Just before 1950, he designed and produced a first generation set of plastic face pieces. The push pin shaped noses, ears, eyes, and mouth parts could be pushed into fruits or vegetables to transform the food into playmates. Lerner finally sold the toy for $5,000, to a cereal company. The toys were planned to be a premium giveaway in cereal boxes. But when Lerner found a better deal offered by toy manufacturer Hassenfeld Brothers (now Hasbro), Lerner and the manufacturer bought the rights back for $7000. HasBro officially named the toy, Mr. Potato Head.
In 1964 and 1975 George Lerner’s original designs got their plastic head and size upgrades respectively, in order to comply with government issued safety regulations.
Lerner was also an inventor and made furniture and other toys.
- "Jews of the Week: George Lerner & The Hassenfeld Brother". Retrieved 2013-12-07.
- "GEORGE LERNER AND MR. POTATO HEAD". 21 July 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
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