It was a risk to start a company in an empty factory building on April 26, 1938, in uncertain times and with limited capital resources. But Anton Engel and Eugen Habermaaß were willing to take this risk. They founded the Anton Engel company, a factory for polished wooden products in Bad Rodach, then went on to establish a second company a few days later with Karl Wehrfritz: Wehrfritz & Co. In 1940, Eugen Habermaaß assumed sole responsibility for both companies after his equal partners pulled out; but with vision, a strong will, and perseverance, he saw the companies safely though the Second World War and the subsequent occupation, paving a strong foundation for the toy success that we all know and love today as HABA.
Safety and Quality
A core belief of HABA is that a toy is only as good as the material used to make it. It's why they pay extra special attention to the quality of the materials used; and perform stringent quality-assurance checks at both their internal facilities as well as at their suppliers’ plants on a very regular basis. All its products comply with European (EN71) and US (ASTM) regulations for toy safety; and any material used is always first carefully inspected before they are approved for production. After, the TÜV Rheinland AG, an independent testing institute, steps in to conduct regular checks.
HABA's wooden toys are also subjected to internal quality-assurance testing as well as external testing. In particular, mechanical safety tests are conducted, which include shock and drop tests, perspiration and saliva tests and soak tests to determine the level of resistance of all individual parts, as well as a final tensile test. Only solvent-free paints or water-based stains are used for colouring.
Fabrics are sourced only from manufacturers certified under the code of the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI); and regularly tested for hazardous substances such as (but not limited to) AZO compounds (synthetic dyes) 76/769/EG and change 19 of directive 2002/61.
When plastic or synthetic rubber is used, HABA's stringent tests go far beyond the legal requirements in ensuring that plasticizers such as BPA, phthalates, paraben (amongst many others) are not present.
Learning Through Play
HABA prides itself on the fact that children love playing with their toys while remaining blissfully unaware of how it fosters their own development in the process. A true 'Inventor of Inquisitive Minds', all HABA toys encourage discovery and exploration in one way or another, be it through touching, seeing, hearing, smelling, or tasting. Many of its board and card games even tackle critical executive functions that cannot be taught in academic classrooms, such as risk-taking, impulse control, emotional empathy, cooperation, problem solving, and strategic thinking.
Minimum Environmental Impact
'We assume responsibility for our environment'.
This is one of the leading principles of HABA's corporate philosophies; and for them, this means minimizing the ecological impact within the bounds of the financially defensible. As such, the company constantly upgrades its production processes; ascertaining, evaluating and minimizing the use of raw materials, emissions and waste volumes on an ongoing basis. In fact, HABA was the first toy maker in Germany to pass the ecological audit, and has even been granted the DIN ISO 14001 certification for environmental management since. Recycling of wood residues, short transportation routes, the utilization of rain water and solar energy, green roofs, implementation of ecological standards in new construction projects; are just some initiatives in their long list of eco measures to reduce their carbon footprint on Earth.
The PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) label, which all of HABA's wooden products have carried since 2010, is a true testament to the company's commitment to the environment. This means that all wood used in their production comes from sustainable forestry, preserving not just the ecological balance of our planet’s forests; but also the socio-cultural balance of the communities who depend on these forests for daily living.
For more information on PEFC, click here.