Where are Ostheimer toys made?
Where are Ostheimer toys made?
All Ostheimer toys are handcrafted at their workshop in Germany, using responsibly sourced wood from sustainably managed forests.
The story began back in 1939 when Walter and Adeline Ostheimer first started making wooden toys creating a company that employed up to 30 employees but was eventually shut down in 1950 as they were unable to compete with modern plastic toys.
Luckily Walter and Adeline restarted toy production in 1958 working with people with mental disabilities, and employing those with disabilities is still part of their ethos today. During the 1970’s Germany saw a revival in the popularity of wooden toys.
Both Margarete and Klaus (Walter and Adeline’s children) have been fully involved with the company and Margarete’s nephew is the current CEO, meaning this is still a family-run company that has kept the same principles it started with decades ago.
How are Ostheimer toys made?
Each toy is shaped by many hands in a multi-stage process that takes a consciously sourced tree and turns the wood into a child-centred toy designed to delight and engage young hands and minds.
Once the toys have been designed a template is made and the design transferred onto the block of wood that will become the toy. The outline shape of the toy is then cut by hand and the edges contoured and smoothed by skilled craftsmen.
This sanding and contouring give the animals and figures a unique form. They gain softness and character from this process as well as rounded edges making them nicer for small hands to hold and a smooth surface so no risk of splinters.
After the final sanding the animals and figures are ready to paint. Again this is done by hand with the features requiring a steady hand and a fine paintbrush. Ostheimer use transparent non-toxic stains that give soft colours and allow the natural grain and beauty of the wood to shine through.
Some animals, like the wild boar, are even made with a different wood with a more pronounced grain that gives a rougher texture more like the animal’s corse hair.
The minimal design is deliberate and there to encourage children to breathe their own life into the toys.
Want to see how and where Ostheimer toys are made?
If you ever happen to find yourself nearby you can visit the Ostheimer workshop and see the toys being made. Watching in real-time how a block of wood is transformed with love, care and attention to detail into a horse or fawn. You can even have a go at painting them yourselves and experience the magic with a fairy tale.
Buying Ostheimer toys
Because Ostheimer toys are all made by hand the popular lines often sell out quickly so there’s fun to be had building a collection of your favourites over time.
And because of the nature of wooden toys, their beautiful animals and wooden figures will be loved for generations. Children should always be shown a beautiful picture of the world and be given an opportunity to explore, develop and run free, both in their physical and imaginary worlds.
And when your children aren’t playing with them they make a beautiful display in your home.
Once you have started your collection you’ll want to know how to look after them so we take a look at how to care for Ostheimer toys here.