Marvin Glass and Associates (MGA) was a toy design and engineering firm based in Chicago. Marvin Glass (1914–1974) and his employees created some of the most successful toys and games of the twentieth century such as Mr. Machine, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots, Lite Brite, Ants in the Pants, Mouse Trap, Operation, Simon, Body Language, and the Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle.
Marvin Glass and Associates was founded in 1941. Its founder, Marvin Glass, was an entrepreneur and the creative force behind Marvin Glass and Associates. His salesmanship and uncanny ability to spark creativity in the designers he employed was unparalleled. In 1949, he licensed a "novelty item" to H. Fishlove & Company called Yakity Yak Talking Teeth. This item was invented by Eddy Goldfarb, who worked with Marvin Glass for a very short time after World War II.
The first big hit for Marvin Glass was Mr. Machine, a toy invented by a former watchmaker named Leo Kripak. A child could take Mr. Machine apart and put him back together. It was licensed to Ideal Toys and became such a hit that Lionel Weintraub, its president, made it his company mascot and featured it in many of Ideal's early TV ads. The company became so successful that Marvin Glass got his company logo printed on every package for the items it invented and licensed.
The organization's general counsel, James F. Coffee, and accountant Ernest Sonderling, were the architects of the successful business model whereby the designs and inventions were patented and licensed to various toy companies and manufacturers who would pay running royalties based on sales. Outside counsel, chairman and founder of the Intellectual Property Department at McDermott Will & Emery, Robert J. Schneider, was responsible for procuring the patents and protecting them from infringement. Mr. Schneider is currently co-chair of the Intellectual Property Department of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP.
Joseph M. Burck was a senior designer at Marvin Glass through the mid-1960s to early 1980s and invented or designed many of MGA's hottest items such as Inch Worm, Lite-Brite, Astrolite, Which Witch, Masterpiece, SSP Racers, Chu-Bops, and the Evel Knievel line of toys (Burck was Knievel's personal guest at the infamous Snake River Canyon jump.) Burck holds 10 US patents for items developed by MGA. Time Magazine named Lite-Brite one of the top 100 toys of all time.
Marvin Glass died in 1974. Two years later, managing partner Anson Isaacson, partner Joseph Callan and designer Kathy Dunn were shot and killed and two others seriously wounded at the company's offices in Chicago. The perpetrator was 33-year old Albert Keller, a designer suffering from paranoid delusions who then killed himself.
The company continued in operation until 1988. Several partners from Marvin Glass and Associates subsequently started Chicago-based Big Monster Toys.
Designs by manufacturer
- 1969 Sketch a Toon
- 1980 Chu-Bops
- 1972 Skittle Horseshoes
- 1973 Flip It
- 1969 Finders Keepers
- 1988 Smoochees
- 1965 James Bond 007 Action Toys
- 1965 American Flyer All Aboard Sets
- 1963 Ambush!
- 1967 That Kid Doll
- 1967 Lite Brite
- 1969 AstroLite, Astro Sound
- 1971 Inchworm, Alley Up
- 1973 Super Sunday Football
- 1974 Ricochet Racers
- 1988 C.O.P.s and Crooks
- 1962 Golferino (See also Milton Bradley)
- 1960 Mr. Machine
- 1961 Robot Commando
- 1962 Gaylord, Bop the Beetle, King Zor
- 1963 Mouse Trap
- 1964 Crazy Clock
- 1965 Fish Bait
- 1964 Clancy the Great
- 1965 Tigeroo Bike Siren
- 1966 Babysitter Game
- 1967 Careful
- 1968 Little Lost Baby
- 1969 Ants in the Pants
- 1970 Mr. Mad
- 1973 Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle
- 1977 Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Puppets & Trolley
- 1985 Rocks Bugs and Things
- 1963 Dandy the Lion
- 1964 Interior Decorator Set
- 1970 The Wall Walker
- 1970 SSP
- 1971 Smash Up Derby
- 1972 Blythe Doll
- 1975 Hugo Man of Thousand Faces
- 1970 Brink Ball
- 1970 Mad Marbles
- 1961 Great Garloo
- 1963 Penny the Poodle
- 1964 Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots
- 1964 Perils of Pauline (board game)
- 1972 Bops 'n Robbers
- 1973 Silly Sammy
- 1972 Big M-X
- 1974 Fighting Furies pirate action figures
- 1961 PopZaBall
- 1963 Jungle Hunt
- 1964 Time Bomb
- 1965 Mystery Date
- 1966 Mosquito (game)
- 1967 Fang Bang
- 1968 Sand Lot Slugger, Bucket of Fun
- 1969 Dynamite Shack
- 1970 Snoopy and the Red Baron; Which Witch?
- 1971 Stay Alive
- 1974 Body Language
- 1974 Trip Hammer
- 1979 SIMON
- 1968 Situation 4
- 1970 Mind Maze, Rattle Battle, The Tiny Tim of Beautiful Things, Twiddler
- 1971 Gnip Gnop, Masterpiece
- 1974 Tug Boat
- 1963 King of the Hill
- 1966 Thing Ding
- 1967 Clean Sweep
- 1968 Big Mouth
- 1972 Don't Blow Your Top
- 1974 Jack Be Nimble
- 1969 Humor Rumor
- Sharon M. Scott, Toys and American Culture: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2010), ISBN 978-0313351112, pp. 131-132. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- Stephen Van Dulken, American Inventions: A History of Curious, Extraordinary, and Just Plain Useful Patents (NYU Press, 2004), ISBN 978-0814788134, p. 38.Excerpts available at Google Books.
- "Glass still makes toys at age 57", UPI in Hendersonville Times-News, April 22, 1971.
- "Taft starts adding lawyers following Shefsky merger". January 2014.
- "All-TIME 100 Greatest Toys - TIME".
- "Chicago Man Kills 3, Shoots Himself", UPI in Milwaukee Journal, July 28, 1976.
- Jaume, Glenn (2017-06-04). "The History of Mouse Trap: Murder, Playboys and Plagiarism". Best Play. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
- "Palladium-Item (Richmond, Indiana) 29 Jul 1976, Thu Page 25". Palladium-Item. 1976-07-29. p. 25. Retrieved 2021-12-17.
- "Vintage 1973 HASBRO SUPER SUNDAY FOOTBALL GAME IN BOX COMPLETE MINT MEGA RARE | #1847499692". Worthpoint. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- "The Wall Walker By Kenner 1971 | #533941933". Worthpoint. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
- Coopee, Todd (5 July 2021). "Mad Marbles from Lakeside (1970)". ToyTales.ca.
- Video: WBBM Channel 2 Chicago News Feature story and interview of Marvin Glass (1972)
- Working at the Marvin Glass Studio - Recollections of a Former Employee by Erick Erickson
- Marvin Glass page at Boardgame Geek
- Photo: Marvin Glass (center) won't unveil a new toy to a buyer unless he signs a promise not to copy it. Left, engineer John Parks of Glass's staff.