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 Victorian Mansion House 5300 Fully Furnished Dolls HousePlaymobil Lot Victorian Mansion #5300 Furniture & Accessories Playset -not ComplMassive Vintage Playmobil Medieval Castles Lot 75 Figs 1000's Pieces1990 Playmobil #5360 Victorian Dollhouse Fence Set Unused Mint In Sealed BoxHuge Playmobil Mixed Castle Lot--almost 20 Pounds, Hundreds Of Pieces!Vtg Playmobil Victorian Mansion Doll House Parts Lot Majority Plus Expansion PcsBig Lot Of 80 Playmobil Figures + Lots Of Accessories Like Chairs,animals & MorePlaymobil Rc Train 4020 With BoxHuge Lot Playmobil People, Weapons, #3030 Castle, Much More Huge Lot Many PeopleNew Open Box 92pc Of Playmobil 5612 Playground SetPlaymobil Figures LotPlaymobil Victorian Set #7157 Nanny Toddler Baby Carriage NibLot Of Playmobil Take Along School + Playground + Extra Playmobil FiguresPlaymobil System Train Set 3958 (1974) With Many ExtrasHuge Lot Of 38 Playmobil Geobra Figures, Animals, Accessories & 3 1-2-3Playmobil 6 Roman Legionnaire Warrior Guard Figures Custom Centurion Soldier LotPlaymobil Egyptian Lot 4240,4241,4244,4247(x2) Pyramid Ship Chariot Camels MenPlaymobil 4240 4242 4243 Egyptian Pyramid Pharoah's Temple & Sphinx 2 With BoxesPlaymobil 4271 Roman Warriors Centurion/legionnaire PlaysetP365b - Playmobil Huge TreePlaymobil Lot Of Royalty Nobility Figures Adults Animals Furniture & Accessory Playmobil Light Aircraft (piper / Cessna Type)Big Lot Of Mixed Playmobil Pirates Figures, Pirate Ship, Pirate Island,raft, EtcPlaymobil Add-on Medieval Bakery 6219 New In BoxPlaymobil Victorian Touring Car . Model T Automobile 5620 With Figures Playmobil Set - Open Air Swimming Pool, Figures & Accessories (4858)1981 Schaper Playmobil Toy Catalog With Original Order Form Ny Toy FairVintage Playmobil Huge Lot Of Horses And CowsPlaymobil Set X10 Figures ..z143.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Lot Of 13 Children Figures Playmobil Pirate Police Resque Lot 20+ Figures Accessories Weapons Boats Palms Playmobil Fairytale Castle 3033 Princess & Frog With Peacock Fountain NisbPlaymobil Add-on Red Medieval Frame Work House 7785 NewPlaymobil Lot 2 Pirate Castles Playset-knights-horses-figures 5803 3274 LoadedVintage Playmobil Us Cavalry Complete Western Set1982 Schaper Playmobil Toy Catalog 61 PagesPlaymobil School Set #5923 - 9+ Lb. Lot Of Building Pieces/people/accessoriesVintage Playmobil System 3510 Blue Circus 1978Playmobil Lot Of 10 Various People Figures (wizards, Child Out Of Tree)Playmobil Set X10 Knights Figures ..v534.. L@@k !!!Playmobil 3112 (3288) Naval Stronghold Pirate Prison Building PartsPlaymobil Bakery Shop #4410- Building Pieces Only!!Playmobil Father & Son Summer Camping / Fishing Trip - Tent Animals & MorePlaymobil 7 New Sets Sports & Action Olympics 5189 5194 5196 5198 5200 5201 5202Vintage 1970's Schaper Playmobil Little People Sets-lot Of 2-new In PackagePlaymobil 3988--incomplete Lot Of Pieces, 3 People--over 10 PoundsPlaymobil 3248 Polar BearsPlaymobil Airport And Cargo Vehicle #4311 UsedPlaymobil Set X10 Figures ..z144.. L@@k !!!Rare 1985 Playmobil System Hospital Churgery Room 3459 Sealed BagsPlaymobil Set X10 Figures ..z152.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Parts Odds Ends Lot !! Bits Pieces!!!P362ta - Playmobil ReindeerPlaymobil Set X10 Figures ..z151.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Set X10 Figures ..z147.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Medieval Castle 4147 Dragon Rock Knights PlaysetPlaymobil Playfigure Lot Of Short Brown Hair /pieces / Parts Lot Of 10Medieval Playmobil Knights Kings Weapons Vintage MarketPlaymobil 5360 Victorian Collection Mansion Fence 100% CompleteHuge Playmobil Lot