Bruder Farm Toys – Growing Competition with Ertl Big Farm
Many of us growing up here in the United States got holes in the knees of our pants because of Ertl tractor toys. Over the pond in Europe the same thing was happening there, just not with Ertl tractor toys, but with Bruder farm toys.
Bruder is a German based toy company with a long history of making high quality plastic toys. Their toys are very strong and complex, a testament to German engineering in toy form. Bruder specializes in high detail, 1/16th scale models made in the image of Caterpillar, New Holland, John Deere, Claas, Case IH, and many more.
The German company had humble roots, and has grown into one of the largest manufactures of 1/16th scale toys. We are going to take a look at this company and what a better place to start, then at the beginning.
1926 in Germany, Paul Bruder was jobless, but he was a skilled craftsman and used a hand press to make handcrafted brass reeds. He sold these reeds to makers of toy trumpets. He was very successful and prided himself in the quality of his reeds. Then 1939 came around. World War two started and as a result, production stopped.
1945 the war ended and three years later, Paul Bruder started production again. A few years later Paul’s son, Heinz Bruder joins his father’s company as a tool maker. Heinz was very skilled and in 1954 he passed his master craftsman exam as a tool maker. He started forming his own ideas on new manufacturing techniques.
Plastic Production Begins
1958 the structure of the company changes from brass reeds to plastic products. They purchase a small, second hand manual injection molding machine. This move also forces them out of their small 64 square foot shop and into a larger building. Heinz Bruder also comes up with plastic casings and away from old cardboard casings to create their toys.
The biggest advantage of this change is that they can produce plastic casing automatically, saving time and money over cardboard. This innovation created by Heinz earns the company first industrial property rights on their products.
They started making small plastic toys, mostly little sound makers, such as a little trumpet and whistles in the shapes of a duck, boat, and roster. They sold the toys to candy companies who would put them in their lucky bags and then sell it to children. Bruder did this for many years, before directly selling to the public.
Growing Bigger and Better
In 1960 construction begins on a plant building for mold construction. Then in 1965, Heinz Bruder takes over his parents company. Only one year later, Heinz opens another production building. The company has now expanded to three building, with two of them being for production, to keep up with the demand.
Bruder started to make more toys and instead of only selling to candy companies, they started to go out on their own. In 1975, they made their first product presentation at the Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany. By doing this, it puts them on the map as a toy company.
1979 they use their registered trademark “BRUDER” and is continuously creating new products and is now making toy vehicles, including tractor toys. Also, during this year the company expands again and adds on to one of their production buildings.
During the year 1981, the whole company moves into one large building, and their exports have jumped to 25 percent and over 30 countries. They produce a new line of toys, called BRUDER-Mini, which are small toy cars and trucks. This line does very well and helped propel them through the eighties.
Also, Paul Heinz Bruder, son of Heinz Bruder, joins the company as product development and production manager.
1990’s and Present Day – Ertl has Competition
The creation of the wonderful, high detail and quality start in the mid nineties. They started creating 1/16th scale model tractor toys and other equipment in what they call the “TOP professional series”. They also started making the “ROADMAX” series, which are for children around 2 years old.
In 1999, the company opens up a sales office in Gardena, California. This office is run by Beate Caso, the daughter of Heinz Bruder.
In 2001 Bruder is now exporting over 50 percent of their products, much of that is coming into the United States. Bruder is starting to put pressure on Ertl with their cost effective and yet high quality tractor toys. Bruder continues to grow and a few years later, they open up a new office and shipping building in Hawthorne, California.
2011 they launch a new product line called “bworld”. This line contains buildings, animals and action figures. These toys are highly detailed and are fully functional. The best part is that everything is based on 1/16th scale and the figures are compatible with all 1/16th scale toys.
To this day, Bruder is still going strong, continuing on a long legacy of quality toys. They are getting more and more popular here in the U.S. and I only see them going up.
Bruder Farm Toys – Here To Stay
There is no doubt that Bruder farm toys are solid competition to Ertl Big Farm. Personally I think Bruder has Big Farm beat with the level of functionality and with the “bworld” toys that go along with all 1/16th scale toys. One thing I am thankful for is that Big Farm and Bruder implements are compatible with each other. That means you can hook up a Bruder to a Big Farm and visa versa.
If you want to know more about Big Farm and Bruder, check out my other article, titled “Ertl Big Farm Toys and Bruder Farm Toys”, right here on this site.
Thank you for reading,