Ted Kiesewetter, Founder of International Playthings, Passes Away at 82

Ted KiesewetterMay 28, 2019 | The Toy Association has learned that Ted Kiesewetter, a toy industry veteran and founder of International Playthings (now Epoch Everlasting Play), passed away May 24. He was 82 years old.

Kiesewetter, who launched International Playthings in 1967, was an avid supporter of the specialty toy market and early supporter of the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA). Over the course of his career at International Playthings, Kiesewetter introduced brands such as Ravensburger, Quercetti, and Viking to the U.S. market and reintroduced Calico Critters into the specialty toy market. Kiesewetter also developed the preschool brand Kidoozie.

He supported the industry as a co-founder of Playing for Keeps (now an initiative of the Association of Children’s Museums), to promote healthy play with products that focus on the features of the child’s play rather than the features of the toy.

Kiesewetter retired from the toy industry in 2006, following the sale of the company to Grand Toys International. (The business was later bought by Epoch Co., the parent company to Epoch Everlasting Play.)

ASTRA honored Kiesewetter with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

He is survived by his wife Laura, and daughters Jackie and Anita.

Memorial services have not yet been scheduled.