In 1985, the Toy Industry Hall of Fame was established to recognize the people behind the power of play. Every year for the past three decades, members of the industry have proudly nominated hundreds of men and women — from toy inventors to toy retailers — who have made their mark on the industry and created a love of play in the hearts of children of all ages. Seventy-four (74) of those individuals have been inducted into this esteemed Hall.

Peter EioPeter Eio
Inducted, 2017

Company: Former President, LEGO Systems, Inc.

Peter Eio has more than 50 years of experience in marketing and general management with leading global consumer brands including Alka-Seltzer, Brillo, Playtex, and LEGO. For nearly 20 years, he was responsible for building LEGO businesses, first in the UK and subsequently in the U.S., with a compound internal growth rate of 12% per annum. For more than 12 years he served as President of LEGO in the Americas, developing the LEGO brand into one of the most respected in the U.S. toy industry with a penetration of over 70% among families with children.

He served on the board of the British Toy and Hobby Association (BTHA) from 1985-1988 and was chairman of the Toy Manufacturers of America (now the Toy Industry Association) from 1998-2000. Since retiring in 2001, he has retained a deep interest in the toy industry and was a founding member of the ICTI CARE Foundation that monitors and seeks to improve working conditions in the global toy industry.

Mr. Eio, who was a member of the LEGO global management team, led an organization of 1,100 employees with a turnover of $500 million based in Enfield, Connecticut. During his tenure he headed the negotiation team that established a successful long-term relationship with Lucas Film with LEGO STAR WARS. He also served as a founding member on the Advisory Board of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The First LEGO League now attracts more than 230,000 young people annually in 80 countries.

Mr. Eio is an alumnus of the IMD Business School in Lausanne, Switzerland. Prior to joining the LEGO Company, he spent 11 years with International Playtex Corporation where he served as General Manager of their Scandinavian operations. He has held a life-long interest in education and has served on the boards of several educational institutions, including The American Forum for Global Education and the University of Hartford where he was Chair of the Board of Regents from 2004-2009 and is now a Life Regent.

He holds honorary degrees from the University of Hartford (Doctor of Commercial Science, Honoris Causa) and Rensselaer Polytechnic (Doctor of Laws, Honoris Causa). In 1993, he received the Prince Henrik Medal of Honour for services to Danish industry. His industry experience also includes board memberships with both public and private corporations including Reflexite Corporation and Heska Corporation. He is currently a member of the board of Active International in New York, where he chairs the compensation committee.

Mr. Eio lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut with his wife Jenny. They have three children and five grandchildren and their interests include travel, theatre and gardening.

Ray LarsenRay Larsen
Inducted, 2017

Company: Founder, RLA Marketing

Raised in Hell’s Kitchen and a New Yorker through and through, Ray Larsen was a pioneer in the toy industry starting in 1958 at age 19, taking over Arthur Pisner’s toy representative business and renaming it Ray Larsen Associates. Mr. Larsen remained active in managing the business for over 40 years until his sudden death in December 2012. Known as an anchor tenant in Manhattan’s iconic 200 Fifth Avenue Toy Building from 1958 on, Mr. Larsen was the very last tenant to leave on the day the building closed in 2005.

He grew Ray Larsen Associates through his personal perseverance, tenacity, strong salesmanship, and relationships, transforming it into the nation’s leading sales agency in the toy industry. He was well-respected by all, and good friends with industry titans and presidents. In his expansive 5th Avenue showroom – the largest independently owned showroom within the building, where worldwide toy retailers passed through – Mr. Larsen hosted top-level meetings for executives from retailers like Toys“R”Us, Childworld, Woolworth, Lionel Leisure and Zayre with our represented manufacturers, and occasionally with manufacturers as diverse as Hasbro, Mattel, and Jakks. He personally escorted and led groups through the showroom, and while selling programs and products he painstakingly pointed out the subtle advantages of his products along with the enhanced profitability for retailers vs. competitive product. While these meetings were going on, buyers from top retailers like Walmart, TG&Y, Kmart and Sears would often drop in unscheduled. Those drop-ins were ever so politely told that there was a meeting in progress and that they should return at a later time. And, each and every buyer did just that. They came back, because everyone wanted to see what Ray Larsen and Associates was introducing for the coming year. Each buyer knew that Mr. Larsen had a knack for finding the “hot toy” – whether it was Tonka, Uno, Breyer, AVIVA Sports, Panosh, Cranium, Dynacraft, VTech, or PlayAlong.

A true innovator, Mr. Larsen was the first to introduce an ‘independent in-store service organization’ for retailers in the mid 1960s. It was a separate company he formed and managed to supplement in-store personnel, because he was not happy with the way his products were represented on-shelf. Mr. Larsen re-introduced that concept in the mid-90s and deployed his own teams to service multiple retailers. That was many years before each retailer defined their own designated group that could work only in their stores. Mr. Larsen was instrumental in guiding manufacturers on marketing, packaging and on-shelf presentation ideas.

He was known as a true professional and a superior salesperson, and for being gracious, well-mannered and always respectful in his approach. He was a strong, persistent and skilled negotiator whose high ethical standards and integrity were never compromised. He set the bar for us all.

Sydney RosenSydney Rosen
Inducted, 2017

Company: Former Owner of Rose Art, CRA-Z-ART

Born into the toy business in the early part of the 20th century, Sydney Rosen came to be known throughout the industry as a passionate and creative inventor and entrepreneur. As a young man, Mr. Rosen went to work at the Rosebud Art Company, started by his father, and which his father had named for him (Sydney being the rosebud of father Isidor's eye). Over the years, he developed the company, which he renamed Rose Art Industries, from a small supplier of toys to one of America’s largest toy manufacturers, creating many of the Rose Art products himself.

Eventually, joined by his wife Muriel and two of his children, Larry and Jeff, Mr. Rosen successfully built Rose Art into an industry leader with $350 million in annual sales and over 2,500 employees in the U.S. The profitable company became the prime manufacturer of crayons, toys and crafts, until it was sold to Mega Blocks in 2005.

Throughout his career, Mr. Rosen was not only recognized for his sharp eye for toy trends, but also as a pioneer in manufacturing and product design, holding numerous toy patents. Aside from developing many popular games and puzzles, he was the originator of the big-selling Popeye ring toss which sold over a million units in its first year, and slate and chalk sets, selling tens of millions and becoming known as the “King of the slate and chalkboard business.” He was also one of the first to offer the now popular large art activity sets that included a variety of different art supplies.

And yet it’s not just the toy business that motivated Mr. Rosen. Over the years, he was intimately involved in many kid-focused and Jewish philanthropic programs including the March of Dimes, Hadassah and the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). He was truly adored by all who knew him including family, friends and his loyal employees, whom he also considered family. Mr. Rosen died in 2011 at the age of 94. His enthusiasm and devotion to the industry during a 60-year career is unmatched. His success, leadership, innovation, and charitable contributions are proven.

Robert A. IgerRobert A. Iger
Inducted, 2016

Company: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company

Robert A. Iger is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. As Chairman and CEO, Mr. Iger is the steward of the world’s largest media company and some of the most respected and beloved brands around the globe. His strategic vision for The Walt Disney Company focuses on three fundamental pillars: generating the best creative content possible; fostering innovation and utilizing the latest technology; and expanding into new markets around the world. Mr. Iger has built on Disney’s rich history of unforgettable storytelling with the acquisition of Pixar (2006), Marvel (2009), and Lucasfilm (2012), three of the entertainment industry’s greatest storytelling companies. Always one to embrace new technology, Mr. Iger has made Disney an industry leader through its creative content offerings across new and multiple platforms.

Prior to his current role, Mr. Iger served as President and Chief Executive Officer beginning October 2005 and President and Chief Operating Officer from 2000-2005.

Disney’s exceptional entertainment experiences, widely diverse content, and unique skill in managing businesses in an integrated manner have led to strong results. In fiscal 2014, Disney delivered record revenue, net income, and earnings per share for the fourth year in a row. During Mr. Iger’s tenure, The Walt Disney Company has been recognized as one of the “Most Reputable Companies” in both America and the world by Forbes magazine (2006-2015); one of “America's Most Admired Companies” by Fortune magazine (2009-2015); one of the “World's Most Respected Companies" by Barron’s (2009-2014); one of the “Best Places to Launch a Career” by BusinessWeek magazine (2006-2010); and as “Company of the Year” by Yahoo Finance (2013).

Mr. Iger officially joined the Disney senior management team in 1996 as Chairman of the Disney-owned ABC Group and in 1999 was given the additional responsibility of President, Walt Disney International. In that role, Mr. Iger expanded and coordinated Disney’s presence outside of the United States, establishing the blueprint for the Company’s international growth today. As Chairman of the ABC Group, Mr. Iger oversaw the broadcast television network and station group, cable television properties, and radio and publishing businesses and also guided the complex merger between Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. and The Walt Disney Company. During Mr. Iger’s years with ABC, he obtained hands-on experience in every aspect of the television business—including news, sports, and entertainment—as well as in program acquisition, rights negotiations, and business affairs. He began his career at ABC in 1974.

Mr. Iger has been named one of Fortune magazine's “25 Most Powerful People in Business” (2006, 2007); one of the “Top Gun CEOs” by Forbes magazine (2009); one of the “Best CEOs” by Institutional Investor magazine (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011); MarketWatch CEO of the Year (2006); and “CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive Magazine (2014).

