H Is For Hasbro & Hot Wheels – A To Z Of The Toy Industry
HASBRO is one of the giants of the toy business and has been for a long time. Not that many people though know that the first iteration of the company started life way back in 1923, when three brothers – Henry, Herman and Hillel – started the company then known as Hassenfeld Brothers. The company began by selling textile pieces, before developing the business into pencil cases and school supplies, and then setting up their own pencil manufacturing facility. The first toy products created were modelling clay and doctor/nurses’ outfits, and the company had effectively become a toy company by the 1940s.
Fast forward to today and Hasbro has a massive presence and impact across the toy business. The array of iconic brands they own or control is vast, including: Play-Doh, Monopoly, Transformers, My Little Pony, Nerf, Kenner, Tonka, Milton Bradley, Parker Brothers, Magic: The Gathering, Furby, Mr. Potato Head and we could go on (and on!).
Today Hasbro is much more than just a toy company – the Rhode Island headquartered business which started out selling textile odds and ends is now a global entertainment content powerhouse, with ongoing interests in movies, TV and other forms of video content.
HOT WHEELS is the major market leader in vehicle toys. Over 6 billion Hot Wheels die cast vehicles have been sold since Mattel first launched the brand back in 1968, with more than 800 models and over 11,000 variations of cars produced. Mattel co-founder Elliott Handler instigated Mattel’s move into this space after seeing his son playing with Matchbox cars. Despite the lack of enthusiasm of his wife and fellow co-founder of Mattel, Ruth Handler (most famous for her origination of Barbie), Elliott developed Hot Wheels in conjunction with Jack Ryan and the first Hot Wheels product line hit shelves in 1968. Hot Wheels enjoyed staggering success from launch. Today Hot Wheels is a massive toy brand, with brand extensions a plenty, from track sets to garages for cars, and much more. Hot Wheels is one of the most iconic and commercially successful toy brands of all time.
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