Fisher-Price

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Fisher-Price, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Industry Toys
Founded 1930 (1930)
Founder(s) Herman Fisher
Irving Price
Margaret Evans Price
Helen Schelle
Headquarters East Aurora, New York, U.S.
Revenue DecreaseUS$2.16 billion (2011)
Parent Mattel
Website fisher-price.com

Fisher-Price is an American company that produces toys for infants and children, headquartered in East Aurora, New York. Fisher-Price has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel since 1993.

History[edit]

Founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Price's illustrator-artist wife Margaret Evans Price, and Helen Schelle, the name Fisher-Price was established by combining two of the three names. Fisher worked previously in manufacturing, selling and advertising games for a company in Churchville, New York. Price had retired from a major variety chain store, and Helen Schelle previously operated Penny Walker Toy Shop in Binghamton, New York. Fisher-Price’s fundamental toy-making principles centered on intrinsic play value, ingenuity, strong construction, good value for the money, and action. Early toys were made of heavy steel parts and ponderosa pine, which resisted splintering and held up well to heavy use. The details and charm were added with colorful lithographic labels.[1] Mrs. Price was the first Art Director and designed push-pull toys for the opening line, based on characters from her children's books.

In 1931, the three founders took 16 of their wooden toys to the American International Toy Fair in New York City and they quickly became a success. The first Fisher-Price toy ever sold was "Dr. Doodle" in 1931. (The same toy, in excellent condition, would be worth a considerable amount in today's collectibles market.)[2] In the early 1950s, Fisher-Price identified plastic as a material that could help the company incorporate longer-lasting decorations and brighter colors into its toys. "Buzzy Bee" was the first Fisher-Price toy to make use of plastic.[3] By the end of the 1950s, Fisher-Price manufactured 39 toys incorporating plastics.

During the 1960s, the Play Family (later known as Little People) product line was introduced and soon overtook the popularity of earlier toys. Herman Fisher retired at the age of 71 in 1969 and the Quaker Oats Company bought Fisher-Price the same year.

In 1991, Fisher-Price regained its independence from The Quaker Oats Company and became a publicly traded company. Two years later, in November 1993, Fisher-Price became a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel. A new management group set the company’s focus on basic, infant and preschool products and began expansion into international markets. By 1997 Mattel decided to market all of its preschool products under the Fisher-Price name.

Products[edit]

Fisher-Price has created approximately 5,000 different toys since the early 1930s. One of Fisher-Price’s best-known lines is Little People toys, which includes people and animal figures along with various play sets such as a house, farm, school, garage and vehicles. The figures, which originally were wooden peg-style characters, are now molded of plastic and have detailed features.[4]

In addition to Little People, some of the toys and toy brands that have remained popular for many years include Power Wheels, View-Master, Rescue Heroes, the Chatter Telephone, and the Rock-a-Stack. Other brands marketed under the Fisher-Price name include Disney, Sesame Street, Barney, Dora the Explorer and See 'n Say.

Fisher-Price also designs and sells infant care products and has begun developing electronic toys for preschoolers.

In 2009, Fisher-Price bought all toy rights to Thomas & Friends except for the Learning Curve Wooden products.

Toy recall[edit]

On August 2, 2007, Fisher-Price recalled close to a million toys, including the Dora the Explorer and Sesame Street toys because of possible hazards due to the toys being coated in lead-based paint.[5] Purchasers of Fisher-Price toys can get information on country specific recall details and share the facts about affected toys in their area by visiting Mattel Voluntary Safety Recall Facts.[6]

Cuddle and Coo doll controversy[edit]

In 2008, a doll called Little Mommy Real Loving Baby Cuddle and Coo was sold. In October of that year, some customers who had bought the doll complained that they could hear the doll saying "Islam is the light." Mattel stated that the only real word in the toy's vocabulary was "mama", and that resemblance to other phrases was imagined.[7]

Current brands and products[edit]

Baby Gear products[edit]

  • Baby Monitors
  • Booster Seats
  • Baby Bouncers
  • Car Seats
  • Entertainers & Activity Centers
  • High Chairs
  • Infant Seats
  • Play Yards
  • Rainforest Collection
  • Strollers
  • Baby Swings
  • Tubs & Potties

Historic brands & products[edit]

Video games[edit]

Starting in the 80s, seven games which carried the Fisher-Price name have been published by GameTek for the PC and the Commodore 64. In 1990, three of these titles were ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System:

  • Fun Flyer (1984)
  • Firehouse Rescue[8] (1988)
  • Little People Bowling Alley (1989)
  • School Bus Driver (1989)
  • My Grand Piano (1989)
  • Perfect Fit[9] (1990)
  • I Can Remember[10] (1990)

Other Fisher-Price products[edit]

Other Fisher-Price products include Activegear for families on the go, books, software, car travel accessories, footwear, infant carriers, music, and videos.

References[edit]

External links[edit]