The History of TreeBlocks
My father, Karl Oppen, creator of Tree Blocks, always followed the wood. The original Tree Blocks came from a citrus orchard of a local community college that was shifting its focus from agriculture to computer science.
Karl quickly outgrew that first shop in the garage. Full production began in Mexicali in 1996. Water scarcity demanded that Mexican farmers shift from Citrus farming to less thirsty, more profitable vegetables. In 2001, we expanded into Poland as the European market grew. There, we sourced surplus Elder wood from paper production.
In 2007, Karl opened a new factory in northern Vietnam, where Tree Blocks contracted with a government owned timber company as our primary wood supplier. Sustainable forestry is the only type which is legal in Vietnam. We still offer barkless blocks from here because the bark slips easily from Spring and Summer harvested wood in the tropical climate.
In 2011, it was time for a new workshop in Southwestern Wisconsin, where two local Amish families make our blocks. The entire shop, including the kiln is now off the power grid.
Ash, maple, cherry, and walnut are among the types of wood we saw in a non-electric sawmill just up the road from the shop.
Tree Blocks uses its discarded off-cuts to make planks and our Tree Castle. The US made toys are finished with baked in, food grade wax.
Tree Blocks continues to expand domestic toy production to include our popular Tree Houses and many new designs. Tree Blocks® USA also makes small production run curriculum materials for schools and special needs classrooms.
My father Karl died in the summer of 2015. I am humbled and privileged to take the helm of our family business. As a child I played with these toys daily and I’ve helped make them my whole life. Watching my father invent and create, I have always known and felt the importance of these toys. His dedication and commitment to helping children grow, learn, and thrive has been the biggest inspiration in my life. TreeBlocks and my dad helped make me the man I am today.
Thank you for loving our blocks the way I do.
~ Lander Oppen