Mr. Iger joined the Apple board of directors in November 2011 and became a board member of the U.S.-China Business Council in June 2011. He also serves on the boards of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. In June 2010, President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Export Council, which advises the President on how to promote U.S. exports, jobs, and growth. Mr. Iger is also a member of the Partnership for a New American Economy, a coalition of mayors and business leaders from across the United States that supports comprehensive immigration reform. In 2012, Mr. Iger became a member of the Academy of Arts & Sciences, one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, which recognizes some of the world’s most accomplished scholars, scientists, writers, artists, and civic, corporate, and philanthropic leaders.

Mr. Iger is a graduate of Ithaca College.

Pat FeelyPat Feely
Inducted, 2015

Company: Former Chairman, Toy Industry Foundation, and Retired CEO of Radica Games Ltd.
Greatest Hits: GoBots, Pound Puppies, PlayTV and 20Q
Watch Tribute Video

During his 37 years in the toy and game business, Pat Feely has been one of the toy industry’s most dedicated volunteer leaders and successful businessmen. He led the creation and growth of the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) as chairman for eight years. As a business leader, he engineered the turnaround and expansion of two leading companies in the toy industry – Tonka and Radica Games.

Feely has been a passionate member of the TIF Board of Trustees since its founding in 2000, serving as chairman from 2000 to 2004, and again from 2010 through the end of 2014. During his eight years as TIF chairman he has overseen the creation and growth of the Foundation, which has donated over $100 million worth of toys to children in need and encouraged goodwill toward the industry. Last year alone, TIF provided over $18 million in toys to sick, military, foster and underserved children. Feely has also been an intrepid fundraiser for the Foundation, having served as a yearly member — and, several times, chairman — of the Fundraising Committee.

Feely’s service to the industry also has included two years as chairman of TIA and six years as an advisor to the TIA Board of Directors. As TIA chairman he was involved in the formation of the TOTY Awards as well as the ICTI Code, and demonstrated leadership by guiding his factory at Radica in China to become one of the first ICTI-certified factories. Feely also worked to diversify the TIA Board to include a wider spectrum of smaller TIA members so all voices could be heard.

An industry executive for many years, Feely led the turnaround of two troubled publicly traded toy companies – Tonka and Radica. During his nine-year tenure as President and CEO of Radica, the company tripled in size to become #2 in the electronic games category and a diversified innovation leader in toy technology, before being sold to Mattel in 2006. Under his leadership and passion for technology, Radica pioneered force feedback (Bass Fishin’); spoken voice recognition (Girl Tech Password Journal); plug and play TV games (PlayTV); and artificial intelligence with TOTY winner 20Q.

As toy division president at Tonka, Feely and his team quadrupled Tonka’s size to #6 in the industry in 1986 (prior to the acquisition of Kenner-Parker) by diversifying the company through the launch of GoBots, Pound Puppies and Sega’s Video Game System. While at Tonka, Feely led the rebirth of a dying iconic truck product line, taking market share from 18% back to a dominant leadership position of over 40% through creative marketing, retail promotion and product innovation.

Retired since 2007, Feely has continued to serve the toy industry through his involvement in TIF and as a consultant and board member for several toy industry companies. He mentors start-ups as a member of the Pasadena Angels, and has served on the boards of Sprig Toys and Playrific.

Leslie BergerLeslie Berger
Inducted, 2015

Company: Founder, Cardinal Industries, Inc.
Watch Tribute Video

Born in Hungary in 1919, Leslie Berger lived in his native country until the outset of World War II, at which time his parents sent him to the United States to escape Nazi oppression and achieve the “American Dream.” He arrived in New York City at the age of 19 with just $7 in his pocket and lived in a walk-up apartment with several other Hungarian immigrants. Shortly after his move, Berger’s entire family was killed in the Holocaust.

Within five years of his arrival, Berger founded Cardinal Industries in a small Brooklyn loft. The company’s first games, created with a single drill press, included mah-jongg sets, dominoes, poker chip racks and hula-hoops. Berger had a hands-on role in all aspects of the growing business, including manufacturing, sales and deliveries. Always on the forefront, he was licensing before it was fashionable, securing the license to General Hospital from ABC in the early 80’s. At that time he also realized that Asia was increasingly important to the toy industry and became involved with factories there, while always maintaining a U.S. factory.

In 1963, Cardinal Industries became a member of Toy Manufacturers of America (TMA), now called the Toy Industry Association. Berger was actively involved in the Association leadership, serving on the TMA board for many years.

Berger was one of a small group of people that helped create the modern-day toy industry. He has been called a pioneer and a toy industry icon. The toy industry welcomes innovators and entrepreneurs and he came to this country focused on being both in an industry that he loved.

Today, Cardinal Industries is one of the oldest privately owned toy businesses in the U.S. Under the direction of Berger’s son and daughter, Joel and Bonnie, and his grandson, Justin, the third-generation company globally distributes a wide array of classic and licensed board games and puzzles, working with Disney, Hasbro, Mattel, Nickelodeon, Sanrio, NBC, Warner Brothers, Sesame Street and many others. TIA recognized Cardinal Industries’ 70th anniversary at the 2014 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards this past February.

Berger died on March 6, 2014 at the age of 95.

Jill BaradJill Barad
Inducted, 2014

Company: Mattel
Greatest Hits: Barbie, American Girl
Watch Tribute Video

Jill Barad joined Mattel in 1981 as an employee in the company’s novelty section; shortly thereafter she began to rise through the ranks and was promoted to director of the Barbie brand, which she grew to nearly $2 billion worldwide at that time.  

Known for her talent in spotting great products and marketing campaigns, Barad rapidly climbed the Mattel corporate ladder, holding the positions of executive vice president of marketing and product development, then president and chief operating officer. She was finally appointed chairman and chief executive officer, becoming one of four women to hold the helm of a Fortune 500 company in the late 1990s. Through mergers, acquisitions, and the use of high-level marketing skills, Barad ushered in a period of growth and prosperity for Mattel.  The “American Girl” business, which she acquired in 1998, has grown to be one of the major brands of Mattel and within the industry.

Barad is also known for her philanthropic leadership.  During her tenure, Mattel committed $25 million to name one of the country’s pre-eminent children’s hospitals, today known as Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA.

Horst BrandstätterHorst Brandstätter
Inducted, 2014

Company: PLAYMOBIL/geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG
Greatest Hits: Playmobil figures
Watch Tribute Video

Horst Brandstätter is the sole owner and president of geobra Brandsätter GmbH & Co. KG and head of Brandstätter Holding, based in Bavaria, Germany. Brandstätter is better known as the manufacturer of PLAYMOBIL toys. The Franconian entrepreneur, great-grandson of the company’s founder Andreas Brandstätter, joined the family enterprise in 1952 and has dedicated 61 years to the toy industry so far.

As a young, forward-thinking manager, Brandsätter modernized production facilities and transitioned production material for the toy assortment from tin to plastics. In 1958, the company experienced a huge sales success by first introducing the U.S. “hula hoop” trend into the European market. That year, Brandstätter also made one of his most important managing decisions and hired Hans Beck as his first model maker.

It was in the early 1970s that Brandstätter asked Beck to think of a new play system, believing that a completely new play idea with vehicles and figures would offer more play value for children and also make it more difficult for competitors to copy his products. In 1974, Brandstätter introduced the 2¾ inch PLAYMOBIL figurine during Nuremberg Toy Fair. The new concept of creative role play won over kids and parents and changed children’s rooms worldwide.

Today, the company employs more than 3,700 people, and 2.6 billion PLAYMOBIL figures have been manufactured since 1974. The worldwide PLAYMOBIL turnover reached a record level of 531 million Euro in 2012. An export share of 70% clearly speaks for the international focus, which is supported by 12 PLAYMOBIL subsidiaries around the world.

Jack FriedmanJack Friedman
Inducted, 2014

Company: JAKKS Pacific
Watch Tribute Video

Jack Friedman was a pioneer in the toy, licensing and video game industries who made his mark over his 50-year career with some of the most iconic playthings of our time. Friedman co-founded JAKKS Pacific in January 1995 and served as its chairman and chief executive officer through March 31, 2010. Thanks in large part to his keen leadership, JAKKS has grown into a top 5 U.S. publicly-traded, diversified toy company.

Prior to founding JAKKS, Friedman led LJN Toys, guiding the company into licensed products based on TV shows – a new frontier for toy companies in the 1970s. At LJN, he launched toys for the movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, as well as dolls based on Michael Jackson and Brooke Shields. After the sale of LJN to MCA in 1985, Jack went on to form video game company THQ, Inc. in 1989 and and served as its CEO until 1995. 

Under Friedman’s leadership, JAKKS Pacific grew its portfolio to more than 80% licensed products, including Cabbage Patch Kids, Hello Kitty, Pokémon, Care Bears, Barney, Sesame Street, Smurfs, Atari, Star Wars, Marvel characters, Disney Princess, Disney Fairies, Toy Story, Cars, Club Penguin and Pirates of the Caribbean, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Blue’s Clues, SLIME! and more.  Friedman also worked to diversify JAKKS’ portfolio, which now includes Action Figures, Electronics, Dolls, Dress-Up, Role Play, Halloween Costumes, Kids Furniture, Vehicles, Plush,  Seasonal Products, Infant/Pre-School Toys, Ride-On Vehicles, Wagons, Inflatable Environments and many more.  

