A Short History of Hasbro Toys

Hasbro are a well-known toy manufacturing firm. The company was founded by Henry and Helal Hassenfeld in 1923. Initially, the company dealt in textiles in a place called Hasbrouck Heights in New Jersey. But soon enough, the firm developed and began to expand into the manufacturing of pencil cases and other items for school children.

By the 1940s, the company had begun to produce toys. The first on the market was a doctor and nurse kit. But the first real success story was Mr. Potato Head, a toy we’re still familiar with to this day. Mr. Potato head came onto the market in 1952 after the Hassenfeld brothers bought the idea from George Lerner. Their next successful toy was G.I. Joe, one of the first male action figures. This was particularly significant in toy history, marketed because most little boys didn’t want to play with dolls. In 1968, the company officially changed its name to Hasbro Industries, re-branding itself on TV commercials with the phrase ‘Boy Oh Boy! It’s a Hasbro Toy!’

Hasbro continued to make and supply toys. The next huge success for the company was in 1982, when My Little Pony came onto the market, which was enormously popular with little girls across the globe, and continues to sell well to this day. Hasbro also bought the Milton Bradley Company in the 80s, meaning they acquired some already popular board games such as Twister, Yahtzee, and The Game of Life. The 80s were enormously profitable for Hasbro, and in 1984 the continued the profit making with the release of the Transformers figures. In 1991, Hasbro also bought out Parker Brothers, meaning they acquired one of the most popular games of all time, Monopoly.

Although they are a massively wealthy company, Hasbro continue to make its products in poorer countries where labourers are paid minimal salaries. Most of the manufacturing of Hasbro’s toys takes place in China. There have been investigations into the treatment of their workers, notably in 2007, when it was discovered that underage children were working in the factories. Further investigations found violations of employment forces, including compulsory overtime, abuse, and in some cases sexual harassment. Although Hasbro issued a statement ensuring their customers that they would take action, the factories were actually owned by third parties, so they had no real control over what happened there.

Other factories include one in Ireland and one in Massachusetts, but due to the amount of money they were saving at the Chinese factories, job cuts were rife. In 2006, the Irish factory laid off almost a third of its workers.

These days, Hasbro is one of the biggest manufacturers of board games because of its takeover bids of Waddingtons, Parker Brothers, Avalon hill, and Wizards of the Coast. All of these takeovers have happened since the eighties, and now Hasbro is a multimillion dollar corporation with success all over the world.

Other toys that are not in the board game category produced by Hasbro include the Easy-Bake Oven, Lite-Bright, Play-Doh, and Spirograph.

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