The Swedish company BRIO is the world's largest manufacturer of wooden toys, exporting to more than 30 countries with key markets in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Ivar Bengtsson, the company's founder, first established a factory for the production of woven baskets in Osby, Sweden, in 1884. In 1908 the business was transferred to his sons, the name BRIO deriving from the words Brothers Ivarsson at Osby (a comparable derivate to that of Ingmar Kamprad at IKEA, also in Sweden). One of BRIO's most widely known early wooden toys was the Goinge wooden horse (1907 to 1960), the best‐selling toy in Sweden in the first half of the 20th century. By the time of the outbreak of the First World War the company was offering for sale more than 6,000 items, available through mail order and travelling salesmen, including baskets, toys, glass, and ceramic products. In 1930 the first products manufactured explicitly under the BRIO name were two red lacquered wooden cars. The first mass‐produced BRIO wooden toy was the wooden dog Sampo, designed by Walter Wars of Switzerland in 1945. BRIO wooden train and railway sets were also introduced in this period, the standing of such toys being considerably enhanced by their purchase by the Swedish royal family. Significant company expansion was undertaken in succeeding decades with the establishment of subsidiaries in Denmark and Norway in 1964, Finland in 1970, Germany and Britain in 1974, and the United States in 1977. This was followed by a number of takeovers including those of Alga, Sweden's leading games company in 1982, Galtex in Poland in 1997, and Ambi toys in Holland in 2000. BRIO wooden toys are manufactured from beech and birch and, with a reputation for safety and durability, are widely acknowledged as toys that stimulate children's imaginations.
Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.