Friedman was also a generous philanthropist and supporter of the JAKKS Cares program, which has benefited organizations such as The Toy Industry Foundation, Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, Special Olympics, Feed the Children, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Marine Toys for Tots and more. JAKKS Cares has donated more than $50 million worth of toys and school supplies to children around the world, with a goal of helping under-privileged children Smile, Play and Succeed. Friedman died on May 3, 2010 at the age of 70.

-2002, -2008
Inducted, 2014

Company: Wham-O Toy
Greatest Hits: Hula Hoop, Frisbee, Limbo Stick, Silly String, Slip Slip n’ Slide, Hacky Sack

Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr were inventors, pioneers, risk takers, game changers, and “the gurus of blockbuster fads.” The two lifelong friends started Wham-O in 1948 in South Pasadena, California, and ran the company together for more than 30 years.  At a time when most of the industry was east of the Mississippi, Melin and Knerr helped to pioneer a move to the west. Their first products were novelty items made in the garage of Knerr’s parents and sold via mail order in the Wall Street Journal; their company was named after the sound produced by their first product, a slingshot. 

Over the next three decades they introduced some of the most iconic toys of the 20th century, including the Frisbee, Limbo Stick, Silly String, Super Ball, Slip n’ Slide and the Hacky Sack, among others.  They were always open to original and often strange ideas, and experimented with toys themselves. In 1958, they promoted the Hula Hoop on Southern California playgrounds where they would do demonstrations and give away hoops to get the children to learn and play. Their perseverance turned the toy hoops into the greatest fad the country has ever seen – 25 million were sold in four months!

Melin and Knerr were fun first, business second. They were each in the vanguard of TV advertising, plastic manufacturing and promotional tie-ins. More importantly, their toys have stood the test of time. Toys like the Hula Hoop and Frisbee continue to not only delight children but also appeal to new audiences nearly 60 years later. Melin died in 2002 at the age of 77; Knerr passed away in 2008 at the age of 82.

Judy EllisJudy Ellis
Inducted, 2013

Company: Fashion Institute of Technology
Watch Tribute Video

Judy Ellis is the founder and chair of the nation’s first baccalaureate program in Toy Design, which she launched at the Fashion Institute of Technology in 1989. The program emphasizes an ethical design approach and commitment to community.

The FIT program boasts close to 350 alumni who are working in leading toy design, manufacturing and inventor groups throughout the United States and across the globe. An estimated 3,500 products – including Hasbro’s Transformers Mega Powerbots, Littlest Pet Shop Round & Round Pet Town Playset and the licensed idea that was developed by Spin Master®, LTD into the 2009 Toy of the Year Bakugan – have been designed by FIT toy design alumni.

Ellis has received two SUNY Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Excellence in Faculty Service and an award from the national Women In Toys organization for outstanding contribution to the industry. She has been invited to speak about children and design at events including The Yale University Inter-Disciplinary Bio-ethics program, the International Toy Research Association World Toy Congress, and The Smithsonian Institute Museum of American History Invention and Play exhibition, among others.

Judy EllisRussell Berrie
Inducted, 2013

Company: Russ Berrie & Company
Greatest Hits: Trolls, Fuzzy-Wuzzies, SilliScuplt

Russ Berrie was chief executive and chairman of Russ Berrie & Company, which he started in a rented garage in 1963. Berrie built a small empire on stuffed animals and other toys – from his initial launch of Fuzzy-Wuzzies found in novelty shops and card stores, to its immediate follow-up with the Bupkis family and the SilliSculpt lines. In the 1990s the company’s troll doll line sparked a decade of Troll-mania.

Under Berrie’s leadership, by the start of the 21st century Russ Berrie & Company had become one of the world’s largest gift companies with more than 1,500 employees and $300 million in annual sales revenues. He formed a sales organization that set the industry standard for customer service, and assembled a creative team known for innovative materials, attention to detail, and the ability to capture and express human sentiment.

As a private individual, through The Russell Berrie Foundation and through corporate donations, Berrie supported organizations and fostered initiatives that expressed his values, passions and vision. His support of philanthropic organizations earned him numerous awards and public recognition. Fortune magazine, in its February 6, 1998 issue, honored Berrie as one of the 40 most generous Americans. Berrie also served on the TIA Board of Directors.

Arnie RubinArnie Rubin
Inducted, 2012

Company: Funrise Toy Corporation
Greatest Hits: Tonka Lights and Sounds vehicles, Gazillion Bubbles
Watch Tribute Video

Arnie Rubin has been in the toy industry for more than 45 years, starting out initially as a bubble mixer at Chemical Sundries. In 1969 he co-founded Imperial Toy Company and in 1987 he formed Funrise Toy Corporation, best known for its Tonka Lights and Sounds emergency vehicles with working sirens and lights, which it has manufactured under license from Hasbro since 1999.  Funrise also produces the popular Gazillion® Bubbles line, which has become the #1 bubble brand in the country and has many popular licenses.

Rubin is the past chairman of the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Toy Industry Association. In 2009 he was named to the Toy Safety Certification Program’s Oversight Council and was elected as president of the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI). Rubin is a member of the ICTI Care Board of Governance.

In addition to his support of TIF, Rubin has served on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Braille Institute, and was chairman of the Board of Directors for the Institute for Families of Blind Children. He has organized the Toy Run for Kids benefiting Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, which raises donations of more than $100,000 annually.

Frederick August Otto SchwarzFrederick August Otto Schwarz
Inducted, 2012

Company: FAO Schwarz
Watch Tribute Video

Since its inception in 1862, FAO Schwarz has been guided by the principles of its Founder, Frederick August Otto Schwarz.

Schwarz’s career, which spanned nearly 50 years, was filled with innovation. He believed in offering unique, high-quality items, making FAO Schwarz the first toy store in the U.S. to import toys from European cities and led to the introduction of new specialty items, such as the Steiff teddy bear and perambulator (now, baby carriage) as part of the store’s assortment. Beyond offering best-in-class merchandise, Schwarz found unique ways to engage shoppers. Desiring to bring the wonder of his store to customers around the country, in 1876, he began mailing catalogs, creating one of the first mail order businesses in the U.S. Schwarz was also one of the first retailers to bring Santa Claus into his store.

His vision to establish a magical toy emporium has made his namesake store beloved in the toy industry, creating memories for generations of kids worldwide.

Al VerrecchiaAl Verrecchia
Inducted, 2011

Company: Hasbro
Watch Tribute Video

Al Verrecchia is known for his industry leadership and his role in harnessing success at Hasbro. He began his toy industry career in 1965 as an accountant at Hasbro, and rose through the ranks to become CEO in 2003. While at the helm, Verrecchia was one of the prime architects of a strategy to leverage the company’s portfolio of brands in categories beyond traditional toys and games.

Prior to his tenure as CEO, Verrechia held a range of executive positions, including CFO, president of manufacturing services, and executive vice resident of global operations, among other key roles. In 2008 he became chairman of Hasbro’s Board of Directors.

Verrecchia has also assumed many leadership roles in the industry. He has served on the TIA Board of Directors, was chair of both the Finance Committee and the Budget Committee, and served as a member of the Investment Committee and the Audit Committee. While on the board Verrecchia helped manage the overwhelming changes taking place with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.  He worked closely with TIA staff and board members to ensure that the industry’s safety record and self-assessments were brought to the government’s attention.

Donald Duncan Sr.Donald Duncan Sr.
Inducted, 2011

Company: Duncan Yo-Yo Company
Greatest Hits: Duncan yo-yos
Watch Tribute Video

The yo-yo, which many believe can be traced back to 500 B.C., found new life in the U.S. in 1928 when Donald Duncan Sr. saw Filipino native Pedro Flores’s yo-yo store and factory in Santa Barbara, California.

In 1930 Duncan purchased Flores’ production facilities and hired him to run yo-yo promotions. The Duncan Yo-Yo Company became the number one producer of yo-yos for the next 35 years, in that span claiming 85 percent of the entire U.S. yo-yo market. In 1932 he filed for and was assigned a trademark for the word "yo-yo."

Duncan’s early success in promoting yo-yos was due, in large part, to his mastery of publicity. Duncan convinced William Randolph Hearst, the biggest newspaper magnate of the early 20th century, to use yo-yo contests to stimulate his circulation. A single promotion in Philadelphia sold 3 million yo-yos in 30 days, and in 1932 the first-ever World Yo-Yo Competition was held in London, England. In honor of Duncan’s birthday, June 6 has been deemed National Yo-Yo Day. 

John LasseterJohn Lasseter
Inducted, 2010

Company: Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios
Greatest Hits: Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles
Watch Tribute Video

John Lasseter is a two-time Academy Award®-winning director and oversees all films and associated projects from Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, which have had an indelible impact on the licensed toy market and have spawned some of today’s most beloved characters.

