Brio Wooden Trains
|Founded||Boalt, Scania 1884|
|Products||Toys, Child safety seats, Strollers, Furniture|
BRIO is a wooden toy company founded in Sweden. The company was founded in the small town of Boalt, Scania in 1884 by basket maker Ivar Bengtsson For a long time the company was based in Osby, Scania, in southern Sweden. In 1908 Ivar's three sons took over and founded BRIO, which is an acronym for BRöderna ("the brothers") Ivarsson [at] Osby. In 2006 the company moved its operations to Malmö.
In 1984 the company started the BRIO Lekoseum, a toy museum featuring the company's products and those of other companies (such as Barbie dolls and Märklin model railways), at the headquarters in Osby. Children can play with many of the toys.
BRIO is best known for their wooden toy trains, sold in Europe since 1958. Most are non-motorized and suitable for younger children. The cars connect with magnets and are easy to manipulate; in recent years, the range has been extended with battery powered, remote control, and 'intelligent track'-driven engines. BRIO licenses Thomas the Tank Engine wooden trains in some parts of Europe, but Mattel holds the Thomas license in the United States. Many competitors, such as Whittle Shortline, make products that are compatible with BRIO. The high quality woods used and the Swedish manufacture make BRIO toys more expensive than many other brands.
BRIO also sells BRIO-Mech construction kits. Long, thin wooden slats with evenly spaced holes are connected together with various fasteners made of colorful plastic. Young children can build sturdy and elaborate constructions.
BRIO also sold Theodore Tugboat toys. Released were the tugboats, the Dispatcher, Benjamin Bridge, Chester the Container Ship, and Barrington and Bonavista barges. These toys were discontinued in 2000, a year before the show was cancelled.
During the 1960s Brio manufactured dollhouses and dollhouse furniture. Some of this furniture is highly sought after by collectors as it comprises miniature replicas of items by Danish designer Arne Jacobsen. Pieces include the 'egg' chair, the 'series 7' chair, and the 'swan' couch.
Additionally, the Alga subsidiary was one of five companies who at one time produced the physical skill game Crossbows and Catapults.
Recent company history
Plantoys of Thailand had a joint venture with Brio in 2001-2002, being present in the Brio catalogs of the time. In 2004 the Swedish Investment company Proventus became the major shareholder of Brio with more than 40% of the votes. In the same year Brio of Sweden moved most of their production to three factories in Guangdong Province, China.
The "Financial Statement January - December 2008" presented on February 17, 2009 speaks of financial problems concerning the company's liquidity. On the 11th of March 2009 the company stated "BRIO financially reconstructed – shareholders’ equity strengthened by more than SEK 300 million".
- About Brio
- "Mattel acquires HiT Entertainment"
- Note at the www.playthings.com site on the joint venture plans of Brio and Plan Toys from 2001.
- Brio profile on the Proventus website.
- "Proventus new principal shareholder in Swedish toy maker BRIO" from 6 July 2004.
- New York Times article of September 18, 2007
- English version of the report at "Business Wire"
- "Brio - press release". Cision Wire. Retrieved 2009-03-11.
- BRIO corporate homepage – links to BRIO web sites in several countries and languages
- At www.brio.net search for the "Lekoseum" to surf to the "Brio Toy Museum".
- Wooden Train Manufacturers – links to other companies that make wooden trains that work with BRIO
- A "History of Brio until 1999" at the FundingUniverse website with information on the American market entry.