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 Car & Caravan - Figures Bikes & More Camping Holiday / Summer FunPlaymobil Red Dragon Knights Castle 3269 Figures Weapons & AccessoriesPlaymobil Airport Holiday Tour Coach Bus Figures +++ City Life Transport 3169Playmobil Aeroplane Jet Plane Extra Figures & Luggage - Airport Vehicle 5811Playmobil Carry Along House With Lots Of Accessories..Playmobil Santa Magic Sleigh Sled Reindeers Toys Angel + Christmas Rare 3604Playmobil Egyptian Lot 100 Pcs Pharaoh Temple Princess Soldiers Skeleton WeaponsVtg Playmobil 90s G-scale Rc Train Set Tracks Locomotive Holiday Christmas PartsWater Well With Maid & Farm Donkey For Western Medieval Knight Castle PlaymobilHugh Playmobil Lot Approx. 30 Pounds 110 Figures Victorian House-knights Castle Awesome Vintage Mattel 1984 Playmobil #9728 Space Series Astronaut & Robot - NosPlaymobil Blackbeards Pirate Ship With Figures & Accessories LotPlaymobil Hospital Furniture Accessories And Figure LotMaltese Grandmaster Priest & Nun / Church Wedding Figures PlaymobilPlaymobil Supermarket Checkout Figures Till Food For Market Shop City LifePlaymobil 4490 Large Farm With Rope Lift With Instructions & Extras1994 Playmobil Western Cowboys Accessories Cannons Horses Vintage Toy LotPlaymobil Carry Along Castle With Lots Of Knights.1994 Vintage Playmobil Western Cowboys Indians Horses Accessories Toy Lot Special Evil Queen Witch For Magic Medieval Castle Figure 4530 Playmobil RareSpecial Midnight Witch & Broom Magic Medieval Castle Figure 4550 Playmobil RareLgb Motor Block For Playmobil TrainPlaymobil Set X10 Knights Figures ..g110.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Set 4891 Cristmas Market Factory Sealed.Playmobil Set X10 Figures ..g119.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Take Along Vet Pet Animal Clinic 5870 Vet Car Vet Carry CaseVictorian Toy Train / Pregnant Mummy & Children / House Nursery Figure PlaymobilPlaymobil Lot ~ Airport / Control Tower 3186 & Plane / Crew 3185 X12 Playmobil New Pirate Egyptian Castle Skeleton Mummy Halloween Rare Lot CoinsPlaymobil 5877 Retired Pony/horse Barn Ranch StableMarx Playpeople #1750 Fireman's Super Set + Playmobil (lyra) 3323 Station PorterPlaymobil Lot Wild Animals Penguins Seals And FishPlaymobil Christmas Set Nativity And Wise Kings 5719 In Original Box CompleteBlacksmith Farrier Armour Weapon Maker / Medieval Knight Black Smith PlaymobilPlaymobil #7512 Roman Warrior Ship 39 Piece Lot With Roman Soliders Accessories Playmobil Animals Lot: Kangaroo&joey/ Bear/elephant/gnu/ Mountain Goat/lions/monPlaymobil Knights 6004 Rare Riesen Troll For Magic Castle Gnom Playmobil Kindergarden / Nursery / Pre School Playgroup Children Toys & MorePlaymobile 4 Vehicle Lot Police ( Lights Work) Fire And Snow MobilPlaymobil Set X10 Soldiers Figures .... L@@k !!!Playmobil Zoo #4850 People, Animals About 90% Complete, VgucLot Of Playmobil 123 People Planes House & Train W/ TracksPlaymobil 5581 Royal Guards Set W/ Box Figures Catalog AccessoriesPlaymobil Zoo Dolphin Basin - Complete - 4468Playmobil Victorian Kitchen 5322 Retired, Maid, Boy, Dollhouse 5300 Furniture7 Playmobil Klicks Roman Siege Figures 4271 Emperor Leader Rare 2014 Lot Rare Vintage Playmobil 3992 Motorcycle Bike Repair Shop Garage Set MechanicPlaymobil Castle Royal Lot Of 4 Figures Queen Princess Little Girl A17 LadiesPlaymobil Lot Of 5 Mermaids Evil King Trident Boys Girls Royal Figures A8Playmobil Victorian Mansion 5300Playmobil 123 Large Train Set With 2 Trains, Platform, 10 People, Tractor, ++ Massive Playmobil Accessories LotPlaymobil Work Engine With Gondola, Can Pull Lgb Cars TooHuge Lot Playmobil Vehicles, Police Station Buildings, Plus Accessories Used Playmobil Cattle RanchVintage Playmobil Special Sherlock Holmes Detective Figure MibPlaymobil Victorian 7 People Lot Including Family, Granny, Maid, Buggy, DollPlaymobil Native American Indian Set Teepee And AccessoriesPlaymobil Playground 23 Peice LotHuge Lot Of 185pcs Of Playmobil Kids / Adults Hats Helmets Sombreros Police Fire