If you are a fan of scaled toys and trucks, I'm sure you're familiar with Bruder. They make some of the world’s best 1:16 scale toys, and their toys are well collected and sought after worldwide. However, many do not know about the company or the person that started it all. Who invented Bruder Toys?
Bruder Toys was founded by Paul Bruder in 1926 in Fürth, Germany. Bruder focused on making brass reeds for toy trumpets before his son Heinz Bruder joined in 1950 and started producing plastic toy trucks and vehicles. The grandson Paul Heinz Bruder joined in 1987, beginning a worldwide expansion and bringing this beloved brand international.
This article discusses the founder of Bruder Toys before discussing the subsequent generation of Bruders that took over and brought the company to newer heights.
We have also recently discussed how Bruder toys were made, so click the link below if you are keen to check that out.
READ MORE: How Bruder Toys Are Made
Who Invented Bruder Toys?
Bruder Toys was founded by Paul Bruder in Würth, Germany, in 1926. Bruder was unemployed then and started the company to create a job for himself. The company started by making brass reeds for toy trumpets before expanding into plastic models and going international in 1987.
Bruder launched Bruder Toys as a one-person show in 1926. He used a manual press to produce brass reeds, which he then used to supply toy trumpet manufacturers.
The company and Bruder himself survived the war and re-established the company in 1948. However, he needed more hands on deck. His son, Heinz Bruder, joined the company after completing his industrial training as a toolmaker.
In 1954, Paul capitalized on the growth of a new material, plastics. Plastics are generally easier and take less heat to melt, mold and shape when compared to metal. This meant lower operational costs for the company and allowed the Bruder to move from producing parts to entire toys.
Hence, Paul brought in mold injection machines to start producing smaller plastic toys. Bear in mind that plastics are a relatively new invention at this time, and many are still unsure of their ability and performance. This may have taken Paul some conviction, but he took the gamble. This decision ensures we get to enjoy beautiful and well-made Bruder plastic toys today.
Aside from turning Bruder into a plastic toys manufacturer, Paul, with the help of his son, also implemented major changes in the company structure. This is because Bruder has grown and is no longer a mom-and-pop shop.
During Paul’s and Heinz’s stewardship, Bruder moved to a larger production facility at the Würzburger Strasse (street) in Fürth in 1960.
All these happened while Paul and the son Heinz were running the company, showing how the father and son duo pushed the company to newer heights. Paul officially retired in 1965, with Heinz taking over the company in full that same year.
Who Took Over Bruder Toys After Paul Bruder?
Paul officially retired in 1965, with his son Heinz taking over. Under Heinz, Bruder developed into a proper toymaker, utilizing injection molded plastics. Bruder also exhibited in a toy fair for the first time and launched its Roadmax and Professional series that is well loved to this day.
Heinz Bruder joined Bruder Toys in 1950 and helped his father to transform the company from a metal toy parts maker into a small plastic toy maker. Heinz initially worked alongside his father but took complete control of the company in 1965.
Under Heinz, he focused on turning Bruder into producing proper toys, not just small ones. That means developing product lines and toy models and getting them into the market. It was a staggering amount of work.
The company exhibited at the Nuremberg Toy Fair for the first time in 1975. It soon began to gain international recognition. By 1978, Bruder was making plastic toys that may be familiar to you today - bulldozers, ambulances, helicopters, tractors, and even race cars.
Bruder also established an additional storage facility in Bernbacher Strasse, about 1.2 miles (2KM) from the main plant in Würzburger Strasse. The company further expanded its production structure by building a more extensive production and office building in 1981 in Bernbacher Strasse.
Heinz Bruder also roped in his son Paul Heinz to join the company in 1987. At first, Paul Heinz helped with product development and production. Eventually, he took Bruder on a path of aggressive internationalization and spectacular growth.
Who Brought Bruder Toys To America?
It was Paul Heinz Bruder, the grandson of Bruder’s founder Paul Bruder that brought Bruder Toys to America. He took over the company in 1998 from his father Heinz and has turned the company into an international brand.
After completing his mechanical engineering training, Paul Heinz Bruder joined the company in 1987. Initially, he spent time improving product development and production before learning more about the business.
He became a managing director in 1992. At this point, Bruder is a well-known German toymaker, with 105 staff members and dozens of injection mold machines to make their toys.
Paul Heinz was instrumental in helping the company launch its popular ROADMAX and Professional line of toys, with a new level of realism and similarity to the original model. For example, the line of toys would feature a scaled model of bulldozers so similar to the original that they even have the same tire treads.
Under Paul Heinz, Bruder toys also embarked on international expansion. Bruder Toys set up its US operations in Gardena, California, in 1999, before relocating to Hawthorne in 2006. Bruder’s American operation is entrusted to Beate Caso, daughter of Heinz and Elfriede Bruder.
Bruder then released their famous bworld (Bruderworld) toy system in 2011. Bruder Toys continues to grow, and their bWorld and Professional series toys are still well appreciated by toy and figure enthusiasts worldwide.
By 2011, Bruder was exporting over 50% of their toy models. By 2014, 70% of Bruder’s toys were exported to over 60 countries worldwide, generating over €75 million in sales.
Bruder has remained committed to not outsourcing its manufacturing to Asia, despite possible lower costs. Today, Bruder Toys remains one of the few toy companies that still manufacture and source entirely in Europe.