corporate.mattel.com tells us: "It all began in a garage in 1945, as a collaboration between Ruth and Elliot Handler, and Harold “Matt” Matson. They were designers and engineers, whose collective focus on creativity and innovation forever changed how kids play. In the decades since, Mattel has grown into a leading global toy company and creator of franchises beloved by children and families around the world. A key to our success has been our ability to lead and respond to popular culture and play a key role in it, creating iconic toys and brands, shaping style and having societal impact. Below are some of our favorite moments from our rich history.
"1947: The Company’s first big hit is the Uke-A-Doodle, a child-sized instrument designed to make music more interactive and accessible. "1948: Mattel is incorporated with headquarters in Los Angeles. "1950: Magic 8 Ball is released, inspired by the inventor’s mother who was a clairvoyant. An average of 1 million are sold annually. "1955: Mattel begins television advertising through the Mickey Mouse Club, revolutionizing the way toys are marketed. "1957: The classic Snap-Lock Beads, Corn Popper, and Xylophone are introduced. The iconic toys still thrive in the Fisher-Price line today. "1959: Barbie is born. Ruth Handler is inspired by observing her daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls for hours, and recognizes the opportunity to champion and inspire girls... "1959: The Safety School Bus is introduced. "1960: Chatty Cathy is introduced with the voice of June Foray, a legendary voice actress. Chatty Cathy is the second most popular doll during the 60s behind Barbie. "1961: ...Chatter Telephone is introduced, calling out to toddlers to pull it along as it chatters and rolls its eyes. "1961: The Rock-A-Stack is introduced. Nearly 50 years and several design changes later, it continues to be a best-selling item within the Fisher-Price line. "1961: Ken is introduced as a boyfriend for Barbie. "1962: ...The first Barbie Dreamhouse. Barbie represents women in new ways, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. With its mid-century modern décor, girls can imagine entertaining friends or relaxing in their stylish living room. "1965: Barbie Astronaut goes to the moon. She gets there four years before Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first people to land on the moon. "1967: Major Matt Mason is introduced. His spacesuit is inspired by NASA prototypes released in the 1960s. "1968: Mattel introduces Christie, the first Black doll [in] the Barbie world. "1968: Hot Wheels is invented by a team of Mattel creators, which included a rocket scientist and a car designer. "1970: Hot Wheels brings drag racing back into pop culture with Snake & Mongoose. "1971: Malibu Barbie launches to reflect the updated fashion style of California culture with a forward-face glance to represent women’s empowerment. "1971: Uno is invented by Merle Robbins, a barber shop owner from Reading, Ohio. "1978: Mattel Children's Foundation is created, with a vision of making a difference in the lives of children in need around the world. "1979: With music at the forefront, the Fisher-Price Phonograph is able to withstand the roughest of play. "1980: Mattel introduces the first diverse line of dolls carrying the Barbie name. "1982:The first He-Man and the Masters of the Universe line of action figures is released. "1984: Beatles' star Ringo Starr joins Thomas & Friends series as narrator "1985: “We Girls Can Do Anything” campaign is launched. "1985: Day-to-Night Barbie breaks the glass ceiling as a CEO. "1986: Barbie joins an esteemed list of American icons painted by Andy Warhol. "1989: Thomas & Friends makes its U.S. debut on PBS. "1989: The world meets Polly Pocket. At 1-inch tall she lives in a miniature world all her own. "1990: Mattel moves into its current headquarters in El Segundo, California. "1991: Thomas & Friends’ 3rd season features George Carlin...for the U.S. audiences. "1992: Barbie first runs for president. She’s goes on to run 5 times. "1993: Fisher-Price is acquired by Mattel, adding to the brand’s incredible catalog of pre-school toys to Mattel’s portfolio. "1997: Little People goes through a design transformation to look more like real kids - bringing diversity and inclusion to the toys. "1997: After delighting parents and kids alike for almost 60 years, Mattel welcomes View-Master into the fold. "1997: Hot Wheels partners with NASCAR to bring racing legends Kyle Petty and Jack Baldwin to the brand and putting NASCAR-themed vehicles into kids’ hands for the first time. "1998: Mattel acquires American Girl. That same