Hans Beck, “father” of the PLAYMOBIL-figure, dies at 79
The 35th birthday of the worldwide known PLAYMOBIL-figures and play system has been clouded by the sudden death of its creator, Hans Beck. Mr. Beck has joined the company, geobra Brandstätter, in Zirndorf Nuremberg in 1958. It was then when Mr. Horst Brandstätter, owner of the company, chose the cabinetmaker from several applicants and it proved to be a lucky choice for the future of the company. For years Mr. Beck enriched the company’s assortment of kids’ toys, furniture and sports accessories made of plastics with innovative concepts as chief developer.
But he gave his masterpiece 13 years later, when he designed the first PLAYMOBIL-figures. Due to the oil crisis plastics had become very expensive at the beginning of the seventies, so Horst Brandstätter told his chief developer Hans Beck to work on a play system for kids. Whereas he was rather thinking of a set of vehicles, Hans Beck concentrated on working on a figure in the centre of the new play world, then called PLAYMOBIL. In 1974 the first three characters were presented to the buyers: a Construction Worker, an Indian and a knight. Meanwhile 2.2 billion figures have entered children’s rooms worldwide and taken kids into numerous adventures through creative role play. And the company has achieved a worldwide PLAYMOBIL turnover of 452 million Euros in 2008.
Mr Beck’s creativity, his outstanding talent to observe kids and to put himself into their perspective and his never ending ideas have laid the basis not only for a unique play system called PLAYMOBIL, but for the success of the Brandstätter Group and above all for the wonderful play memories of kids’ generations since 1974. Mr Beck retired in 1998 and then lived near Lake Constance in the Southern part of Germany, where he now sadly passed away after a longer illness only a few months before his 80th birthday. He is survived by his wife and a son. Mr. Hans Beck will live forever in his figures and millions of adults and kids will remain grateful for his masterpiece: the PLAYMOBIL-figure.