1876 Once upon a time in 1876, there was a locksmith named Andreas Brandstätter. Mr. Brandstätter planted a magical seed that would eventually blossom into PLAYMOBIL® by founding an eponymous lock and metal fitting company in Fürth, Germany.
1908 His son, Georg Brandstätter, took over the company in 1908, changed its name to Metallwarenfabrik Georg Brandstätter.
1921 And in 1921 moved the headquarters to Zirndorf, Germany, where it remains to the present day. By the 1930s, the company had again been redefined, manufacturing telephones, cash registers, and various items for toy shops using sheet metal, and going through another name change, to geobra (short for Georg Brandstätter).
1954 At the beginning of the 1950s, Horst Brandstätter, the company’s current owner, came on board and started a new era in the company history. He updated products, searched out new markets and sales opportunities, and focused production on his favorite material plastic.
1958 In 1958 the hula hoop craze gripped the world, and Horst Brandstätter responded by working with plastics. The first prototype PLAYMOBIL® item was created, a closed racing car manufactured in a single production step. From that point on, the company expanded rapidly with products in the toy and leisure fields, all made of plastics.
1970 The crisis in oil and other raw materials in the early 1970s made that era a difficult time for most industry, and geobra was no exception. Horst Brandstätter directed his attention to a project he had been working on with Hans Beck, the head of geobra’s research and development department: small moveable figures with fitting accessories and a good price to value ratio. The toys were to be called PLAYMOBIL®.
1974 PLAYMOBIL® was introduced at the 1974 International Toy Fair in Nuremberg, but with the exception of a single Dutch customer, received a lukewarm greeting. Using innovative marketing strategy PLAYMOBIL® was able to move onto German retail shelves by fall. Parents and children responded uniformly with fascination and enthusiasm, and PLAYMOBIL® has been a top seller ever since.
1990 Opening of a new headquarter with exhibition centers and play zones – the beginning of the PLAYMOBIL fun park.
1998 Horst Brandstätter creates the LECHUZA self-watering planter brand. An effective self-watering system for potted plants is designed by geobra together with renowned scientific institutes. Creation of the LECHUZA product lines: RUSTICO, CLASSICO, QUADRO.
2000 First major product presentation at the Garten- und Freizeitmesse (“Garden and Leisure Fair”) in Nuremberg, Germany.
2001 Presentation at GAFA, the international professional gardening trade fair in Cologne, Germany. Dealers from all over the world see the innovative planters made of polypropylene with ceramic and metallic finishes for the first time.
2003 New to the LECHUZA range of products: CUBICO with patented planter liner. Export to 15 countries.
2005 Successful export to more than 25 countries (including USA, Australia, Japan, and throughout Europe). Sales to end consumers via garden center chains in the Netherlands and France, as well as in many owner-operated garden centers and florists, begins throughout the world. LECHUZA launches its successful collection of table planters featuring the MAXI-CUBI and MINI-CUBI.
2006 Export to 65 countries, start of direct sales in the USA. Total annual sales of 12 million euros. Investment in the Dietenhofen production site. Sale of LECHUZA-PON plant substrate, developed especially for LECHUZA planters, begins.
2007 Expansion of production with state-of-the-art injection molding machines and coating facilities. Total amount of investment in planter production at the German site in Dietenhofen: 65 million euros.
2008 The new “Trend” and “Cottage” product lines are introduced. LECHUZA successfully positions itself in the Chinese market. DELTA planter design becomes internationally renowned as a “Red Dot Design Award” winner in the category “Best of the Best”.
2009 LECHUZA offers 11 different models from the PREMIUM and TREND collections along with matching accessories.
2010 Sales continue to grow, increasing 24%. Export to 70 countries, start of direct sales in Canada. Expansion of the product range, e.g. with the balcony planter, BALCONERA Cottage, and the RONDO column planter. LECHUZA BALCONERA Cottage declared winner of the year at SAGAFLOR. BALCONERA Cottage model wins the “Red Dot Design Award.”
2011 LECHUZA committed to protecting the environment: The recycling plant in Dietenhofen plays an active role in the efficient reuse of plastic materials. New COTTAGE model: TRIO with 3 separate planter liners and an optional trellis. LECHUZA introduces innovative LED products for CUBICO. Development of TERRAPON, a new plant substrate that combines the advantages of humus and mineral components, begins. Turn-over increases to 45.6 million euros. DIAMANTE model wins the “iF product design award 2011”.
2012 Expansion of the COTTAGE assortment with wicker look to 7 models. New: hanging basket NIDO Cottage and plant bowl BACINO Cottage; CUBE Cottage gets a new design.
2013 Increased expansion into Eastern Europe and South America. June 2013: Company owner Horst Brandstätter celebrates his 80th birthday. Expansion of the German production site in Dietenhofen with the construction of a new plant and a larger high-bay warehouse.
2014 Company grows to more than 250 employees worldwide and exports to over 70 countries. The LECHUZA-PURO 50 is awarded with the “red dot design award.”
2015 The company’s sole owner Horst Brandstätter passes away on June 3rd at the age of 81 years. His company continues as a corporate foundation. The Brandstätter Group reaches a global sales volume of 616 million euros. The group of companies, apart from the largest manufacturing plant in Dietenhofen in Bavaria, includes production facilities in Selb, Malta, the Czech Republic and Spain, twelve PLAYMOBIL sales companies, as well as the production and sales of LECHUZA planters. Worldwide, the Brandstätter Group employs more than 4,100 staff in 2015.