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    

Reading Deluxe Playmobile Vintage Toy Dashboard, Playmobil Huge Lot Over 700 People Babies Bakery Furniture Nativity Food Misc ++Euc Huge 100+ Pieces Lot Playmobil Animals Figures Some Vintage Htf Mixed MiscNew Playmobil G Scale Rare 4305 Frieght Train Station Güter Abfertigung Lgb Playmobil Set 3965 Modern House Dollhouse With Furniture And Lots Of PeoplePlaymobil Castle Set - #3666 - Nib - Rare - 1993Huge Playmobil Vtg Lot – Castle, Pirates, Space, Large House, Farm, 70+ Pounds!Playmobil Mansion, Car And TrailerPlaymobil 7785 Red Medieval Framework House 2005Huge Lot Playmobil 80s, 28 Figures Victorian Mansion #5305 Other Sets, FurniturePlaymobil 5301 Victorian Mansion With Lots Of ExtrasPlaymobil 3551 - 1990 Sailboat / Fishing Trawler - Nib Factory SealedPlaymobil 3437 Shell Petrol Station Boxed Vintage 1991Playmobil Castle Set - Huge Lot With Figures, Horses, AccessoriesPlaymobil #3556 Farm/barn - Complete Still In Original Wrapping Lot Playmobil Castle Accessories Soldiers Weapons Falcons Knights Empire HorsesTrain Playmobil 4305 Freight Station Platform Gently Used. Vtg Playmobil Small Victorian Dollhouse Mansion # 5305 - Near Complete (95%)!Huge Lot Of 86 Figures And More Playmobil Great LotNew Vintage Playmobil 3452, 3477, 3727, 3728 Cicus Sets - Rare And NibPlaymobil 3841,dragon´s Temple Incomplete,spain,1995,mib.Playmobil 4450 Easter Bunny Spring WorkshopPlaymobil Summer Fun Ferris Wheel With Lights 5552 Toy Building NewPlaymobil 7878 Romans Rome 10 Figures Rare Lot Custom Toys Play Bid Sealed Ref 2 Playmobil Geobra 1974 Medieval Little Castle 3446 KnightsVintage Playmobil Medieval Knights Castle 3450 With Box And InstructionsPlaymobil 5716 Firetruck With Firemen And Accessories - Rare And RetiredPlaymobil 3720 Romani Circus Trapeze Ring Set Manege Ring Set Net Fence Playmobil, Huge Lot, 5 Or 6 Sets, Included 3786, 3803, 3785 & Fort Glory, As Is10 Playmobil Roman Rome Centurion Soldier Figure Custom Lot Rare Sword 7878 LotPlaymobil Falcon Knights 10 Figures Rare Lot Custom Toys Play Bid Castle New LotNew Playmobil 4850 Large Zoo With Entrance - New In BoxPlaymobil Lot. Whale Mermaids Pirates Rhino Camel Figures...Playmobil Large Job Lot Of Firemen And AccessoriesGeobra Vintage Playmobil Huge Lot Horses Soldiers Cowboys Indians Carriage MorePlaymobil Falcon Knights Figures Axes Castle Lot New Rare Accessories Lot LeaderVtg Playmobil Victorian Dollhouse Photographer # 5401 - Complete!Playmobil Christmas Figures 8 Bishops Toys Play Sealed Exclusive 2016 Rare Set 2Complete Playmobil Flying Swings Set #5548 With Working Lights And BoxPlaymobil Summer Fun Swimming Pool With Terrace Interactive Playset 5575Playmobil - A Whole Bunch Of Trees, Lily Pads, Plants, Ferns, EtcPlay Mobile Princess Castle PartsPlaymobil Luxury Beach House Playset 5636Huge Mixed Playmobil Lot People Zoo Animals Magic Set Accessories Playmobil City #5487 Life Beauty Salon New In Sealed Box Playmobil Knights Dragon Weapon Rack Shields Swords Cannons Torch Free ShippingLot Of Vintage Playmobil Lions People Giraffe Camels Pistol & More 1980's 1990'sPlaymobil 10 Pc Blue Coats Navy Sailor Army Soldiers GcHuge Lot Playmobil (134) Pieces - Figure, Bikes,weapons Accessories Replacement1991 Vintage Playmobil Snowplow Truck And Snowmobile #3695 & 3694 MibPlaymobil Set Figures ..w128.. L@@k !!!Lot Of 18 Playmobil Toy Train Tracks 6 Straight 12 CurvedLot Vintage Playmobil Toys Food Vegetables Coffee Accessories Carrots LettuceLot Of 2006 Playmobil Roman Colosseum Accessories 4 Flames, & Figures Vgc Lot Of 2 Vintage Playmobil Pirate Ships For Replacement Parts Or Repair ~ C.1978Playmobil Set Figures ..f023.. L@@k !!!Geobra Playmobil Huge Lot 150+ Figures/animals/accessories Dream Garden Base++++Playmobil Red Coat Lot 1 Ships Crew Revolutionary War Soldiers NavyPlaymobil Construction Steam Roller 4048Playmobil 5101 Prehistoric Mammoth Skeleton Tent With Cavemen New Sealed - 2010