BRIO Harbour Set From my earliest days as a wood train collector, I realized there was not a great deal of readily available historical information about these great toys. So I became a self-professed researcher, as well as collector. Not only did I want to determine which trains to look for, I also wanted to gather information that was historically accurate. As a result, I have been searching for catalogs, ads, articles and other ephemera as diligently as I search for the trains. While owning a catalog is not nearly as much fun as owning a vintage train, knowledge is its own reward, as they say. Luckily, one of the first catalogs I found was a BRIO dealer’s catalog from 1964. I took a great deal of time “digesting” all the information it contained. Top on my list of “must-have” toys from this catalog was a train included with the 31405/40 Harbour Set. This particular train is unusual because of its natural wood finish. Only the wheels and smokestack were painted. In the opening pages of catalog, BRIO states that “children love clear, clean colours” and “children have a love of contrasts”. All of which makes one curious why BRIO chose to use so little paint on one of their largest sets. So I made a mental note in capital letters … “FIND THIS TRAIN”. However, after 7 years of futile searching, the mental note had become covered in cobwebs. I never saw one … never saw photos of one … never saw any identifiable individual components of one. But recently I was not only able to find photos of this set … I was able to add the set to my collection. (Proof that patience IS a virtue in collecting!) As you can see, the train is quite elegant and attractive in its “natural” finish.
About Brio Train Sets Brio is a Swiss company that makes wooden toys for children. It is particularly well known for its train sets. The toys are strong and very difficult to damage, so they last a long time. Brio toys are often good to hand down to new generations, so they are a good investment when buying toys for small children. Brio creates products that are safe for children to use. Everything from the wood to the paint is governed by European standards of safety. The company prides itself on products that are high quality and that they comply with laws, any rules and other product standards applicable to the market. It also ensures that the factories where the toys are made employ socially-responsible conditions. ?Socially-responsible? refers to the toy industry?s code of conduct, up to which Brio has signed. The code of conduct is a set of rules that relate to the ethical treatment of workers and their working conditions, amongst other things. The company ensures that its suppliers comply with all agreements to which Brio itself is committed. One of the ideas behind Brio?s wooden toys and train sets is to encourage learning and education for children, including the fostering of imagination. The train sets are particularly good for this as they allow children to create whole scenarios using toys with moving parts. Children (or parents) can also add individual elements to the sets bringing variety to each one. Brio claims that it tests its toys in excess of the standards required by law. This means that they conduct load tests using larger pressures, and drop tests from bigger heights than of what are required by test institutes across the world.
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