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    

Unopened Playmobil 5601-victorian Wedding Carriage Bride Groom - 5300 Dollhouse1990 Playmobil #5404 Artist Painter Mint In Sealed Box-victorian Mansion SeriesPlaymobil Job Lot Of Victorian Figures A Bride Groom Ladies ChildrenPlaymobil #5302 Mansion Doll House With AccessoriesPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300 Dining Room Living Room FurnitureVintage Rare Playmobil Set #4000 - Passenger Train - In Box With Tracks +figuresLot Of Playmobil Knights Castle Parts & PiecesLot Of Playmobil Castle Knights Pirates Weapons & AccessoriesPlaymobil Car & Caravan - Figures Bike Dog ++ Camping Holiday / Summer FunHuge Playmobil Lot People Accessories Kids Animals Pirates Medieval Pilgrim Unopened New Playmobil 5310 Victorian Mansion Grandpas Den Rare Vintage OriginalEnormous Playmobil Lot *figures, Accessories, Trees, Animals** Must See!!Large Playmobile Zoo SetPlaymobil School Classroom - Children Teacher & More Victorian Modern House ++Playmobil Set # 7477 Mansion Fencing *complete And Used* Playmobil 4028 Freight Train Set In Excellent ConditionPlaymobil Fort BravoPlaymobil Pirate Ship LotPlaymobil Job Lot Of Victorian Furniture Spares Or RepairPlaymobil Figures Lot Animals Knights Pirates Vintage Geobra Playmobil Castle1980 Playmobil Electric Train Set 4024 Tracks Transformer Geobra Germany LgbPlaymobil Adventure Jungle Pirate Island Ship Figures Animals Mixed Lot PartsPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House Nursery Furniture 5313Playmobil 2006 Pacific Airline #4310 Jumbo Jet + Ground Equipment & 7 FiguresPlaymobil: 12 Roman Soldiers - Legionaries Army Playmobil Medieval Castle 3666 - Not Complete + Extras, PartsPlaymobil Castle 3268Playmobil 4455 Easter Bunny Rabbit Mushroom School House Playset Sealed In BoxPlaymobil Set X10 Figures ..v491.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5305 Assorted AccessoriesPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300 Nursery FurnituePlaymobil Vintage Victorian Master Bedroom Furniture #5321Playmobil Job Lot Of Treasure Chests With Gold Treasure Pirates/castle/ Western/Playmobil 4460 Easter Bunny Rabbit Treehouse Playset In Original Box 99% Com.Playmobil 4281 Garden Greenhouse Grandpa Grandma Playmobil 4246Playmobil Set X10 Figures ..vv491.. L@@k !!!Playmobil Royalty Assortment With King, Prince, Princess, Horse And Lots More!Playmobil Vintage Victorian School Classroom #5314 With ChildrenPlaymobil 5182 Police Station With Extras Great Deal!!Vintage 1995 Playmobil New In Box Sealed Wedding Reception Set 5339Playmobil Castle Sets LotPlaymobil Police Station Playmobil 123 Train Tracks Farm Tractor People Zoo Animals Mixed LotPlaymobil Rare Jewelry Stand #5346 With Many AccessoriesPlaymobil Farm Life #3716 With Animals And AccessoriesPlaymobil Figures Farm Girl With Animals Goats Sheeps Set 4785 Special Plus NewVtg Playmobil Police Station Jail #3165, Car #5184 Safe Crackers #5184Playmobil 4577 Royal Guards X6 Figures Rare Lot Custom Toys Play Bid Sealed NewPlaymobil Egyptian Huge Lot Mummies Pharoh Army Camel 100+ Pieces! EgyptPlaymobil X10 Knights Figures Castle Falcon Accessories Guerreiros Lot New 2016Playmobil 4456 4457 4458 4459 Easter Bunny Rabbit Figure Sets All 4 Sealed NewPlaymobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5305, Gold And White Door HandlesPlaymobil Lot Of Camping Tent Figures Adults Children & Accessory Playmobil Victorian Mansion House 5300,5301,5305, Narrow Railings For Roof EdgePlaymobil Vintage Cannon For Medevial Knights, Castle # 3482, #3409Playmobil Set X10 Figures ..vv490.. L@@k !!!1991 Vintage Playmobil 3716 Farm Barn Playmobil 3165 Police Station With Jail - Discontinued Retired