year, American Girl unveils its first experiential retail store in Chicago... "1998: Mattel begins a landmark collaboration with UCLA Health and becomes the proud namesake of UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. "1998: Barbie is inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame. "1998: Alec Baldwin narrated the 5th and 6th seasons of Thomas & Friends for the U.S. audiences. "1998:The first Thomas & Friends theme park. ‘Thomas Land,' opens in Fuji-Q Highland Theme Park in Japan. "2001: The first life-sized Hot Wheels car, the Twin Mill, is unveiled at the SEMA custom auto show in Las Vegas. "2001: American Girl debuts its first contemporary Girl of the Year character, Lindsey Bergman. "2004: American Girl launches its first made-for-TV movie based on historical character Samantha Parkington, played by Anna Sophia Robb "2010: Mattel launches Monster High, a new fashion doll line centered around the perfectly imperfect teenage children of the world’s most famous monsters. "2011: HIT Entertainment is acquired by Mattel, adding Thomas the Tank Engine, Barney, Bob the Builder, Wishbone and many more to Mattel’s catalog of brands. "2011: Hot Wheels smashes the world record for longest ramp-to-ramp distance jump at the 100th Anniversary of at the Indy 500, at a length of 332 feet. "2012: The Mattel Children’s Foundation partners with Barbie to create Ella, Friend of Barbie dolls to donate to organizations working with children experiencing hair loss from cancer, alopecia or any other medical condition. "2014: Mattel acquires MEGA Brands. It's the number 2 player in the overall building sets category and the number one player within the pre-school building sets category. "2015: View-Master gets a virtual reality reboot when Mattel partners with Google to use Google's Cardboard technology to bring everything from dinosaurs to historical monuments alive. "2016: With the background of the first woman presidential candidate, Barbie releases an all-female ticket with a President and Vice President doll set to inspire girls to believe they can be anything—including leader of the free world. "2016: Barbie Introduces New Body Types to better reflect the world girls see today, Barbie introduces three new body types: curvy, petite, and tall. "2018: American Girl launches Create Your Own, the ultimate experience in customization through millions of combinations, to further expand on its diverse and inclusive product offerings. "2018: Hot Wheels turns 50. Hot Wheels celebrates its continued status as the #1 selling toy in the world with the Hot Wheels Legends Tour. "2018: The Mattel Children’s Foundation launches the 1st Annual Global Day of Play. "2018: Thomas & Friends partners with the United Nations to introduce Sustainable Development Goals in content. "2019: For the first time ever Mattel launches its own comprehensive monster truck franchise, Hot Wheels Monster Trucks, with a full line of die-cast vehicles, playsets, consumer products and a national live-event tour called Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live. "2019: Barbie celebrates her 60th anniversary by honoring global role models and lighting up major landmarks in pink. "2019: Mattel launches Hot Wheels ID, the first-ever digital+physical mixed-play racing track system, featuring uniquely identifiable, NFC-enhanced die-cast cars. "2019: Mattel launches Creatable world, the world's first line of gender-neutral dolls. "2020: Hot Wheels marks two major milestones, producing its 8 billionth die-cast vehicle and topping $1 billion in annual revenue. "2020: Timed to World Art Day, Barbie launches a Basquiat doll featuring the art of the esteemed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. "2020: Thomas & Friends: The Royal Engine launches with a special on-camera introduction from Harry, The Duke of Sussex. "2020: Fisher-Price turns 90. From humble beginnings during the great depression, it has gone on to become a staple in the lives millions of kids. "2020: Play it Forward is launched as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its first campaign "Thank you Heroes" pays homage to the front line and medical workers that carried on bravely for the duration of the crisis. "2021: UNO™ celebrates its 50th anniversary with a yearlong lineup of products, partnerships, and celebratory events "2021: As part of Mattel’s broader sustainability strategy, Mattel PlayBack is launched: a toy takeback program with the aim of recovering and reusing materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products. "2021: Mattel becomes the first toy company to launch NFTs with the Hot Wheels NFT Garage series."