Hans Beck
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FRANKFURT (AP) — Hans Beck, creator of the colorful plastic Playmobil toy figures that sold by the millions around the world, has died at age 79.

Geobra Brandstaetter GmbH & Co., which owns the Playmobil brand, said in a statement that Beck died Jan. 30 after a long illness.

A trained cabinetmaker and passionate model builder, Beck became a pattern developer for Horst Brandstaetter, the owner of Zirndorf-based company, in 1958.

In 1971, Beck created and developed the 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) tall line of figures for the company, which were dubbed Playmobil and brought to market in 1974. A year later, the simple yet visually appealing line went global.

It has since expanded to include everything from farm animals to dinosaurs, along with planes, trains, automobiles and ships. Some 2.2 billion of the toys have been sold since their debut.

"Playmobil is a toy that doesn't impose specific play patterns on children, but rather stimulates their imagination," said Beck, who retired in 1998 after becoming the company's longtime development director.

"(Beck) rendered outstanding services to the company in a special way," the company said. It noted he worked until the end of his career "with enormous craftsmanship talent and great qualification. Hans Beck and Playmobil wrote an important chapter in toy history and made millions of children happy."

Beck once said his main rule for toy designs was "no horror, no superficial violence and no short-term trends."

Originally from Germany's central state of Thuringia, Beck is survived by his wife and son.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press
Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Feb. 4, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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18 entries
February 7, 2009
Hans' invention of Playmobil has brought happiness into my life for decades. Truly an inspired creator and designer, who will be missed by millions who never knew him personally.
Martin Milner
February 5, 2009
My daughter, Karina, grew up with playmobil...I never had the opportunity...but through her eyes and your creations..I became a little girl again...thank you..my thoughts are with you.....
Susan Skerget
February 5, 2009
Your father help to make such wonderful memories for my two boys. They played with their playmobil all the time. My boys loved the fork lift and garbage truck just 2 of their favorite playmobil toys. We still have the toys and one day I am looking forward to giving them to my grandchildren. May God be with you and give you peace during this difficult time.
Terri Allard
February 5, 2009
Prayers to the Beck family.I am sure he in heaven still making them for all the souls that await for all of us to arrive someday.Peace to all
faye groen
February 5, 2009
My heart goes out to you at this time and in the days ahead.
February 5, 2009
Richard H. Herrick
February 4, 2009
February 4, 2009
I have two sons, 35 and 33 years old
who loved Playmobile!! I , to this
day, still love the memory. Thank you.
Linda Frake
February 4, 2009
Dearest Herr Beck & family,
My children played with their playmobile everyday. Now they have children of their own who play with theirs. When they come to my house they play with the ones that my children played with. They never go out of style. They are never thought of as old fashioned toys, because they look the same. GOD BLESS you for giving children years & years of pleasure. You have earned a special place in heaven.
My heart is heavy with sorrow & you will be in my prayers. GOD BLESS you all .
K. H. A Greatful Mother
February 4, 2009
To the Beck family,
May you find solace knowing that your dad made millions of kids happy. My son was four when he received his first Playmobil; he slept with the catalogue for three months, and, two years later, still occasionally puts it under his pillow! He dreams of one day being able to make Playmobil when he's grown up. Your dad is a hero to him, and millions like him. My heart goes out to you.
Shelley Boettcher
February 4, 2009
Thank you, Herr Beck, for the wondrous little gifts you have provided to two generations. I encountered Playmobil late in life, but I get as much simple pleasure from them as my two youngsters! Your spirit truly lives on in the joy that your creations will continue to bring to millions....
A True Fan
February 4, 2009
I am sorry for your loss,it is a special thing to be able to leave something special behind when we leave this world.
With 3 daughters, and three grand children I have certainly become fond of those wonderful simple toys. May you all find the Peace that only God can provide.
Ken Beck
February 4, 2009
February 4, 2009
To the Beck Family: Your father's contribution to the world and the children of the world is beyond measure. My daughter's imagination has been expanded by this man's creations. I am a thankful person for that, and sorrow with you at his passing.
February 4, 2009
I played with playmobil when I was younger, as did my brother. When I had 2 boys later on in life they received and loved playmobil. For their birthdays and Christmas. They still play and enjoy. Thank you for making such wonderful toys. God Bless you and your family.
c cairns
February 4, 2009
I'm sorry for your loss. Mr. Beck's toys were a big part of my childhood, and I hope to pass them on to my children someday. I will always cherish the memories and the stories I made with his creations.
A Pegg
February 4, 2009
In My Pocket

I have memories in my pocket.
They rattle among the change.

My memories of you are treasures I carry wherever I go.

They are stored in bits and pieces, parts of a beautiful whole
They give me comfort when I think I am alone.

Yes, I have memories in my pocket, like so much other stuff I keep there.

But of all the treasures I have, it’s the memories of you that are the most precious.

February 4, 2009
May you family find much pride in what you accomplished here. We loved your toys, this was a man that left a great legacy .....fun for children. God will bless you.
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