HISTORY

 

 
 

Timeline of Toy Companies

up to 1899
1836 Galt founded, as educational suppliers, by James Galt
1860 James Galt dies, and the business is passed to eldest son, Robert Galt
1884 Brio founded in Sweden by Ivar Bengtsson.
1885 Binney and Smith founded by Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith
1890 Moritz Kohner's sons Emil and Max joined the business and it then became known as M. Kohner & Sons.
1894 John Hubley incorporated The Hubley Manufacturing Company in Lancaster, PA
 
1900-1959
1901 Frank Hornby sells Mechanics Made Easy sets (later to become Meccano)
1902 Binney & Smith incorporates September 30, in Easton, Pennsylvania
1903 Binney & Smith produces the first box of eight Crayola crayons containing red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, brown, and black sticks.
1908 Meccano was started when Frank Hornby bought out his partner
Ivar Bengtsson's 3 sons took over Brio
Robert Galt dies and Galt is passed to the Haylings family
1909 A.C. Gilbert and partner, mechanic John Petrie, started a brand of games and toys based on magic, called "Mysto Magic."
1911 The Erector set was conceived by Alfred Carlton Gilbert
1913 The Erector Set first sold in 1913 andwas introduced as the "Mysto Erector Structural Steel Builder".
Tinkertoy construction sets were invented by Charles Pajeau, a stonemason from Evanston, Illinois. Partnering with Robert Petit, he established the Toy Tinkers Company
1916 Mysto was renamed as the A.C. Gilbert Company, but the Mysto Magic name remained attached to magic sets sold by the company.
Toy Manufacturers Association (TMA) founded
John Lloyd Wright, the son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright invents Lincoln Logs
1921 Nicknamed the "Toy King of America" and the "Henry Ford of the Toy Industry," Louis Marx established the Louis Marx Toy Company.
Buddy L was founded by Fred Lundahl
1922 Pressman Toys founded by Jack Pressman
1923 Hasbro was founded by brothers Henry and Helal Hassenfeld. They started out in a small office in Providence, Rhode Island. Originally named Hassenfeld Brothers, they sold textile remnants but soon moved into manufacturing pencil boxes and school supplies.
Isidor Rosen founded Rosebud Art Company in the Bronx, New York
1926 Bruder Toys founded
1928 Playskool was founded in Milwaukee
1929 A.C. Gilbert bought out Meccano's factory in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Gilbert now manufactured both The New American Meccano (Gilbert-Meccano sets) and the Erector line.
1930 Fisher-Price founded by Herman Fisher, Irving Price and Helen Schelle
1932 Ole Kirk Christiansen started what was to become the Lego toy company in Billund, a small town in Denmark
Coleco founded in by Maurice Greenberg as "Connecticut Leather Company"
1934 The Lego name was adopted
1936 Frank Hornby died
1937 The A.C. Gilbert company acquired the American Flyer Train Company
1939 View Master is introduced
1941 Marvin Glass founded the first, and what was to become the largest studio for toy design in the world - Marvin Glass & Associates
A.C. Gilbert Company, located in New Haven, CT, was the largest toy manufacturer in the world.
1943 Slinky was invented by Richard James
1945 Revell founded
Monogram founded
James Industries was founded with the Slinky spring toy
Ruth and Elliot Handler and Harold "Matt" Matson launch Mattel out of a garage workshop in southern CA.
1946 Kohner Bros. (Frank and Paul) begin making wooden toys
1947 Kenner Products is formed in Cincinnati, Ohio, by the Steiner brothers, Albert, Philip and Joseph. The company is named after its original office location on Kenner Street.
The Mound Metalcraft company launched the world's first Tonka trucks outside of Minnetonka, Minnesota.
1948 Mattel is incorporated with headquarters in Hawethorne, CA.
Herb Schaper, a letter carrier for the U.S. Post Office, whittled the first COOTIE out of wood.
25-year old Charles Lazarus, founder of Toys R US,  started a baby furniture store in Washington DC.  After months of listening to customers, he started selling toys.
Wham-O founded by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin
Ivar Bengtsson, founder of Brio, dies
Late 40s Remco Industries, Harrison, N.J. The company was founded in the late 1940s but is best known for toys that date from the 1960s.
1950 Bandai founded
Marx was the world's largest toy manufacturer.
1951 Harry and Patricia Kislevitz create Colorforms
1952 Matchbox is released
Blue Box founded by Peter Chan Pui
1954 Lewis Galoob founded by Barbara Frankel and Lewis Galoob as an import business
Mego founded by D. David Abrams and his wife, Madeline.
1956 A.C. Gilbert retires
1958 Ole Kirk Christiansen dies
Estes Industries was founded in Denver, Colorado by Vern Estes
1959 Mattel releases the Barbie doll
Fisher-Price creates Little People
 