Lasseter directed the groundbreaking and critically acclaimed films Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Toy Story 2, among others, and executive produced Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles. He received a Special Achievement Oscar® in 1995 for his inspired leadership of the Toy Story team.  His work on Toy Story also resulted in an Academy Award®-nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the first time an animated feature had been recognized in that category. Finding Nemo (2003) became the highest grossing animated feature of all time, and won the Oscar® for Best Animated Feature Film. The Incredibles (2004) was recognized with a record-breaking 16 Annie Award nominations for its groundbreaking animation and several Best Of awards by The Wall Street Journal, American Film Institute, National Board of Review and many others.

In 2004 Lasseter was honored by the Art Directors Guild with its Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery award, and an honorary degree from the American Film Institute. He received the 2008 Winsor McCay Award from ASIFA-Hollywood for career achievement and contribution to the art of animation.

Sam WaltonSam Walton
Inducted, 2010

Company: WalMart, Sam’s Club
Watch Tribute Video

In 1962 Sam Walton founded Walmart, which by 1998 had become the largest toy retailer in the country and the largest general retailer in the world.

Walton was raised in Missouri where he worked in his father's store while attending school. Afterward, he trained with J.C. Penney Co. and in 1945 opened the first of several Ben Franklin five-and-dime franchises in Arkansas. He opened his first Walmart store in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962, offering a wide selection of discount merchandise. Whereas other discount store chains were usually situated in or near large cities, Walton based his stores in small towns where there was little competition from established chains. Using this strategy, his company expanded to 800 stores by 1985. In 1983 he opened the first Sam's Wholesale Club.

Walton stepped down as chief executive officer of Walmart Stores in 1988 but remained chairman until his death, at which time more than 1,700 stores existed. In 1992 Walton received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom for his pioneering efforts, and in 1998 he was named by Time magazine as one of the top 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. 

Joan Ganz CooneyJoan Ganz Cooney
Inducted, 2009

Company: Sesame Workshop
Greatest Hits: Sesame Street
Watch Tribute Video

Joan Ganz Cooney helped to pioneer the concept that entertaining, enriching television could measurably enhance the lives of millions of youngsters — a concept that spawned Sesame Street, now one of the single greatest informal educators of young children in the world.

In 1968 Cooney co-founded the Children's Television Workshop (renamed, Sesame Workshop in June of 2000) and together with Lloyd Morrisett launched the preschool educational series Sesame Street.  She is currently chairman of the Executive Committee of Sesame Workshop's Board. 

Sesame Street, which began as an experiment, was the first preschool program to integrate education and entertainment as well as feature a multicultural cast.  It has been broadcast daily since 1969 on PBS’s more than 300 stations and has been seen by millions of children in more than 140 foreign countries. 

Jack PressmanJack Pressman
Inducted, 2009

Company: Pressman Toy Company
Greatest Hits: Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie and Snow White toy lines, Chinese Checkers
Watch Tribute Video

Jack Pressman grew up working in his father’s variety store in Harlem selling school supplies, candy, sporting goods and toys, which sparked his interest in the toy industry.

In 1922, Pressman founded J. Pressman & Co. with partner Max Eibitz. In the early years, Pressman’s line consisted of all sorts of crafts, games and activities: everything from metal “Bolb Ball” (similar to Skillball) to children’s clothes pins to a toy Zellophone (similar to a xylophone), and much more.

The company’s first hit was Chinese Checkers, which it acquired the rights to in 1928. Early sets were made of wood or metal, with glass marbles.

As early as 1937, Pressman began seeing the value of licensing popular characters and matching them with new or existing products. Snow White crayon sets, Snow White cutout dolls (1938), and Little Orphan Annie bubble pipes (1937) are some early examples. He was also one of the pioneers of using injection molding machines to produce plastic parts.

Pressman was known as a man of impeccable taste and worldly knowledge. He was an astute businessman, loyal, honest, caring, and sharp. He was also a great teacher, having mentored many legendary toy professionals, among them the late Fred Kroll, inventor of Hungry Hippos.

Kjeld Kirk KristiansenKjeld Kirk Kristiansen
Inducted, 2008

Company: LEGO
Greatest Hits: LEGO figures, LEGO themed sets
Watch Tribute Video

Born in 1947 in a small town in Denmark’s Jutland peninsula, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen was destined to change the way children play.

The grandson of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen and today’s principal shareholder of the family-owned LEGO Group, Kristiansen’s passion for the LEGO play experience and brand started from a young age. After school he would often stop into the model shop to sit alongside master builders as they created new models.  He was a skilled, imaginative builder, often inspiring and testing new model concepts and their building instructions.

Kristiansen’s pioneering ways have transformed the LEGO brand over the years. He introduced the idea of grouping models into themes to sharpen brand identity, and led the introduction of the first LEGO figures in 1974. He supported the creation of LEGO TECHNIC, advanced models for skilled builders in 1977, and pioneered the first play theme, LEGO Space, in 1979. In 1988 he endorsed a partnership with the MIT Media Lab, which led to the creation of the LEGO MINDSTORMS consumer robotics platform. He launched in 1996, and opened the door to licensing with the company’s first constructible entertainment property – Star Wars – in 1999.

George LucasGeorge Lucas
Inducted, 2007

Company: Lucasfilm Ltc.
Greatest Hits: Star Wars films
Watch Tribute Video

With his devotion to timeless storytelling and cutting-edge innovation, George Lucas has created some of the most successful and beloved motion pictures of all time. Lucas’s third film was Star Wars (1977), which broke all box-office records and set new standards for sophistication in film visuals and sound, garnering eight Academy Awards.

Star Wars was the first entertainment franchise that brought together film, licensing and merchandising. Not only did Star Wars completely reshape the pop-culture landscape, it revolutionized the toy industry. Star Wars action figures established the 3¾-inch scale, which allowed kids to recreate the dynamic scenes of the movies, and spawned a community of passionate toy collectors - kids and adults alike. Star Wars set the industry "standard" on which most major movie toy lines are based today.

Lucas is chairman of the board of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, serves on the board of the Film Foundation and is a member of the USC School of Cinema-Television Advisory Board. He is a recipient of some of the entertainment industry's highest honors, including the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.

Edwin Binney C. Harold SmithEdwin Binney, 1866-1934
C. Harold Smith, 1860-1931
Inducted, 2006

Company: Binney & Smith
Greatest Hits: Crayola crayons

In 1885 cousins Edwin Binney and C. Harold Smith founded Binney & Smith, which would go on to introduce the first box of Crayola crayons and become one of the most iconic brands in American history.

Innovators with a passion for color, Binney and Smith started out making red oxide pigments that coated many barns in the United States, as well as carbon black, a revolutionary black pigment that became the main ingredient in automobile tires. In 1900 they bought a gristmill in Easton, Pennsylvania and produced school supplies, including slate pencils and dustless blackboard chalk.

In 1903 Binney & Smith came out with the first box of eight Crayola crayons, responding to teachers' need for safe and affordable wax crayons for their students. Binney’s wife Alice, a former school teacher, coined the name Crayola, which means "oily chalk." The box sold for a nickel and included eight colors. In 1996 Mister Rogers helped Binney & Smith mold its 100 billionth Crayola crayon, and in 2003 the company celebrated the Crayola centennial.

Reuben B. KlamerReuben B. Klamer
Inducted, 2005

Company: Reuben Klamer & Associates
Greatest Hits: The Game of Life, Erector sets, Moon Rocks, Dolly Darlings, Busy Blocks
Watch Tribute Video

Reuben Klamer is a toy inventor and designer with more than 200 products to his credit. His gift for anticipating trends and developing consumer "must-haves has resulted in products that have been marketed by industry leaders in more than 60 countries on six continents.

Klamer is perhaps best known as the originator of The Game of Life, which in 1981 became part of the permanent Archives of Family Life at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC and is second in popularity only to Monopoly. His other major toy credits are the Fisher-Price 1-2-3 Roller Skates, the Art Linkletter Hoop, Gaylord the Walking Dog, Moon Rocks, Dolly Darlings, Erector Constructor Sets, Busy Blocks, Zoo-It-Yourself, and no-glue "snap-together" hobby kits. Klamer also pioneered the worldwide use of an unbreakable plastic called polyethylene in toys.

He founded Reuben Klamer & Associates in Beverly Hills in the 1960s, which he renamed Reuben Klamer Toylab® upon his relocation to La Jolla, California in 1983.

Lionel WeintraubLionel Weintraub
Inducted, 2005

Company: Ideal Toy Corporation
Greatest Hits: Mousetrap!, Toss Across, Rebound, Kerplunk, Magic 8 Ball, Rubik’s Cube
Watch Tribute Video

Lionel Weintraub had the ability to find great talent and great products, resulting in some of the industry's most memorable hits. He started his four-decade career in the toy industry in 1941, and became president of Ideal Toy Corporation in 1962.

Weintraub was a pioneer in the industry. He was one of the first to make injection molded toys, and, recognizing the genius of independent toy inventors, was among the first customers of Marvin Glass and Eddie Goldfarb. Ideal Toy Corp.’s Mr. Machine was one of the industry's first toys to be advertised on television. Weintraub was also instrumental in the introduction of the first 3-D games. His first was Mousetrap! followed by Toss Across, Rebound, Kerplunk, and the Magic 8 Ball. Many of these games are still best sellers today.

