Rossberg KG (HEROS)
toy maker we know today as HEROS has its origins in a company started in the
picturesque forests of Bavaria in the late 1800’s by German businessman Carl
Rossberg. However, the factory
itself can trace its beginnings to a saw mill … the Rieder Mill (Riedermuhle)
… that dates back to the 14th century.
addition to other work, the Rieder Mill owners secured a Swedish license in 1866
to produce phosphorus matches. Rossberg
purchased property near the city of Lam in 1885, which included the Rieder Mill.
Rossberg’s company continued the mill’s operations and the production
by 1903, phosphorus matches were deemed to be a health hazard.
Rossberg could not secure a license to manufacture “safety” matches,
so he looked to other products to keep the mill in full operation.
He quickly recognized the growing market for children’s games and toys
… and devoted a portion of the company’s factory to these products.
1908, Rossberg assigned the milling company to his sons Carl and Hermann.
The younger Carl continued to operate the milling business, while Hermann
took over and enlarged the toy factory. By
1948, Hermann had trademarked the “HEROS” name, and had continuously
improved and expanded the toy company’s product line.
HEROS’ toy line included building blocks, games, puzzles, educational
toys and construction sets.
first began making train sets in 1968. These
early trains … like the example pictured here … had metal hook-eye couplers,
flat-disk wooden wheels and flexible, grey plastic track.
As indicated by the box art photo, most sets came with a variety of
brightly painted wooden accessories including cars and trucks, block-type
buildings, tunnels, trees and station platforms.
HEROS’ “kleinstadts” (little towns) could be arranged in an almost
endless number of ways ... providing new play experiences day after day.
catalog shown here dates from 1971-72 and comes to us directly from the Rossberg
train sets underwent a total redesign in 1983.
Changes included the replacement of the hook-eye couplers with magnetic
couplers and the replacement of the snug-fitting plastic track with wooden track
using the “peg and hole” coupler design.
Many detail changes were also made in the appearance of the engines and
railcars. (A contemporary HEROS
“auto carrier” train is pictured below.)
the Rossberg family members and their 200 employees continue the proud
toy-making traditions of the company. Wood
for the train sets (and all their toys) comes from the forests of Germany and
Austria, and 95% of the production components are still made in their Bavarian
factory. HEROS colorful trains …
like their world famous wooden building bricks and construction kits … are
sold throughout Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, Korea and Australia.
A detailed history of the company … with archival photos … can be
found at their website (www.herostoys.com).
thanks to the HEROS company staff for their generous help in providing
information for this article.)
view a HEROS Company catalog from 1971-72click here: