Dec 13, 2013

Fisher Price

The holidays would not be the same without thinking of toys, and one of the largest toy makers is Fisher Price. The company is named after Herman Fisher and Irving Price. The original founders of the toy company back in 1930 were businessmen Herman Fisher and Irving Price, but also a children’s book author and illustrator named Margaret Evans Price, Irving's wife, and a toy store owner named Helen Schelle.

While the businessmen were instrumental in launching the company, it was actually the two women who collaborated on most of the company’s early and successful products, like Dr. Doodle, the duck push-pull toy that was based on a character from Margaret's books. Also, a lot of the early success of the company can be attributed to Helen Schelle, who had many connections in the incipient toy industry.

Fisher came from Pennsylvania and went to Penn State. If you visit the Penn State campus, you may have seen The Fisher Plaza, which was named after him. Before founding Fisher-Price, he worked as Vice President and General Manager of All Fair, Inc., a toy and game manufacturer. When Fisher and a group of investors (including Price) unsuccessfully tried to buy All Fair Inc., they decided to start their own company instead. Fisher is credited with coining the term “preschool toys” in 1934.

His partner, Irving Lanouette Price married into the wealthy Evans family of New York. His wife Margaret was a rich and well-known children’s author. Irving had a long career as an executive with Woolworth before retiring young and becoming Mayor of East Aurora, New York. His wealth helped start Fisher-Price.

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