In 1980 Weintraub and his Ideal team had the courage to launch a puzzle that they thought no one could complete: The Rubik's Cube. The worldwide success of the Rubik's Cube led to the sale of Ideal Toy to CBS Inc. in 1982. Weintraub left the toy business with a legacy for developing great product and the reputation of serving as a teacher for some of the toy industry's best talent.

Milton BradleyMilton Bradley
Inducted, 2004

Company: Milton Bradley
Greatest Hits: The Checkered Game of Life

When you think of classic toys you played with as a child, there’s a good chance that one of them was a game from the Milton Bradley Company.

Milton Bradley, a draftsman and lithographer by trade, is credited by many for launching the North American board game industry. He founded the Milton Bradley Company when he first produced his own invention in 1860: The Checkered Game of Life. Bradley also invented the one-armed paper cutter, and was an early promoter of establishing kindergartens in American schools.

After his death, the business Bradley began continued to flourish and produced such classics as The Game of Life, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land and Twister, to name a few. Today, the Milton Bradley Company is part of Hasbro Games, the largest manufacturer of games and puzzles in the world.

George DitomassiGeorge Ditomassi
Inducted, 2004

Company: Milton Bradley / Hasbro

Throughout his four-decade-long career at Milton Bradley and its parent company Hasbro, George Ditomassi demonstrated his commitment to bringing what have become household brands to worldwide prominence.

Ditomassi joined the Milton Bradley Company as a production trainee in 1960 and became president in 1985. In 1990 he was named board chairman of the Milton Bradley Company and COO of Hasbro’s games and international operations. He was then named president of Hasbro International in 1997.

Ditomassi has received numerous awards for his contributions to national and local children’s charities, and has served as chairman of numerous nonprofits, including the Greater Springfield Mentoring Partnership, the Child Welfare League of America, the Western Massachusetts Children's Miracle Network, and the corporate fundraising campaign to bring a Ronald McDonald House to Springfield, Massachusetts. Ditomassi served as board chairman of the Toy Industry Association in 1990 in addition to two terms as a member of the Association's Board of Directors.

Neil B. FriedmanNeil B. Friedman
Inducted, 2004

Company: Lionel, Hasbro, Gerber, MCA/Universal, Tyco, Fisher-Price, Mattel

Neil Friedman is honored for both his major successes in children’s entertainment and his tireless dedication to helping shape the toy industry.

Friedman began his career at Lionel, where he rose through the ranks to become executive vice president and COO. He went on to work for Hasbro, Gerber, MCA/Universal and Tyco Preschool, where he had great success marketing Tickle Me Elmo. After Tyco was acquired by Mattel, Friedman became president of Fisher-Price Brands, which he established as a significant force in character branded toys. He was named president of Mattel Brands after Mattel and Fisher-Price Brands merged, and served as president of U.S. Business for Toys “R” Us from 2011 to 2012.

Friedman has served as chairman of TIA and the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers' Association, as well as board director for the Harlem nonprofit Northside Center for Child Development. In 2002 Friedman received the Mamie Award, an honor that celebrates human service. Friedman also received the 2001 U.S.-China Foundation for International Exchanges' Marco Polo Award, which recognizes visionary corporate friends of China and is the highest honor given to a foreign business leader.

Eddy GoldfarbEddy Goldfarb
Inducted, 2003

Company: Eddy Goldfarb and Associates
Greatest Hits: Yakkity Yak Teeth, Busy Biddy, Merry-Go-Sip, Shark Attack, Kerplunk


Over his long and illustrious career in the toy industry, Eddy Goldfarb, a toy inventor extraordinaire, has proven himself prolific: he has put close to 800 items on the market in a variety of toy categories, and has received nearly 300 patents. Some of his most successful toys include: Yakkity Yak Teeth, Busy Biddy, Merry-Go-Sip, Shark Attack, Arcade Basketball, Quiz Way, Kerplunk, Baby Beans and LEGO Creator Game.

Goldfarb’s childhood dream of inventing toys intensified while on active duty in the U.S. Navy shortly after WWII began. He had volunteered for submarine duty and spent the war at sea in the Pacific. In his own words, "In that kind of environment, I relied even more on my imagination and spent whatever spare time there was inventing and planning for the future."

Goldfarb went on to enjoy a successful career as an independent toy inventor and game designer. His creativity and innovation is matched only by his kind spirit, for which he is known throughout the toy industry.

Antonio PasinAntonio Pasin
Inducted, 2003

Company: Radio Flyer
Greatest Hits: Little Red Wagons

An ambitious, penniless young boy from Italy, Antonio Pasin, like his grandfather and father, was an old-world wood craftsman. His dream was to own his own business in the Land of Opportunity.

By 1917 Pasin was handcrafting wooden wagons in a rented, one-room Chicago shop by night, and selling them by day out of a battered suitcase. He named his first wagon, the Liberty Coaster, after the Statue of Liberty. By 1930 Pasin had adopted the mass production technologies of the auto industry to create the first affordable steel wagon, earning him the nickname "Little Ford.” Inspired by the invention of the radio and the wonder of flight, Pasin named his company Radio Flyer.

Pasin's Little Red Wagons have hauled more cargo than any other child-powered vehicle in American history and have become American icons. Radio Flyer is still a family-owned and operated business, and Pasin's passion for craftsmanship continues to inspire the design and quality of Radio Flyer toys.

David A. MillerDavid A. Miller
Inducted, 2002

David Miller’s 12 years as president of the Toy Industry Association and eight years as chairman of the International Council of Toy Industries resulted in fundamental changes in the way TIA members conduct business.
Miller’s career in the toy industry began in 1967 when he and his brother Richard founded Eden Toys. Together, they built the company into a leading manufacturer of infants’ and preschool stuffed toys for the department store and specialty market. The company won worldwide recognition with its licensed products: Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit and Paddington Bear.

In 1990 Miller became president of the Toy Manufacturers Association, which became TIA. As president, he pioneered national and international efforts to curry favor for accepting China into the World Trade Organization and granting it permanent Most Favored Nation status in the U.S. He was a vocal and effective advocate of NAFTA and zero tariffs for toys, and the hands-on programs he established became the template for safety and ethical manufacturing standards in the U.S. and around the world. He also played an important role in the development and success of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Toy Design Program.

Betty M. JamesBetty M. James
Inducted, 2001

Company: James Industries
Greatest Hits: Slinky

Leadership, foresight and business acumen enabled Betty James to take a struggling company in 1945 and produce what would become one of the country's classic toys - the Slinky.

It was James who gave her husband’s 1943 invention it’s now world-recognized name, and it was James who took the corporate reins after her husband left James Industries to move to Bolivia. During her more than 50 years as president and CEO, she developed unique brand extensions of the Slinky toy, as well as expanded the company to include a variety of traditional children's playthings.

Hailed as one of the original leaders among women business owners, James combined a profound business savvy, sharp instinct for quality manufacturing and true heart. Her commitment and perseverance have allowed children around the world the opportunity to relish the ingenuity and pure fun of a Slinky. In her lifetime, 300 million Slinkys, including the rainbow-hued plastic models and Slinky Dogs, were sold. 

Beatrice Alexander BehrmanBeatrice Alexander Behrman
Inducted, 2000

Company: Madame Alexander Doll Company
Greatest Hits: Cissy, Scarlet O’Hara, Dionne quintuplets, Heidi, Little Women dolls

Best known as Madame Alexander, this American legend brought her dreams to life as the premier American doll maker of the 20th Century.

Behrman grew up in an apartment above her father’s doll hospital, and at the age of 28 began her own doll company. A leader in the industry, Behrman developed highly innovative products: in the 1930s she introduced the first dolls based on licensed characters; in the 1940s she unveiled the first dolls to have eyes that opened and closed; in 1947, using new technology, she oversaw the creation of the first dolls made of hard plastic; and in 1955, her company introduced Cissy, the first full-figured, high-heeled fashion doll, four years before the creation of Barbie. 

Behrman is recognized worldwide as an entrepreneur who revolutionized doll manufacturing in this country, and continues to serve as an inspiration for all those who follow in her path.

Fred Ertl, Jr.Fred Ertl, Jr.
Inducted, 2000

Company: Ertle Company
Greatest Hits: Ertle farm replicas

Recognizing fantasy and play as core elements of a successful toy company, Fred Ertl, Jr. masterfully combined these with farm replicas to grow the renowned Ertl Company, started by his father in 1945.

Ertl joined the company, then headquartered in the basement of his family’s Iowa home, at the young age of 15, and began taking on active management at 18 years old. His uncanny business savvy contributed to the company's early success in licensing and international market expansion. Ertl Company is best known for its die-cast metal alloy scale models of farm equipment and vehicles, and today are highly sought-after collectible items.   

Ertl’s leadership in toy safety helped generate an industry-wide shift, resulting in the development of the first toy safety standard. He also created the Toy Manufacturers of America Safety Standards Committee, and is recognized for his commitment to protecting children throughout the world.

Michael GoldsteinMichael Goldstein
Inducted, 1999

Company: Toys“R”Us

Michael Goldstein had a long and notable career with Toys“R”Us. Between 1983 and 2001, he served as Chief Financial Officer, then Chief Executive Officer, until ultimately, being named Chairman.

As the leader of Toys“R”Us, Goldstein brought to the company innovative merchandising ideas, guiding its rise to the world’s largest retailer of children’s products. His unique marketing style and personal approach to business forged many partnerships with toy companies large and small.

