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 Xxl Wohnhaus 4279 Mit Erweiterungen,wintergarten,beleuchtung,mPlaymobil GroRiesiges Paket Playmobil Bauernhof 5119 + 5121+5223+5122+4146+5226Playmobil 4865 Lion Knights Empire Castle Large Fortress FiguresPlaymobil Mein GroPlaymobil Princess Fantasy Castle With People And Lots Of AccessoriesPrinzessinnenschloss Playmobil Mit Viel ZubehPlaymobil Mega Set Baustelle Baukran Betonmischer 3934 3935 3265 3262 3260 7932Playmobil Puppenhaus 5300 Nostalgie 1900Playmobil Bauernhof 5119 Mit Silo, Traktor, Viel Extra ZubehPlaymobil Victorian Mansion 5300 House 99% Complete Furniture Dolls HousePlaymobil Special Figuren Sammlung 72 StPlaymobil Traumschloss 3019 Mit Anleitung Und Viel ZubehGeobra Playmobil Play Set 4035 R/c Christmas Train Rare Retired 1997 Many ExtrasPlaymobil Set GroPlaymobil Ritterburg 3666 Mit Figuren Und ZubehPlaymobil GroPlaymobil Supermarket Shop 3200 Extra Figures Accessories Food Cafe - City LifePlaymobil 5302 Mein GroPlaymobil (3 Achats Port Offert) Haras Centre Equestre 4190 Complet Van Box EtcPlaymobil 4055 Mega Farm Set Huge Lot - Tractor Animals RareSammlung Gleise Schienen Lgb Playmobil Eisenbahn Kreuzung Weichen Gerade KurvenPlaymobil Eisenbahn Rc Train 4085 GPlaymobil Locomotive Train No. 4052Playmobil Grosses Baustellen Set Lkw 3265 Bagger Und Viel ZubehPlaymobil Reiterhof Country Mit Sehr Viel ZubehPlaymobil Zusatzetage/erweiterung 7337 Zum Haus3965 Top ZustandPlaymobil 3666 Burg Mit ZubehPlaymobil Feuerwehr Vorausfahrzeug 3181 Mit AnhPlaymobil Bahnhof 4300Playmobil 5142 Prinzessinnenschloss Inkl. 5145 KPlaymobil Airport Holiday Tour Coach Bus Figures +++ City Life Transport 3169Playmobil Country Ponyhof 5222 Neu Top OvpPlaymobils Chateau FortPlaymobil Country 5224Playmobil 4835 GroEnorme Lot De Playmobil - 4kg - 80 Personnages, Accessoires, VLgb Schienen SetPlaymobil Feuerwehr- GroPlaymobil 5178 Polizei Hubschrauber Mit Led SuchscheinwerferVintage Playmobile Western Train Set With Box Rr 4033 System Westernzug Steaming Mary Mit 2 Wagons, Schienenkreis Und GroPlaymobil Knight's Empire Castle Playset With Loads Of Extras (3268)Playmobil Bauzug 4053 / 410074104 Lgb Trafo+handweiche Und Gleis FigurenLot Of Playmobil Pirates 47 Figures Ships Weapons Fort Dungeon Shipreck Island4054 Playmobil/lgb Western Lok Steaming Mary - Top-zustand - Playmobil Pacific Passenger & Cargo Plane 4310 And Airport 4311Playmobil Feuerwehr-hauptquartier 4819Playmobil 4821 Feuerwehr LPlaymobil Bauernhof Mit Traktor Und SiloHuge Lot Playmobil Plane Police Rescue Firetruck Ambulance Bank 4+ Boys & Girls Playmobil Ersatzteile Konvolut Von 1977 - Fachwerkhaus / Burg !!Playmobil 3318 Containerdienst - Lkw Mit Container + Ladegut Baustelle TopPlaymobil Castle 3666 And Lots Of Accessories - Boxed - Great ConditionPlaymobil Western Eisenbahn Rc 4017 Nostalgie ZugPlaymobil Aeroplane Jet Plane Figures & Luggage - Airport Vehicle Lapland TourPlaymobil Grand Mansion 5302 Excellent Condition With 7 Extra Sets (185+ Pieces)Playmobil Eisenbahn Rc Train Zug Funkferngesteuert Akku LadegerPlaymobil RPlaymobil Pirate Treasure Island 3799. Super Condition - Great For Christmas!