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]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Playmobil Midevil BarnX120 Playmobil Custom Random Parts Accessories Shields Swords Hats Figures Lot Playmobil Lot Castle Seige Tower Knights Horses 100+ PiecesPlaymobil 5135 Pirate Ship With Figures & Accessories20lbs Playmobil Victorian Gothic Mansion Custom House Lot Vintage 1984 Playmobil 4053 Crane & Loader Maintenance Train Set ConstructionPlaymobil Knights Kings Large Castle Set 3666 IncompleteHuge Lot - Playmobil Figures And AccessoriesPlaymobil Western Scene Rocks Totem Pole Bridge Trees Bison Horses MummyPlaymobil Random Custom Klicks X16 Lot Figures Pirates Knights People Toys New Nib Playmobil Nurse And Baby Set 3979. Sgcc Mission Fundraiser ItemPlaymobil Random Custom Klicks X23 Lot Figures Horses Pirates Knights People ToyPlaymobil 3659 Royal Court Medieval Castle King Queen Dog Throne RoyaltyPlaymobil Pirate Ship Boat 5135 Complete With Instructions Euc + ExtrasBig Lot Of Playmobil Animals People Trees & AccessoriesPlaymobil Construction Lot - 3 Vehicles, 9+ Figures And Lots Of Other StuffPlaymobil Figures W/large Accessories 6 Sets 4436 5730 5731 5750 5774 5796 MisbPlaymobil Random Custom Klicks Geobra X24 Figures Lot Pirates Knights People ToyPlaymobil Specials Pals 6 Sets 4635 5789 5790 5791 5792 5793 MisbNib Playmobil Hospital Room Set 3980! Sgcc Mission Fundraiser ItemVintage Playmobil Townhall Or Rathaus Midevil Building Playmobil Hospital - Excellent Condition - Near Complete Playmobil Easter Bunny Lot 4450 4451 4452 4453 4454Vintage Playmobil Bathroom Set Looks Victorian In Sealed Pack Lot Of Playmobil Victorian Mansion Bedroom Furniture Figures Truck Wagon FlowersPlaymobil Fire Lot - 3 Vehicles, 10+ Figures And Lots Of Other StuffNew Playmobil 5419 Castle With PrincessCustom Lot Playmobil Skier Polar Bear Deer Sled 2 Mini Figures Boys Girls EasterPlaymobil Lot Sheriff Jail Western #3786 PartsPlaymobil Church,wedding Car, Large Lot Playmobil Figures,animals, Weapons,etcPlaymobil 6099 Martin Luther Special Rare Rare Rare Rar New / Sealed XxxxPlaymobil Police Lot - With 4+ Vehicles, 10+figures And Lots Of StuffPlaymobil 4105 Pipe Holder Train Car - Complete - With Box - Nice ConditionPlaymobil Huge Lot Farm Animals Rabbit Bunny 65+ PiecesLarge Variety And Miscellaneous Lot Of Playmobil Geobra/playmobil AccessoriesPlaymobil 3785 3783 Confederate Soldiers Virginia Mountain Men War HorsesG Scale Custom Built Handcar On Playmobil Motor Train Locomotive CarPlaymobil Lot Knight Crusader Shield Figure Gold Custom Geobra Rare New ArmyPlaymobil Alien & Space Men Lot Playmobil 3887 Assault Battering Ram Tower Knights Warriors Medieval Siege Playmobil Pirate Ship Boat Skull Sails 5135 Not Complete Lot Of Playmobil Fork Lifts Bucket Truck Pallets Jeep Baggage Cars Mint OoonceVintage 1977 Playmobil System Fire Fighters Deluxe SetPlaymobil Childrens Bedroom Furniture 5333 Playground Swings Crocodile Seesaw Large Set Of Playmobil Construction Workers And EquipmentPlaymobil Huge Park Swings Slides Carousel 5 Adults 14 Children Baby Toys ++Huge Playmobil Collection / Lot Of PiecesNew Playmobil 4167 Advent Calendar Pony Farm W/ Great Additional Surprise 150pcPlaymobil Fort Bravo #3773 - No Original Box But Includes Extras!Collection Of 40 Playmobil Animal Figures From Multiple KitsVintage 1974-1976/ 1983 1984 ? Playmobil/geobra 3423 Western Sheriff's Office Large Lot Of Playmobil Mystery Figures And Accessories!~rare~Playmobil Lot Of 2 Pirate Not Complete Ships Playset Parts & Pieces 1978 91 SetsPlaymobil 3 Random Sets 4257 5729 5735 Misb Plus Mystery Treasure Chest Surprise1980 Playmobil Geobra Playmospace Rs2005vy S.a2 Toy Space CenterPlaymobil 3797 Romani Circus Elephant Clowns Baby Elephant Drums MusicPlaymobil Roman Gladiator Arena-good Used Condition-see Pictures!!Big Lot Of Playmobil Trees Bushes Plants Foliage & Flowers Playmobil Special Medieval~bat Broom Flying Witch Castle Halloween Figure 4550Playmobile Figures (43 Of Them) From The Mid 2000's Sold As 1 Lot