Throughout Goldstein’s career at Toys“R”Us, children in need were always his top priority. Through his selfless charitable work with various children’s causes, he helped make a difference in the lives of many.

Jeffrey BreslowJeffrey Breslow, 1943
Howard Morrison, 1932
Rouben Terzian, 1939
Inducted, 1998

Company: Marvin Glass and Associates
Greatest Hits:  Guesstures, Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash, California Roller Baby, The Animal

In 1967 Jeffrey Breslow, Howard Morrison and Rouben Terzian joined the legendary Marvin Glass and Associates, which marked the start of a 31-year collaboration that has led to the creation and design of some of the industry’s most successful toy and game products.

In 1988 the three established Breslow Morrison Terzian and Associates to continue their tradition of excellence. Their best selling products include: The Animal, Ants in the Pants, Guesstures, Brain Warp, California Roller Baby, Real Talking Bubba, Masterpiece, My Size Barbie, Casey Cartwheel, Jennie Gymnast, Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash, and many more.

Russell L. WenksternRussell L. Wenkstern
Inducted, 1998

Company: Tonka Toys
Greatest Hits: Tonka Dump Truck

As president and CEO of Tonka Toys from 1961 to 1977, Russ Wenkstern brought the company, which in 1952 had one small factory in a schoolhouse, to worldwide prominence by 1974. He turned Tonka into the largest volume manufacturer of vehicles of any type in the world, and insisted that Tonka trucks be the safest and most durable toys of their time, a tradition that continues today.

Wenkstern helped develop what became one of the nation’s most popular toys: the Tonka dump truck, which alone brought in $15 million in sales. Under his guidance, Tonka became one of the first U.S. toy manufacturers to expand internationally, yet remained a company where employee loyalty was the hallmark of its success.

Thomas J. KalinskeThomas J. Kalinske
Inducted, 1997

Company: Mattel, Universal Matchbox, Sega, Leapfrog

Since entering the toy industry in 1972, Thomas Kalinske has helped build many successful brands and companies.

Kalinske has served as president and/or CEO of several major toy companies, including Mattel from 1985 and 1987, Universal Matchbox Group from 1987 to 1990, Sega of America from 1990 to 1996, and Leapfrog Enterprises from 1997 to 2006. At Mattel, Kalinske oversaw the transformation of Barbie and Hot Wheels into major international brands, as well as Mattel’s foray into the preschool toy market. He successfully restructured Universal Matchbox and rebuilt the Matchbox brand while at the company’s helm, and during his tenure at Sega, Kalinske was instrumental in instituting an industry-wide video game rating system. He also established the Sega Foundation, which supports children’s health and education organizations.   

A respected consumer electronics veteran and entrepreneur, Kalinske sat on the board of directors of Toy Manufacturers of America for 12 years.

Howard MooreHoward Moore
Inducted, 1997

Company: Toys“R”Us, Moore’s Toy Stores, Toy Barn Stores, Toy Town USA

A legendary merchandiser, Howard Moore has had a major influence on the way toy companies develop and market their products.

He joined Toys“R”Us in 1984 as Executive Vice President and General Merchandise Manager. His focus on strategic planning, product selection and merchandising helped the company flourish. Between 1984 and 1990, when Moore retired, sales increased from $480 million to $4.8 billion. He sat on the Toys“R”Us Board of Directors from 1984 until 2000.

In addition to his notable contributions at Toys“R”Us, Moore is honored for his entrepreneurism. He founded Moore’s Toy Stores, Toy Barn Stores and Toy Town, USA, which was eventually purchased by Lionel Corporation. He also established Howard Moore Associates, a consulting firm specializing in marketing, product licensing, packaging and merchandising.

Sy ZivSy Ziv
Inducted, 1997

Company: Toys“R”Us

Sy Ziv provided great assistance with the concept development of Toys“R”Us, and later had a major impact on the toy chain’s domestic and international growth. Throughout his 26-year career at Toys“R”Us, he made contributions to nearly every facet of the toy business. His guidance helped small companies stay in business and many manufacturers to achieve personal and corporate success.

A previous Fellow of Brandeis University, he served on the institution’s President’s Council and received the university’s 1980 Community Service Award.

Richard E. GreyRichard E. Grey
Inducted, 1996

Company: Tyco

Richard Grey joined his father’s sales and marketing firm in 1958, when its client Tyco was a small maker of model trains. Grey would go on to oversee the transformation of Tyco into a multi-million business.  
Named president of Tyco in 1973 and chairman in 1991, he led the company’s growth through product development, acquisitions and aggressive marketing, increasing sales from $20 million in 1973 to more than $800 million in 1997, when he retired. In 1992 Tyco became the third largest U.S. toymaker with a broad range of toys, including radio control cars, activity toys, games, Matchbox cars and preschool toys.

Grey was a board member of Toy Manufacturers of America from 1979 to 1985, and served as chairman of TMA from 1982 to 1983.

John W. AmermanJohn W. Amerman
Inducted, 1995

Company: Mattel
Greatest Hits: Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, Disney Princesses

John Amerman was named CEO of Mattel in 1987, and proceeded to engineer a comprehensive program that turned the struggling company around in one year.

Amerman cut costs, reorganized management, and focused on internal product development, strategic acquisitions and international expansion. Under his leadership, Mattel attained record financial performance, and went on to become the world’s largest toy maker.

Thanks to Amerman’s emphasis on building core products, sales from the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands more than tripled during his tenure. In honor of Barbie's 30th anniversary in 1989, the doll made the cover of Smithsonian Magazine, and brand sales increased to almost half of the company’s $1.85 billion sales over the subsequent five years. Amerman also oversaw the exclusive licensing rights for several Disney movie character products, including Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and the Disney Princesses. In 1993, Amerman spearheaded the major acquisition of Fisher-Price. He retired in 1997, leaving a legacy of strengthening Mattel’s position as a worldwide toy industry leader.

Alan G. HassenfeldAlan G. Hassenfeld
Inducted, 1994

Company: Hasbro

With a firm commitment to corporate social responsibility, Alan Hassenfeld has led the successful family business he grew up in to new heights.

Hassenfeld officially began his career at Hasbro in 1970, and proceeded to work his way up the ranks of the business established by his grandfather in 1923. As former chairman and CEO of Hasbro, Hassenfeld has diversified the company’s portfolio of companies and expanded international operations while initiating a singular brand of corporate activism designed to improve the lives of children. He is co-chair of the Hasbro Children’s Hospital Advisory Council, has served as chairman of Families First, and has led joint efforts by corporate executives and elected officials to end childhood hunger.

His vision and enthusiastic support of industry, community and charitable causes has set a standard of leadership for generations to come.

Aaron LockerAaron Locker
Inducted, 1993

Company: Toy Manufacturers of America

Over the course of four decades, Aaron Locker became the heart and soul of Toy Manufacturers of America and the institutional memory of its board of directors. As general counsel to TMA, his name became synonymous with product safety as he guided the association through the maze of government regulation. His forceful and articulate advocacy of members’ interests helped to establish the American toy industry’s leadership role worldwide.

Albert SteinerAlbert Steiner
Inducted, 1993

Company: Kenner Products Company
Greatest Hits: Play-Doh, Baby Alive, The Six Million Dollar Man, Easy Bake Oven, Star Wars

Over the course of four decades, Aaron Locker became the heart and soul of Toy Manufacturers of America and the institutional memory of its board of directors. As general counsel to TMA, his name became synonymous with product safety as he guided the association through the maze of government regulation. His forceful and articulate advocacy of members’ interests helped to establish the American toy industry’s leadership role worldwide.

Jim HensonJim Henson
Inducted, 1992

Company: The Jim Henson Company
Greatest Hits: Muppets

Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets, not only revolutionized televised puppetry but created a cast of characters that continue to touch the lives of children around the world.

Early in his career, Henson began experimenting with new puppetry techniques. At a time when most puppets were carved out of wood, Henson began crafting his characters from flexible, fabric-covered foam rubber to give his puppets a greater range of expression. While most marionettes’ arms were controlled by string, Henson used rods to increase his puppets’ mobility, and coordinated their mouth movements with the dialogue to further imbue his characters with life-like qualities. 

Kermit the Frog, performed by Henson, made his first appearance in 1954 in a televised puppet show called Sam and Friends, which Henson created as a high school freshman. In 1969 he was asked to join Sesame Street, where the beloved characters of Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Cookie Monster, Bert and Ernie, and Big Bird came to life. In 1976 the Muppet Show aired, introducing Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great and Fozzie Bear.
Henson was not only a visionary puppeteer but also an Oscar-nominated film director and an Emmy Award-winning television producer. He is honored as both himself and Kermit the Frog on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Bernard LoomisBernard Loomis
Inducted, 1992

Company: Mattel, General Mills, Hasbro, Bernard Loomis, Inc.
Greatest Hits: Chatty Cathy, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Star Wars

Bernard Loomis was a toy developer and marketer, known for his work promoting Chatty Cathy, Barbie, Hot Wheels, Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and Star Wars. During his notable career, Loomis worked for the toy industry giants: Mattel, General Mills and Hasbro. Each business became the world’s largest toy company during Loomis’ tenure there.

