|In 1957, Karl Georg Kirk Kristiansen was appointed head of the plastics division and Gerhardt Kirk Christiansen was appointed head of the wood products division of the LEGO company. The following year, founder Ole Kirk Christiansen died at age 67. Godtfred Kirk Christiansen took over as head of the LEGO company in 1958. At this time there were 4 brothers in the LEGO company: Gerhardt, Johannes, Godtfred and Karl Georg.
|Danish trademark records show that the LEGO company first registered the BILOfix name in 1959. It was in this year that the LEGO company decided to market all “non-brick” LEGO products under the BILOfix brand. Gerhardt Kirk Christiansen was the manager for this part of the production. The name is said to represent “Billions of wooden toys”. The wooden beam product for which the BILOfix name is best known, was reportedly developed by Gerhardt at this time.
|On 4 February 1960, the LEGO department for wooden toy production burned down (for the third time). After much consideration, it was decided to discontinue production of wooden toys and to concentrate solely on plastic toys. As a result, two of the brothers; Karl Georg and Gerhardt decided to leave the LEGO company and start their own separate businesses.
|Gerhardt Kirk Christiansen established the BILOfix company in Kolding, Denmark, in February 1962, where a new 3,250 square metre factory was built. At this time, 90% of the factory’s production was sold in Scandanavia, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany.
|Trade literature issued in 1967 in the UK by BILO TOYS LTD., Richard Leys, Kettering, Northants, features BILOfix products throughout, but shows the BILOfix and BILOtoy logos with equal prominance on the front cover, so we know that BILOfix was still available in the UK in 1967.
BILOtoy products were also marketed under the Revell toy brand from 1969-1972.
|Both the German “Hobby Katalog” and the French “Catalogue General” from 1970 listed 6 pages of BILOtoy products plus a further page of BILO “earlyplay” products for pre-school children. Unfortunately, Revell decided to discontinue the BILO products in 1972 because of “high price increases from the Danish manufacturer” which Revell felt “would not be acceptable to the German market”.
At some time, presumably after 1972, BILOtoy was renamed Hanse Tec. There is evidence of a BILO Tec branded product shown below, which possibly appeared during the transition period.
Small print on Hanse Tec packaging indicates that two distribution companies were associated with this final reincarnation of BILOtoy. The first being K-E Mathiasen A/S of Denmark and the other, BorneLund of Japan. Hanse Tec was fully compatible with BILOtoy and appears to have been manufactured using the original BILOtoy moulds which, close inspection reveals, were modified to remove the BILOtoy name.
The image below shows a BILOtoy 170 motor box which was re-labelled with “new name Hanse Tec”.