VEB Plaho

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VEB Plaho = Volks Eigener Betrieb, Plastik und Holz. English approximate translation: business owned by the people, plastic and wood.

Since the early 1800s, the area round Steinach had a tradition for making toys, mainly from wood, but in the beginning of the 1900s several businesses started making models of various composition materials.

In the late 1950s, as part of the DDR socialist planned economy, it was decided to start using plastic for the production of various models. The company Herpat in Steinach became the base for VEB Plaho, consisting of businesses whose original owners had fled to the West. Businesses that were still privately owned had the letters VEB added to their names.

In 1972, almost all toy manufacturing businesses in Steinach became expropriated. Among them was Marolin, which had its name changed to VEB Marolin Plastic. In 1975, they became totally absorbed into VEB Plaho and the name Marolin was removed from the products. Marolin is of special interest, because they made small plastic copies of the Lineol composition models, which collectors now associate with "Plaho animals". They were adapted from the Lineol models by the Marolin modeller Julius Weigelt between 1967 and 1973, and remained in production during the time of VEB Plaho.

After the collapse of the DDR in 1990, the businesses were reprivatized. The last business still using the name Plaho in Steinach was Frör Plaho Toys, which stopped producing toys in 2012. Marolin was revived in 1992 and continued to produce the “Plaho animals”, albeit with a slightly different painting style. The animal models presented below show the VEB Plaho painting styles. For the later Marolin styles, see here.

Sources :

"DDR Tiere vom VEB Plaho" by Torsten Berg, 2009.



Horses Ponys Donkeys

Prehistoric life

Wild west


Marolin Company Site

Torsten Berg's VEB Plaho/Marolin web pages

VEB Plaho and GDR Companies at STS forum