He brought to market an incomparable portfolio of blockbuster toy hits. While at Mattel, in 1968 he became the first to develop a TV cartoon based on a toy line – Hot Wheels.  At General Mills, Loomis helped develop The Six Million Dollar Man, Play-Doh and Baby Alive, and had the foresight to pursue licensing for a Star Wars toy line. He marketed an “early bird” Star Wars set by selling empty boxes at Christmas with the promise that customers would be the first to receive the toys once production was complete. An extraordinary marketer, he proved that breaking rules was often the best rule of all.

Loomis worked at Hasbro from 1984 until 1988, at which time he founded his own development firm, Bernard Loomis, Inc. Among his products was the girls’ toy line Quints.

Henry H. CoordsHenry H. Coords
Inducted, 1991

Company: Fisher-Price

While at the helm of Fisher-Price, Henry Coords is credited with enhancing the company’s reputation for quality and play value, and establishing the business as an international leader in the toy industry.

Coords led the company for 14 years, and oversaw a marked increase in factory construction and employee hiring to keep pace with Fisher-Price’s soaring sales. In 1966 the business brought in $25 million in sales. By 1980, revenue had reached $300 million. 

As president of Toy Manufacturers of America, he championed the industry’s product safety standard emulated by countries around the world. In 1981 he was appointed executive vice president of corporate relations for the National Alliance of Business, a nonprofit group that works to provide jobs and training for the poor.  

Stephen D. HassenfeldStephen D. Hassenfeld
Inducted, 1991

Company: Hasbro

Stephen Hassenfeld devoted his life to the firm founded by his family, building Hasbro into the largest toy manufacturer in the world. With vision, dedication and a gift for managing the talents of others, he expanded the company’s broad product spectrum through astute acquisitions and bolstered new toy lines with unrivaled marketing expertise.

Hassenfeld took control of Hasbro after the death of his father in 1980. In an eight-year time span, Hassenfeld increased Hasbro’s profitability from $102.3 million to $1.3 billion. Forbes Magazine rated Hasbro number one in a thousand-corporation survey of increased value during the first half of the 20th century. Hassenfeld also oversaw the acquisition of Milton Bradley in 1984.

A passionate believer in giving back to the community, in 1983 he established the Hasbro Children’s Foundation and Hasbro Charitable Trust, helping to improve children’s quality of life for generations to come.

Charles LazarusCharles Lazarus
Inducted, 1990

Company: Toys“R”Us

Charles Lazarus, founder of Toys“R”Us, Inc., thought of a new retailing format and changed the way baby goods were sold in the U.S., and the world. He opened his first store in 1948 and added toys in response to customer requests.

Inspired by the food supermarkets concepts, he opened self-service, cash only, bring your own bags or boxes, along with low prices and a large selection. He copied the grocery store concept, including large rolling carts and no delivery.

Importantly, he learned from his customers that toys would be bought year round, not just Christmas, and new babies got new toys.

According to Lazarus, the real basis for success is, in addition to constantly thinking ahead, is to listen to the customers.

Charles LazarusEdward P. Parker
Inducted, 1990

Company: Parker Brothers
Greatest Hits: Monopoly

When Atlantic City threatened to change the names of its Baltic and Mediterranean Avenues in the 1970s, Edward Parker sprang to eloquent defense of his company’s best-selling Monopoly game, which features squares named after real estate in the seashore resort.

As chairman of Parker Brothers, vice president of General Mills and director and president of Toy Manufacturers of America, he brought to the toy industry vast management and production experience, a commitment to quality and a love of the games business. Devoted to his family and the Massachusetts community where he lived and worked, Parker will be remembered for his willingness to serve his neighbors, his country and his industry.

Ole Kirk ChristiansenOle Kirk Christiansen
Inducted, 1989

Company: LEGO
Greatest Hits: LEGO bricks

When the world monetary crisis reached Denmark in the 1930’s, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a rural carpenter, struggled to make ends meet. Sensing an ever-present demand for children’s products, he began crafting wooden toys. 

Those toys were the foundation on which LEGO was built. Christiansen established the company in 1934, naming his venture after the Danish words “Leg Godt,” meaning “play well.” Christensen ran his factory using the motto “only the best is worthy,” and his toys soon earned a worldwide reputation for quality. In the 1940s the company began producing plastic toys, initiating a move toward the LEGO bricks that we know and love today.    

An unshakable self-confidence grounded in religious faith helped sustain Christensen through the early years, and his dedication to profound, simple principles is an inspiration to all.

Ruth and Elliot HandlerRuth and Elliot Handler
Inducted, 1989

Company: Mattel
Greatest Hits: Barbie

In 1945 Elliot Handler and his business partner Matt Matson founded Mattel, named by combining “Matt” and “Elliot.” Their original product was not toys, however, but picture frames. When the dollhouses that Handler and Matson built from frame scraps began to sell better than the frames, Mattel became a dedicated toy manufacturer.

Elliot’s wife Ruth played an instrumental role in propelling the business to fame and fortune. After seeing their daughter Barbara pretend that her paper dolls were adults, in 1959 she created a 3-dimensional doll with an adult body and named it Barbie, after her daughter. It took some convincing the Mattel executives, but after they ran TV ads for Barbie during Disney’s new Mickey Mouse Club television show, sales shot through the roof.       

The introduction of Barbie proved that the Handlers truly had their finger on the pulse of American society, and while many other product lines that the Handlers developed are thriving today, Barbie is still Mattel’s biggest success. The business techniques that the Handlers refined have helped shape the modern toy industry.

Benjamin F. MichtomBenjamin F. Michtom
Inducted, 1989

Company: Ideal Toy and Novelty Company
Greatest Hits: Shirley Temple doll, Toni doll

One of the most talented toy promoters the industry has ever seen, Ben Michtom propelled the Ideal Toy and Novelty Company, started by his father after inventing the Teddy Bear, to the forefront of the industry.

One of the first to make use of licensed products, Michtom inspired the rage for the Shirley Temple doll in the early 1970s. Upon perfecting the celebrity formula, he saw to the success of many other personality dolls, including Deanna Durbin, Fanny Brice, Charlie McCarthy and Judy Garland. The Toni doll - whose fashions were designed by a dozen Paris couturiers and documented in imaginative advertising - also became a huge sensation, as well as a textbook example of a product within a product.

A board member of Toy Manufacturers of America and chairman of the Publicity Committee, Michtom also headed the Doll Association and Stuffed Toy Association for many years. Tireless in his efforts to promote the toy industry, he will be remembered for his trademark enthusiasm and originality.

Walter W. ArmatysWalter W. Armatys
Inducted, 1988

Company: Toy Manufacturers of America

As executive director of Toy Manufacturers of America, Walter Armatys served the industry trade association with professionalism, honor and meticulous attention to detail. He managed the Toy Fair in New York for many years, was instrumental in setting up the TMA safety and logistics seminars, and handled organization of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. After retiring he continued as secretary of the International Council of Toy Industries. In 30 years of service to the association and the industry he loved, he demonstrated how considerable the contributions of an individual can be.

Morey W. KaschMorey W. Kasch
Inducted, 1988

Company: M. W. Kasch Company

Morey Kasch devoted nearly 40 years of his life to his toy business, which bears not only his name but also the unmistakable imprint of a true entrepreneur and innovator. Customer needs were always the highest priority at M.W. Kasch Company. Kasch designed special programs to meet specific requirements, including individualized product mix, customized promotions and speedy delivery. Under his leadership, the company pioneered data processing and materials handling networks among wholesalers and even shared its knowledge with competitors setting up their own inventory maintenance systems. A consummate wholesaler, Kasch added a rich and memorable chapter to the history of the toy industry.

James J. Shea, Sr.James J. Shea, Sr.
Inducted, 1988

Company: Milton Bradley
Greatest Hits: The Game of Life, Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Twister

With a rare genius for solving complex problems, James Shea took the helm of the faltering Milton Bradley Company and navigated it through worldwide economic crises to a position of eminence among game makers.

Taking advantage of the advent of television, in 1959 Shea oversaw the release of Concentration, a memory game based on an NBC television show of the same name. Over the course of his 30-year-tenure at the company, he also introduced such classic games as The Game of Life, Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders and Twister.

Business was but one of his passions; Shea also was dedicated to civic and philanthropic activities, and served as an outstanding example of responsibility and humanity in the toy industry.

Joshua Lionel CowenJoshua Lionel Cowen
Inducted, 1987

Company: Lionel Corporation
Greatest Hits: Lionel trains

The millions of children who have enjoyed Lionel trains have Joshua Cowen, co-founder of Lionel Corporation, to thank.

Cowen built his first toy train at the age of seven by attaching a small motor under a railroad flatcar model. However, his early career focused on producing flash lamps and fuses. It wasn’t until 1901 when Cowen sold his first electric train to a store owner to use as a window display that the trains took off. After numerous customer requests to purchase the display, the store owner returned the next day to order more trains. By the following year, Lionel was primarily a toy train manufacturer.

Cowen was well on his way to becoming the undisputed tycoon of the electric toy train industry. Lionel replicas, paralleling the growth and development of U.S. railroads, became the classic of toy trains and accessories, garnering admiration from model railroaders around the world for quality construction and authentic detailing. In 2006 Lionel’s electric train, together with the Easy Bake Oven, became the first electric toys to be inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Lionel remains the most enduring model train brand name in the country, and its products are cherished by collectors around the globe. 

