Europa 2015 - Old Toys SI

Europa 2015 - Old Toys

For over one hundred years, children have been playing with the legendary Matador construction sets, and Austrian Post is dedicating a commemorative to this classic Austrian toy in the form of the EUROPA stamp, whose topic – this year “Old toys” – is specified by the association of European public postal operators, PostEurop.

In 1899, the Viennese railway engineer Johann Korbuly gave his children a wooden construction set for Christmas. Since the buildings that it was used to make fell over very easily, he had the idea of drilling holes into the wooden blocks and connecting them with wooden rods. The system worked and was patented. However, Korbuly couldn’t find a buyer for his patent, and so he began to produce the sets himself in a small workshop in Vienna’s 4th district. The first Matador series was put on sale in 1903. But it was only after years of losses that the business finally began to make a profit and in 1915 the first factory was opened in the Lower Austrian town of Pfaff- stätten. Ultimately, the creative wooden construction kits were also sold in neigh- bouring countries, Germany, Italy and Switzerland, and business boomed. At the end of the Second World War, the factory was destroyed in a fire but was quickly rebuilt and production was continued.

In the 1970s, sales stagnated as toys made of metal and above all plastic became increasingly popular. In 1978, the company was sold to the newspaper publisher Kurt Falk, who, after generally unsuccessful attempts at innovation, was forced to close down the business in 1987. In 1996 he sold the Matador trademark rights, and later the production machines as well, to Michael Tobias. This led to production starting up again.

Today, Matador manufactures construction kits according to a highly successful system. Basic kits can be upgraded with various supplementary sets, and spare parts and accessories such as wheels, axles, additional tools and much more can also be acquired separately. For each set, there are detailed designs and instructions. This modular system and the fact that all the components can be combined gives free rein to children’s imagination, and they can make all sorts of vehicles, buildings and other structures. There are sets for children from 18 months and older, and from three years old, as well as the classic basic kit for children aged five and above.

The wooden elements are made in Austria using high-quality Austrian hardwood and high precision equipment, and are free of substances that are harmful to the environ- ment or health. Applying the principle of learning through play, the modular system encourages children’s natural curiosity and creativity and promotes fine motor skills. And, not least, it is also great fun to build something yourself! 

Technical Details

Issue Date: 07.05.2015
Designer: Gustav Assem
Printer: Österreichische Staatsdruckerei GmbH
Process: Offset
Colours: 4 Colours
Size: 50 x 31.8mm
Values: €0.80