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 Car & Caravan - Figures Bike Dog ++ Camping Holiday / Summer FunVintage Rare Playmobil Western Train System 4121 Cattle Car Used In BoxPlaymobil 5407 Victorian Doll House Laundry Near Complete In BoxLarge Lot Of Playmobil Figures Pirates Knights Indians Warriors Kids Etc Etc Huge Playmobil Lot. Figures, Vehicles And Accessories. Dating From 1974-2015.Playmobil 4577 Royal Guards X6 Figures Rare Lot Custom Toys Play Bid Sealed NewLgb / Playmobil 'g' Scale - #4052 2-4-0 Steam Locomotive W/ Powered Tender1962 Deluxe Reading Playmobile Car Dashboard Battery ToyHuge Playmobil Lot -- 130+ Figures -- 25+ Horses -- 200+ AccessoriesPlaymobil 3666 3667 7421 Lot Includes Castle Parts Drawbridge MorePlaymobil Geobar Huge Lot Modern/vintage Mix People Toys Furniture Animals Cars Vintage Playmobil 99280 Express Electric Steam Engine With Engineer Geobra 1980Lot Of Playmobil Carry Ferry Poseidion With Pier Set 5127 With Set 5133 Playmobil Knights Empire Castle 3268 Used Good ConditionPlaymobil Police Truck & Launch/boat 2 People 2004 May Help Look!!Playmobil 3174 Red Pirate ShipPlaymobil Vacation / Summer House / Chalet 3230 & ExtrasVintage 80es Playmobil Blue Passenger Train Car 1Vintage 80es Playmobil Blue Passenger Train Car 2Playmobil Victorian Dollhouse Lorry Set 5640 In Original BoxPlaymobil Lot Of 100+ Items And 20 Figures - KnightsLot Of Playmobil Rare Houseboat House Boat Set 3540 Very NicePlaymobil Western Schoolhouse LotPlaymobil Castle Ship Figures Accessories 3053 Vintage Playmobil Western Theme Silver Ranch Lot Incomplete But Many Pieces Playmobil Huge Park Swings Slides Carousel 6 Adults 16 Children 2 Babies Toys ++Huge Lot Of Playmobil 65 Figures 10 Animals & Accessories Castle Mermaids & MorePlaymobil "steaming Mary" Item: 4054, Used (vintage Playmobil, Western Train)Playmobil Lot Of Pyramid And Indians+ Great Pieces Of These 2 SetsPlaymobil Lot With 64 Figures & Soldiers, Weapons, Horses, And MorePlaymobil Set 3773 Western Us Cavalry Fort Bravo Soldiers Horse EtcPlaymobil Victorian Doll House Master And ServantPlaymobil Dwarf Knight Figure Custom Canon 6842 Klicks Wizard Magician Lotr LotVintage Playmobil Western Theme Lot - Horses Cattle Cowboys Hats Rifles & MoreVintage Playmobil Landscaping Lot - Rocks Cactus Pond Or Watering Hole GreeneryPlaymobil Airport / City Yellow Taxi Cab / Car Extra Figure & LuggagePlaymobil Victorian Lady With Bike Lady In White & Blue Bike Playmobil FigurePlaymobil Skeleton Pirate Skeleton Playmobil FigurePlaymobil 5300 Victorian Mansion Dollhouse (original 1989) Furniture Figures CarPlaymobil 3468 Tv News Truck & Crew With Orig Box & Instructions - Extra FiguresLot Of Playmobil Take Along Modern Dollhouse Set 5167 Playmobil Police Vehicles & Figures Huge LotPlaymobil 6 Roman Legionnaire Warrior Guard Figures Custom Centurion Soldier LotVintage Lot Playmobil Native American Indian Figures Horses Weapons & Accessory 2 Window Sections As Pictured For Playmobil Victorian Mansion Doll House - N.r.Playmobil Figures Klicky Queen Colossus 6694 Super 4 Skeleton Original KnightVintage 1980s Playmobil Lot Redcoats Bluecoats Soldiers Cannons1980s Playmobil Zoo Theme Lot - Many Pieces - Lots Of White FencingPlaymobil Multi Set 4338 Princess / Fairy With Unicorn +mermaid Playmobil FigurePlaymobil Indian With Shield Vintage 1974 Indian Western Playmobil FigurePlaymobil Romans - Huge Lot W Ship, Arena, Figures, & Much More In Euc! Playmobil Camper Theme Huge Lot 5434, 5267, 5928 With Accessories 042816amePlaymobil 7109 Retired Medieval House *new*Playmobil Furnished School Building 4324 Used Vintage Playmobil Red Passenger Train Car 2Lot Of Playmobil Fire Rescue Station Firehouse Set 5981 With Fire Truck 5980 Playmobil 5312 Children's Room Victorian Mansion DollhouseMassive Playmobil Lot 200 + Pieces Figures Animals Accessories Playmobil Panda New Park Zoo Animals Cute Figures Custom Rare Set Lot Bid 6652 7Playmobil 2006 International Airport Pieces 8 Figurines 4315& 4310 Cargo Plane