Foto NietoFrancisco Nieto (1921-2002) and Juan Nieto (1924) disappeared from Badalona in 1939 and appeared working as magicians for a circus in South America. Francisco was known by the nickname of Zongo and Juan as Gargot. When they returned to Badalona, they devoted themselves to creating and building stage sets, gadgets, magic tricks and other inventions. In 1954 Juan Nieto designed a device to show tales in relief, which was sold all around Spain and even in Cuba. In 1959 they set up a plastic toy factory and proposed Bruguera, a publishing house, to make toy models of the famous characters from those years’ comic strips: Captain Trueno, The Brave, The Iron Corsair, and many more. This unusual idea turned them into pioneers in the commercial promotion of famous fiction characters. In 1962 they took part in what would become the model for monographic fairs in Spain: the first edition of the Valencia Toy Fair.

That same year they proposed Arthur Kaps to make reproductions of Herta Frankel’s famous string puppets, by then leading figures in children’s TV. There followed an apparent boom in the industrial reproduction of puppets and toys of the most varied materials and shapes. With the ephemeral materials used in the manufacture of dolls, short-lived characters were continuously produced to cover television shows. Patents and trademarks, registrations of industrial models, commercial developments, licences and royalties succeeded one another. In 1963, Juan Nieto left the business and Arthur Kaps and Francisco Nieto, without any artistic nor financial success, postponed for years the decline of the Estereoplast Company.