BRIO is a 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.
Some of BRIO's better known products are:
- Their wooden toy trains, sold in Europe since 1958. These are non-electrical 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.
- Their 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.
Many competitors, such as Whittle Shortline, make track that is compatible with genuine BRIO. The high quality woods used and Swedish factory generally make BRIO toys more expensive than other brands.