1960s
1960 Mattel becomes a publicly owned company
Estes® begins selling model rockets by mail
1961 Mattel releases the Ken doll
Binney & Smith becomes a publicly held company.
Estes moves to a 77-acre tract of land on the outskirts of Penrose, Colorado
Galt, educational suppliers, enters the toy retail trade as Galt Toys
1962 A.C. Gilbert dies
1963 Russ Berrie begins designing his own toys using market knowledge he gained as a toy sale rep.
1964 Lines Brothers take over Meccano
1965 General Mills purchases Cincinnati-based Rainbow Crafts, the Play- Doh manufacturer.
1966 A. C. Gilbert's Erector Company went out of business.
Hubley was purchased by Gabriel Industries in but kept the Hubley name until the following year
Sam Chan founds Playmates as O.E.M. doll company
CBS enters toy field - Creative Playthings, Inc. acquired.
COX® joined the Estes family of products
1967 Gabriel Industries of Lancaster acquires A.C. Gilbert's Erector Company. Gabriel established the Gilbert Division, later known as Gilbert Industries, to manufacture Erector sets.
General Mills purchases Kenner Products.
1968 Mattel releases Hot Wheels diecast vehicles
Mattel purchases Monogram Models
General Mills purchases Parker Brothers.
Hassenfeld Brothers changed its name to Hasbro Industries and became a publicly traded company with a listing on the American Stock Exchange.
1969 Binney & Smith opens an additional plant in Easton, Pennsylvania
Herman Fisher retires as President of Fisher-Price
Fisher-Price acquired by The Quaker Oats Company
General Foods acquires Kohner Bros. Inc.
Imperial Toys founded
 
1970s
1970s Remco's fortunes dipped in the '70s, and the company and brand name were sold to Azrak-Hamway International of New York City
1970 Mattel buys Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus
Rainbow Crafts is merged into Kenner Products and Play- Doh becomes part of the Kenner line.
1972 Mattel restructures to form Mattel, Inc. with one division and seven subsidaries
1973 Bullyland established by Volkmar Klaus
1974 Marvin Glass dies
James Galt and Co formed in Connecticut to promote the sale of Galt materials
1975 Shelcore founded by Sheldon Greenberg
Coleco enters the video game console business with the Telstar
Elliot and Ruth Handler (founders) leave Mattel
1976 Kenner Products moves to 1014 Vine Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Binney & Smith corporate headquarters relocate from New York City to Forks Township in Easton, Pennsylvania.
CBS acquires Wonder Products Company (spring-suspended riding toys)
1977 Binney & Smith acquires the rights to Silly Putty
Kenner Products negotiates license for Star Wars property, which goes on to become the company’s most powerful toy success.
Action Products formed in New York City
1978 CBS acquires Gabriel Industries, Inc. (including Gabriel, Child Guidance, Gym-Dandy, Wonder and Hubley)
Kidco co-founded by Marvin Smollar
 
