[bree-oh; It. bree-aw]
BRIO is a wooden toy company founded in Sweden. Founder Ivar Bengtsson was a basket maker who started to make toys in Osby, Scania, in southern Sweden. In 1908 Ivar's three sons took over and founded BRIO, which is an acronym for Bröderna ("brothers") Ivarsson [at] Osby. Today the toys are still made of wood and designed in Osby, the village where it all began.


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 Learning Curve 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.


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