Playmobil inventor dies at age 79

7th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Playmobil figurines have developed over the years into a complete fantasy world with police stations, trains, boats and castles.

Zirndorf – Hans Beck, the inventor of Playmobil toys beloved by children around the world, has died at age 79.

Playmobil figurines, which are 7.5 centimeters tall -- "ideal for a child's grip" -- and have moveable arms and legs, have developed over the years into a complete fantasy world with police stations, trains, boats and castles.

Beck, who lived in Germany near Lake Constance, died on Jan. 30 after a serious illness, the Geobra Brandstaetter company said at its offices in Zirndorf near Nuremberg.

A model enthusiast who had trained as a furniture joiner, he worked for the company from 1958 to 1998, rising to head of design.

When Geobra Brandstaetter asked him to design a collectible toy, it expected him to propose a range of scale-model cars. Instead, he devised Playmobil, in which all the vehicles and buildings are scaled to accommodate the dolls. The toy line was launched in 1974.

Some 2.2 billion figurines later, the range of Playmobil is the foundation of the company's prosperity and is exported to 70 nations.

The company grew to a payroll of nearly 3,000 and had sales last year of 452 million euros (588 million dollars).

DPA/Expatica

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