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The History of Ostheimer Wooden Toys

The Founders of Ostheimer

Walter Ostheimer:  * 1902 in Hamburg, † 1965 in München

Adeline Ostheimer, nèe Mumm:  * 1900 in Göppingen, † 1994 in Zell unter Aichelberg

Historical Scheme

1926   Walter and Adeline meet at the Waldorfschul-Spielzeug Company where both are working.

1930   July 14, their daughter Margarete is born

1939   Ostheimers start producing their first own toys in Stuttgart, after Waldorfschul-Spielzeug has been shut down by the Nazis.

1940   Their son Klaus is born. Today, Klaus Ostheimer is head of the Walter and Adeline Ostheimer Foundation.

1943   The family and their toy production move to Unterwössen in Upper Bavaria.A first toy company is founded under the name Klaus Spielzeug (Klaus Toys). Up to 30 employees work at that company. 

1950  The company has to shut down. Wooden toys are unable to compete with the new plastic toys from the US that to Germans at that time represent the new, postwar era. In the 50s the Ostheimer family finds itself in a financially desperate situation.

1958  Walter and Adeline Ostheimer restart their toy production working with mentally handicapped people in the shelterd workshops of Hohenfried. Jumping jacks and movable wooden scenes are made out of plywood.

1959  Their oldest daughter Margarete, who had been working as Waldorf School teacher in Stuttgart, joins her parents supporting their work. By founding "Kunst und Spiel" in Munich, a store that trades exclusively high quality products for children, Michael Peter is encouraging several manufacturers in the field of pedagogical wooden toys to take up their production again. He feels that children urgently need good, beautiful things for their healthy development. This allows Ostheimers to produce a wider collection of toys. Margarete and her father design and craft the first wooden figures in what is today known as the typical, distinctive Ostheimer style.

1964  Ostheimers move to Munich to find better medical care for Walter Ostheimer who has become seriously ill.

1965  Walter Ostheimer dies from leukemia at the age of 63.

1967  Margarete and Adeline Ostheimer transfer their tiny family business to Zell unter Aichelberg, building up their toy manufactory within their appartment and a garage.

Adeline Ostheimer and her granddaughter

During the 70s  Germany experiences the "green wave", a new ecological consciousness in all fields of society. Wooden toys are in vogue now, and Ostheimer employs the first few home workers and employees.

1982  The growing company moves to Daimlerstraße in Zell u. A., where a building has been constructed housing workshops, stock and shipping departmernt.

1990  A second building has to be built.

1992  A seperate building for the stock and shipping department as well as the administation is set up.

1996  Wolfgang Schühle is appointed as CEO supporting Margarete Ostheimer in the management of Ostheimer Wooden Toys. Margarete Ostheimer's nephew, Stephan Zech becomes the chief designer of the company.

1998  Stephan Zech is appointed as third CEO.

2000  The workshop building is expanded and a store is added to the building.
2001  The Walter and Adeline Ostheimer Foundation is founded and the family business isbeing transferred to it. Margarete Ostheimer retires as CEO from the company, staying active and connected with the company as board member of the Ostheimer Foundation.

2003  The Kinderkram Toy Factory is taken over by Ostheimer and the license to the produce and trade the Konrad Keller collection is acquired.

2009  The two companies, Ostheimer and Kinderkram, are merged and united in the Margarete Ostheimer GmbH. The same year Ostheimer is awarded and certified as company with exceptional work safety by the Mutual Indemnity Association, being the first wooden toy company in Germany to receive such an award and the first company working with wood in the County of Göppingen.

2011  The Konrad Keller GmbH is officially taken over by Ostheimer.

2015  Sibylle Engstrom is appointed to the management. Stephan Zech leaves the management team, but continues to work as chief designer.

2018  on November 24th Margarete Ostheimer dies at the age of 88. Up to this point she was part of the Ostheimer community which she referred to as "her family".

2019  After almost 35 years in the company, Wolfgang Schühle retires on December 31. and leaves the company. Sibylle Engstrom is now the sole managing director.


The Ostheimer logo in the course of history