Since our posting about Playsam has generated so much interest, we’ve started feeling guilty about not mentioning the other Swedish toymaker, Brio. To set things straight we took a trip down memory lane to remind ourselves of the Brio range.
All Scandinavian children grow up with Brio toys. Starting with Pull-alongs, moving on to educational toys and ending up with the wooden railway set. Although, crafty parents have realized that Brio’s trains and wagons fit on to the much cheaper Ikea railway tracks……but we didn’t tell you that.
It’s almost impossible to pick our favorite toys from the Brio range. We love them all and so many of them have become design classics. Here are just a few of their better known pieces, most of which bring back many happy memories:
Let's end with some history. Brio was founded back in 1884 by farm wagon operator and wood chip basket maker, Ivar Bengtsson. The company was started in the small town of Osby, Sweden and is still based there today. Interestingly the name, like many Scandinavian company names, is derived from shortening a much longer title. When Ivar transferred ownership of the original company to his three sons, it was renamed Bröderna Ivarsson Osby (The Brothers Ivarrson of Osby) and thus Brio. Today, Brio is a global corporation and claims to be the biggest manufacturer of wooden toys in the world. In addition to classic wooden toys, their range has expanded to include strollers, children’s furniture and the recently launched Networkers series (more about the latter in a later post).