School and playground Playmobil toys. 1970s–80s
Playmobil figures, which were introduced in 1975 and are still sold all over the world, were designed by Hans Beck, a model-airplane enthusiast and toy developer. When the early-1970s oil crisis made plastic manufacture more expensive, Beck pursued the concept of small, movable figures that could be paired with various accessories. The core unit of the Playmobil system is the 2 3/4inch figure, which Beck scaled to fit in a child’s hand and enlivened with a simple face like a child’s drawing. Like Lego, Playmobil toys have explored the realms of fantasy and nostalgia, all the while maintaining the modern roots of the system: simple forms and modularity.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild