It is always interesting exploring the history and origin of a global brand, especially when that brand is Fisher-Price and they have been impacting the lives of our children for decades. If you’ve ever been in the vicinity of a small child, you’ve probably tripped over something made by Fisher-Price. The company has specialized in imagination-stirring and captivating little minds since 1930. Check out some interesting Fisher-Price facts below.
1. IT ALL STARTED IN 1930
Fisher-Price was founded in East Aurora, New York, in 1930, by Herman G. Fisher, Irving L. Price, and Helen M. Schelle. While Price and Schelle had worked in retail businesses that featured toys among their inventory, Fisher brought to the group his experience in the advertising and sale of games. All three proved adept at knowing what children liked and were committed to the idea that the public would appreciate high quality toys. Though the founders knew little about the actual manufacture of toys, they reasoned that popular products would have, according to the company’s first catalog, “intrinsic play value, ingenuity, strong construction, good value for the money and action.
By 1976, Fisher-Price had diversified into three different businesses. While the majority of its business still lay in preschool products for children 18 months through 4 years, the company also marketed a line of toys for children aged four to nine years and another line for infants. The newest additions to the company’s toy lines were the 1974 introduction of dolls, the 1975 introduction of the Adventure Series, which included Adventure People for early grade school children, and the 1976 introduction of the Play Family Hospital for preschoolers.
2. THEY STORED TOYS IN A FUNERAL HOME.
While Fisher-Price was not an immediate cash cow—it lost most of that $100,000 investment early on—by the mid-1930s the company was on firmer footing. During the holiday seasons, the surplus of toys made for Christmas demand were stored in a local funeral home that rented out space to the toymaker.
3. THEY PIONEERED THE PLAY LAB.
In 1961, Fisher-Price decided to formalize what most toy companies should have already known: Focus group testing should consist of tots. Their Play Lab invites kids to interact with new product designs to assess their playability, ease of use, and creative spark. Roughly 1200 ideas are tested every year.
4. AN EARLY TOY CAN FETCH R110 000.
The next time you’re at a yard sale, keep an eye out for Push Cart Pete, one of the company’s earliest pull toys made out of Ponderosa pine. Debuting in 1936, it’s rare enough to command R110 000 on the collectible market. If you can find a Donald and Donna Duck pair from 1937—Fisher-Price licensed Disney characters early on—you could score around R60 000. Looks like I’ll be on the hunt for one of these gems!
Take a look at this awesome Fisher-Price timeline: http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/ourstory/how-it-began/index.html#desc