1980s
1980 Action Products relocated to Florida from New York and reincorporated
1981 Meccano and Dinky Toy was purchased by the General Mills Toy Group (USA), owners of Miro-Meccano Company, Paris, France.
Boley incorporated in California
1982 CBS acquires Ideal Toys
Kransco Group purchases Wham-O
Playmates Toys, Inc., U.S. subsidiary, Incorporated in California
Mego files for bankruptcy
1983 Mego ceases to exist
Marchon founded by Marvin Smollar
1984 Hasbro became the biggest toy company with the purchase of The Milton Bradley Company and Playskool
Russ Berrie goes public
Playmates became first publicly listed toy company in Hong Kong (Ticker:0075)
Binney & Smith becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hallmark Cards Inc., of Kansas City, Missouri
1985 Archrivals Revell and Monogram join to form Revell-Monogram
Kenner Parker Toys Inc., the country’s fourth largest toy company, is spun off from General Mills.
MCA acquired LJN for $66 million through their Universal subsidiary
CBS sells Ideal to Viewmaster International
CBS sells Creative Playthings to Swing Design
CBS sells Wonder/Gym Dandy to Wonderline Inc.
CBS sells Child Guidance to Hasbro Inc.
Hasbro Industries officially changed its name to Hasbro, Inc.
Binary Arts founded by Bill Ritchie and Andrea Barthello
1986 Mattel acquires Hong Kong based ARCO Industries
Mattel enters into a joint venture with Bandai
OddzOn Products, Inc. was started by Scott Stillinger and his brother-in-law, Mark Button in order to sell the Koosh ball Scott created
Alex started with a line of high quality basic arts and crafts products
Buffalo Games started
1987 Milton Bradley acquires Schaper
Tonka Corporation acquires Kenner Parker Toys Inc. on October 16.
Henry Gordy International, Inc. ("Gordy") was formed to conduct the business associated with certain assets purchased from Henry Gordy, Inc. and Gordy International, Inc.
Henry Gordy Inc. acquired by SFM
1988 Mattel acquires Corolle S.A. French manufacturer of collector quality dolls.
BMT founded
Coleco files for bankrupcy
Tonka Corporation establishes four operating divisions: Kenner Products, Parker Brothers and Tonka Products serving the U.S. and Tonka International.
Acclaim Entertainment acquired LJN from MCA/Universal
1989 Mattel acquires Corgi, Ltd. British diecast car maker
Tyco acquires Viewmaster
Hasbro purchases Coleco assets
SDI formed KIDdesigns
FIT forms Toy Design Department with Judy Ellis as chairperson.
 
1990s
1990 Mattel moves into new headquarters in El Segundo, CA
Wizards of the Coast founded by Peter Adkison
Miro-Meccano purchased the rights to the Erector name
1991 Mattel acquires Aviva Sports, Inc.
Quaker Oats spun off its Fisher-Price division and the company became an independent, publicly traded company
First FIT Toy Design class graduates
Hasbro Purchases Tonka Corporation (including Kenner Products and Parker Brothers). Play- Doh is shifted to the Playskool Division of Hasbro; Parker Brothers’ Nerf and Tonka’s Cupcake doll lines move to Kenner Products.
1992 Mattel acquires International Games, Inc.
Kenner moves its headquarters to 615 Elsinore Place, Cincinnati, OH.
Hasbro consolidates manufacturing of all Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers board games in East Longmeadow, MA. The new organization was renamed Hasbro Games.
Alpha International was founded.
K'NEX invented by Joel Glickman
1993 Stockholders of Fisher-Price, Inc. and Mattel, Inc. approved a merger under which Fisher-Price became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel.
Philip Steiner, one of Kenner ’s founders, passed away in November at the age of 82.
Floods in the midwest flood the first floor of the Steven Toy plant in Hermann, MO forcing it to retire it's molds.
Russ Berrie acquires CAP Toys
Galt Toys was acquired by Findel Plc
1994 Revell-Monogram, the world's leading manufacturer of plastic model kits joins the Binney & Smith family.
Hasbro restructures the corporation into two groups – the Hasbro Toy Group ( Kenner, Tonka and Playskool) and the Hasbro Games Group (Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley)
Portions of K'NEX domestic and international business are sold to Hasbro
Mattel acquires Kransco (Wham-O) and J.W. Spear and sons, a British game company
Russ Berrie acquires Oddzon Products, Inc.
SFM acquires Hi-Flier
SFM and EXX merge taking the EXX name and moving offices from Plainfield, NJ to Las Vegas, NV.
4Kidz Inc. was founded
1995 Mattel distributes the Cabbage Patch Kid
Alpha International launches Gearbox Toys
Hasbro entered the video gaming market with the creation of Hasbro Interactive.
Hasbro acquired the Larami company, which made Super Soakers
Jakks Pacific founded by Jack Friedman and Stephen G. Berman
Buddy L, a subsidiary of SLM, files for bankrupcy
Empire of Carolina acquires certain Buddy L assets
Big Time Toys founded
1996 Fisher-Price introduces Tickle Me Elmo
Mattel obtains master toy licensing agreement with Nickelodeon
1997 Mattel acquires Tyco Toys
Fisher-Price assigned View-master line as result of merger with Tyco
Mattel sells it's sports brands to Wham-O
Wham-O became independent once again as a group of investors purchased the company from Mattel
Jakks Pacific acquires Road Champs
Jakks Pacific acquires Child Guidance and Remco from Azrak-Hamway
Hasbro purchased the Russ Berrie and Company subsidiaries, Cap Toys and OddzOn, picking up the Koosh brands and the highly successful interactive Cap Candy line, which featured Spin Pops.
EXX forms Steven Toy, Inc.
EXX acquires Handi-Pac through Steven Toy, Inc.
1998 Fisher-Price takes command of Mattel's entire preschool and infant character brands line
Mattel purchases Bluebird Toys PLC of the UK. (Polly Pocket license holder)
Mattel acquires Pleasant Company (American Girl)
Poof Products, Inc., a toy manufacturer in Plymouth, Mich., purchased James Industries, Inc., manufacturer of Slinky toys, with headquarters in Hollidaysburg, Pa. The transaction was completed on July 17
University Games acquires Colorforms
Hasbro acquires Tiger Electronics, Avalon Hill, maker of strategic board games, and Galoob, which owned Micro Machines
1999 Wizards of the Coast acquired by Hasbro
Brand New Products founded
 

