Three inches high

Horst Brandstätter, the founder of Playmobil, dies at 81.

“Although a billionaire by the end of his life, he was a world champion in economizing, the younger Mr. Brandstätter (son Conny) said, citing as an example his father’s insistence on using cheap packs of cards for his favorite card game.

Mindful of his cash flow as the world oil crisis drove up the cost of plastics in the 1970s, Mr. Brandstätter summoned his chief designer and asked him to come up with toys that would use less plastic.

Mr. Beck came up with Playmobil, whose miniature models and environments are said to have been inspired by children’s drawings and the figurines of traditional Christmas crèches. At about 3 inches high, the figures have round faces, movable arms and legs, and hands that can grasp a pirate’s sword, a carpenter’s saw or a firefighter’s hose.”

Source: New York Times, June 11, 2015. By Alison Smale