some fans called Klickies for the sound they would make when played with, lacked noses and were proportionally larger than the bodies they were attached to.

The first Playmobil system debuted at the Nurnberg Toy Fair in 1974. By all accounts, the reception was not overly enthusiastic, but an order from a Dutch wholesaler kept production going for a year. The initial systems featured medieval knights and horses in green boxes, construction workers with a pickup truck on a job site in blue boxes, and “Indians,” complete with feather caps for the braves, a canoe, and a teepee, in red boxes.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Museum of Childhood

Museum of Childhood

Embrace your inner child on this website from the Victoria and Albert Museum, filled with high-quality images and i… [read review or visit site]

The Wheelmen

The Wheelmen

This elegant tribute to turn-of-the-century bicycling includes memorabilia, photographs, and an index of 3140 bicyc… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Playmobil Parts And Pieces Huge Lot Western People Playmobil Parts And Pieces Huge Lot MiscHuge Vintage Playmobil Victorian Mansion Doll House Parts Lot 81 Kitchen BedroomPlaymobil Parts And Pieces Huge Lot Western Water Tower And MiscPlaymobil Mixed Lot Figures People Accessories Vehicles Animals Pirates Truck Playmobil Parts And Pieces Huge Lot Western Windmills1989 Playmobil Doll House Victorian Mansion All Furniture And People IncludedPlaymobil Parts And Pieces Large Lot Western FurniturePlaymobil Parts And Pieces Huge Lot Western Rocks And Plants CactusPlaymobil Roman Arena #4270 Plus Bonus Chariot 4274 & Tournament Tent 4273Playmobil 3477 Circus Clown Trailer New Playmobil Huge Lot Vintage Victorian Mansion #5305, #5300 Parts Playmobil Mixed Lot Dinosaurs Saurus Team Figures People Accessories VehiclesPlaymobil Magic Castle 5741 Golden Sword Guardian Wizard Elf Gnome Very Rare NibPlaymobil Parts And Pieces Large Lot Western Buildings 2Playmobil Parts And Pieces Lot Two Indian Families Teepees CanoesPlaymobil Mixed Lot Hospital Clinic Veterinary Figures Accessories AnimalsPlaymobil Mixed Lot Knights Castle Animals Figures People Accessories WeaponsPlaymobil Mixed Lot Egyptian Egypt Animals Figures People Accessories Pharaoh9lb Lot Of Playmobil Toys, Mermaid, Princess, Horses, More2.4lbs Lot Playmobil Playfigures, Hats, Hair Pieces, People, Accessories ++Playmobil Castle 4807 4808 4809 4810 4812 Wolf Clan Knights 5 New SetsPlaymobil 4577 Royal Guards X6 Figures Rare Lot Custom Toys Play Bid Sealed NewPlaymobil Roman ShipPlaymobil Mixed Lot Fire Fighters Rescue Figures Vehicles Accessories HelicopterPlaymobil Parts And Pieces Large Lot Western SchoolPlaymobil Lot Christmas, School, PrincessVintage Playmobil 4123 Ranger CaboosePlaymobil 5345 Hat Stand And Necklace Display Table Victorian Or Modern ShopPlaymobil 3794 Pirate's Pig Roast On Spit. Great With Western And KnightsPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300 Door Handles And Roof FinialsPlaymobil Parts And Pieces Huge Lot Western BuildingsLarge Lot Playmobil Indians Cowboys Western Figures Horses Teepee Canoe + AccessPlaymobil Huge People And Parts Lot Playmobil Black Knights Figures Axes Castle Lot New Rare Accessories BidPlaymobil Parts And Pieces Large Lot Western Coach StationPlaymobil Castle LotPlaymobil 6 Roman Legionnaire Warrior Guard Figures Custom Centurion Soldier LotPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5301,5305, Railings And PostsPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5305, Filled Flower Boxes And Flower UrnPlaymobil 4 British Royal Knight New Sealed 6229 Figures King Leader Redcoats BiPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5305 Wallpaper For Top Floor And FramesPlaymobil Egypt Egyptian Sphinx W/ Mummy 4242,4243,4247 Huge Lot Extras Fun Playmobil Eskimo Playset 3465 VintagePlaymobile 4827 African Wildlife Waterhole: Rare!X180 Playmobil Gold Coins Knights Crusaders Figures Shields Swords Castle Lot1990 Playmobil Train Tracks Trainstation Big Lot. Big Lot Of Playmobil Figures Animals Babies And Kids 73 Pieces Dogs And HorsesPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5305, Wall FillersPlaymobil 3514 Circus Lion Trailer New Playmobil Mermaid LotPlaymobil 4 British Royal 4577 6229 Guard Figures King Leader Redcoats SoldiersPlaymobil Western Silver RanchX6 English Playmobil Royal Guards Figures New 2014 Rare Lot Set Army Free GiftPlaymobil Fairy Lady Princess Figures Angel Klicky Castle Rare Toys Lot New BidX25 Playmobil Police Pistols New With Pirates Figure Accessories Lot Toy KlickyPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5301,5305, Narrow Railings & Base GrillsP406f - Playmobil Horses' Accessories -6k-Playmobil Safari Zoo Circus 7898 Add-on Zebra & Baby Foal Animals NewP402x - Playmobil Lot Of Accessories -6a-