Walt DisneyWalt Disney
Inducted, 1987

Company: Walt Disney
Greatest Hits: Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Bambi

Walt Disney was a pioneer, innovator and folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity is based on the ideals that his name represents: imagination, optimism and self-made success in the American tradition.

Together with his brother Roy he established Disney Brothers Studios in 1923, which over the decades grew from a small cartoon studio into the multi-billion dollar entertainment powerhouse it is today. Licensed merchandising began in 1929 with Disney’s first character sensation, Mickey Mouse, who first appeared on children’s writing tablets, then on children’s handkerchiefs and in doll form. Merchandising continued for Disney’s feature productions: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released in 1937, was the first-ever feature-length animated film, followed by Pinocchio(1940), Fantasia (1940),  Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Lady in the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and 101 Dalmatians (1961). In all, Disney produced more than 100 feature films.

Disney characters and the countless toys and children’s products they have inspired have become ingrained in American childhood, and have left a lasting mark on the toy industry at large.

George S. ParkerGeorge S. Parker
Inducted, 1986

Company: Parker Brothers
Greatest Hits: Monopoly, Ping Pong

How different the world of games might be if George Parker had followed his youthful ambition to become a journalist.

But in the late 1800s he turned his attentions to the toy industry. Believing that instead of emphasizing morals, games could be played for mere enjoyment, Parker’s designs were a marked divergence from traditional parlor games. He designed his first card game at the age of 16, and established his first company in 1883. Five years later, his brother joined the business and Parker Brothers was formed. 

The company grew to be highly profitable in the early 1900s with its card games, jigsaw puzzles and Ping Pong, for which it purchased the rights in the 1920s. While many languished during the Great Depression, Parker Brothers experienced its greatest Hits: Monopoly, launched in 1935.

After Parker’s death in 1952, the company produced beloved favorites like Clue, Risk and Sorry! and remained family-owned until 1968.

Charles S. RaizenCharles S. Raizen
Inducted, 1986

Company: Transogram Copmany
Greatest Hits: Little Country Doctor and Nurse Kit, Trik-Trac

Around the turn of the century, Charles Raizen took a summer job with an embroidery pattern manufacturer. While there, he discovered a unique way of transferring images using friction, which eventually became more popular as a toy than an embroidery pattern. In 1917, Raizen bought out the business and became president of the newly named Transogram company.  

Raizen established one of the first toy designer think-tanks, called the Toy Research Institute. He employed a child psychologist to aid in product testing and was the first to tout his products as “kid-tested” toys. The public's fascination with the Dionne quintuplets in the early 1930's gave rise to one of Transogram's best-remembered items - The Little Country Doctor and Nurse Kit, inspired by Dr. Daniel Defoe. A later introduction, Trik-Trac, was also an immediate best-seller.

An eloquent public speaker, Raizen served as president of the Toy Manufacturers’ Association in 1960.

Raymond P. WagnerRaymond P. Wagner
Inducted, 1986

Company: Mattel


One of the industry's most memorable figures, Ray Wagner was a rare blend of magnetism and talent, playing all his roles in the world of toys with brilliance and style. Major retail experience at Sears paved the way to his success at Mattel, where he was president from 1973 to 1983. The sustained success of such lines as Barbie, See ëN Say and numerous others reveal his creative, marketing and management skill, also broadly reflected in the many industry professionals whom he trained. Wagner served as chairman of Toy Manufacturers of America in 1981 and served as the association’s spokesperson on important issues.

Herman G. FisherHerman G. Fisher
Inducted, 1985

Company: Fisher-Price
Greatest Hits: Little People, Chatter Telephone  

A guiding force in the realm of preschool playthings, Herman Fisher co-founded Fisher-Price Toys in 1930, and served as president and chairman from then until 1969.

Launching a new venture under the cloud of the Great Depressing was bold, but the decision paid off: the company’s first manufactured toys proved highly popular at the American International Toy Fair and quickly captured consumers’ attention.  

Fisher was instrumental in transforming the enterprise into the world’s largest and most respected manufacturer of preschool toys. He followed a strict creed that all of his toys should have intrinsic play value, ingenuity, strong construction, good value for the money, and action features. Fisher applied equally high standards to all of his endeavors, including his tenure as the president of Toy Manufacturers of America in 1938, at which time he led the campaign to establish the association’s Statistical Committee.

Jerome M. FryerJerome M. Fryer
Inducted, 1985

Company: CBS Toys

From sales representative to president of CBS Toys, division of CBS Inc., Jerry Fryer’s career in the toy industry spanned a range of successful ventures. Fryer and his partner made the jump from sales to manufacturing by acquiring Samuel Gabriel Sons & Co. in 1950. His considerable entrepreneurial skill and knowledge of toys were evident as he expanded Gabriel Industries into a major corporation, adding other established names - such as Child Guidance, Creative Playthings, Gilbert, Gym-Dandy, Hubley, Ideal, Kohner and Wonder - into what would become CBS Toys.

A.C. GilbertA.C. Gilbert
Inducted, 1985

Company: A.C. Gilbert Company
Greatest Hits: Erector and Meccano sets

One of this country’s toy industry pioneers, A.C. Gilbert was a man of originality and vision. He held more than 150 patents, and some of the toys he created and manufactured through the A.C. Gilbert Company - like the perennially popular Erector construction sets - have been enjoyed by generation after generation of children.

The A. C. Gilbert Company, established in 1909, initially sold magician’s supplies, Gilbert being a magician himself. Over the years, the company would manufacture items ranging from microscopes to military aircraft used in World War II, but Gilbert’s toys, including Meccano construction sets, toy trains, chemistry sets, and most notably the Erector sets, left an indelible mark on the industry.  

Gilbert was a strong leader and an early proponent of spreading toy sales more evenly throughout the year. It was largely due to his determined effort and skill as an organizer that the industry’s first trade association, Toy Manufacturers of America, was established in 1916. Gilbert served as the first president of the new organization.

Marvin GlassMarvin Glass
Inducted, 1985

Company: Marvin Glass and Associates
Greatest Hits: Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, Lite Brite, Mouse Trap, Operation, Simon

Considered to be one of the world’s foremost toy designers, Marvin Glass founded in 1941 the first, and what was to become the largest, toy design studio in the world — Marvin Glass and Associates, which churned out classics like Mr. Machine, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, Lite Brite, Mouse Trap, Operation and Simon. 

Marvin Glass and Associates operated under a unique business model, whereby its designs and inventions were patented and licensed to manufacturers, who would pay running royalties. Glass wielded such industry clout that his company logo was printed on every game his employees invented and licensed.

Glass paved the way for independent designers to gain new acceptance within the toy industry, and the profusion of successful toys he brought to the marketplace serves as testimony to his innovative genius. 

Nathan GreenmanNathan Greenman
Inducted, 1985

Company: Greenman Brothers, Inc.

Preeminent in the business of toy wholesaling, Nat Greenman devoted his entire adult life to the toy industry. With his two brothers, he joined his father’s enterprise as a teenager and went on to be a major force behind the growth of Greenman Brothers, Inc., one of the largest toy wholesalers in the United States. As the company’s chief merchant in its years of greatest development, he met and influenced many of the top figures from across the toy industry. Greenman often shared his views as an unofficial voice of wholesalers, helping to shape toy distribution policy in the industry’s formative years. His formula of "strength through efficiency" also helped lay the groundwork for his own firm to evolve over time into a successful multifaceted operation.

Merrill L. HassenfeldMerrill L. Hassenfeld
Inducted, 1985

Company: Hasbro
Greatest Hits: Mr. Potato Head, G.J Joe

It was under the leadership of Merrill Hassenfeld, then-president of Hassenfeld Brothers (now Hasbro), that Mr. Potato Head, the first toy to be advertised on television, and G.I Joe, the industry’s first male action figure, were born.

Hassenfeld joined Hasbro in 1938 when the family business was still primarily producing school supplies. During World War II, he helped launch the company’s toy manufacturing arm with a line of doctor and nurse kits, and air raid warden’s sets. After the death of his father in 1943, Hassenfeld took the helm as president.

Louis MarxLouis Marx
Inducted, 1985

Company: Louis Marx and Company
Greatest Hits: Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots, Big Wheel tricycle

Louis Marx, nicknamed the “toy king of America,” owned Louis Marx and Company, the world’s largest toy manufacturing company in the 1950s and producer of iconic toys such as Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots and the Big Wheel tricycle, now in the National Toy Hall of Fame.

Marx enjoyed an auspicious start to his career. He graduated from high school at the age of 15, and by 20 was working as a plant manager for Ferdinand Strauss, a mechanical toy manufacturer. After serving two years in the army and another year as a salesman for a wooden toy manufacturer, where he increased company sales tenfold, Marx and his brother David established Louis Marx and Company in 1919. Three years later, at age 26, Marx was a millionaire. In 1955 he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine.  

Marx’s general philosophy was to offer quality toys at the lowest possible price, which solidified his product’s popularity with consumers. The company was especially known for its tin and plastic model cars; another of Marx’s epithets was “Henry Ford of the toy industry.” Louis Marx and Company was the first to mass-produce mechanical toys in the U.S., and many of its early wind-ups are valuable collectors’ items today.