1929 – 2009
Who was Hans Beck?
Born in Greiz, Thuringia, Beck grew up in the town of Zirndorf, beginning his toy making career as a creator of little vehicles and figures for his younger siblings. Beck received training as a cabinetmaker but worked simultaneously on model airplanes, a product he pitched to the company Geobra Brandstätter. The owner of the company, Horst Brandstätter, asked him to develop toy figures for children, instead.
One of his hobbies was aeromodelling in its most lightweight category — indoor models. These ultralight flying models, with wing spans of 900 mm in the early 1960s, were covered with microfilm and built from extra tiny balsa wood beams. Powered by a tiny rubber band turned to over 1,700 turns, they could fly for over 40 minutes in large halls or airship hangars. The whole aeroplane weighed only 1.2 grams. Beck was a champion in this category and won the 1966 World Champion title in Debrecen, Hungary.