Sidebar: Nürnberg, Center of the World

Due to its strategic location along key trade routes, Nürnberg, Germany, has held the world's attention since the Middle Ages. After centuries of significant growth and development as a key center for trade and commerce, the city became the cradle of the German Renaissance.

Nürnberg was home to printers and publishers; in 1470, Anton Koberger opened Europe's first print shop there, and in 1493 he published the Nürnberg Chronicle, an illustrated history of the world from the creation to the present at that time. Owing to a combination of natural resources and skilled craftsmen, Nürnberg was also home to the world's finest metallurgists and engineers, who made the world's finest timepieces, among many other examples of advanced (for the day) technology.

Thus Nürnberg was for centuries the economic and cultural center of the globe, a crucible of knowledge, innovation, technology and aristocracy. It's no surprise, then, that the birth and development of mechanical toys took place in Nürnberg; many renowned toy manufacturers were founded there, and it's home to the Nürnberg International Toy Fair (Spielwarenmesse), the largest trade fair for toys and games since 1949, as well as a world-famous toy museum.

Among the companies named in this website, Arnold, Bing, Fleischmann, Herpa, Trix and Wiking were all founded in Nürnberg; overall, three out of five manufacturers are German. Of particular note, Bing developed the "Nürnberg Style" of toy manufacturing.

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