2000-present

2000 Mattel sells The Learning Company
Hasbro announces it will shut its Cincinnati operations, ending 53 years of Kenner history.
Empire of Carolina files for chapter 11
Meccano S/A was purchased by Nikko
2001 Alpha International acquires Revell-Monogram and Revell AG from Binney & Smith
Alpha International Acquires Empire Toys
Learning Curve acquires Eden
2002 Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler dies at age 85
Jakks Pacific acquires Toymax
Jakks Pacific acquires Trendmasters
Toy Manufacturers Association (TMA) becomes the Toy Industry Association (TIA)
Russ Berrie Dies on Christmas day
June 14, Imperial Toy Corporation has acquired all the assets of the Buddy L. line of toys and games
2003 Binary Arts changes name to ThinkFun
Morrison and Terzian retire from Breslow, Morrison and Terzian (BMT)
Poof Products, Inc. acquired substantially all of the assets of Ideal Toy, located in Ronkonkoma, NY.
Poof Products, Inc. announced its merger with James Industries, Inc. of Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Corporation. The merger, effective January 1st, 2004, resulted in a collective name change to “Poof-Slinky®, Inc."
Jakks Pacific acquires Trendmasters
2004 Jakks Pacific buys Play Along Toys
September 1, Equity Toys is now Pop Rocket
Russ Berrie purchases the Applause trademark
2005 Mattel closes Tyco office in Mt. Laurel, NJ and relocates it to their El Segundo, CA headquarters.
Shelcore is purchased by Matrix Holdings
MEGA Brands aquires Rose Art Industries
River West Brands re-introduces the Coleco brand name into the marketplace
Motorsports Authentics Completes Merger With Action Performance
2006 Jeff Hsieh, through an affiliate of his holding company, Cornerstone Overseas Investments buys Wham-O
Jakks Pacific acquires Creative Designs International (CDI)
Newell Rubbermaid Inc. sells Little Tikes to MGA Entertainment Inc.
2007 January 1, 2007, Binney & Smith™, maker of Crayola® crayons and markers, became Crayola LLC, reflecting the company's No. 1 brand
May 2, Hobbico acquires Revell-Monogram
Funrise is purchased by Matrix Holdings
Matrix Holdings closes Shelcore's NJ office and merges it with Funrise in Los Angeles
Step 2 acquires Infantino
2008 Hasbro buys Cranium for $77 million
Gund sold to gift co. Enesco
Larry Rosen starts Cra-Z-Art
2009 Toys R Us acquires etoys.com and subsidiaries
Toys R Us acquired FAO Schwarz
Toys R Us acquires KB Toys brand.
The Walt Disney Company acquires Marvel Entertainment, Inc. in a stock and cash transaction worth 4 billion dollars
2014 Mattel acquires MEGA Brands on May 1st.

 

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