Mattel, Inc. is the world’s largest toy company based on revenue. The products it produces include Fisher Price, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys, Masters of the Universe, American Girl dolls, board games, and, in the early 1980s, video game consoles.
The company’s name is derived from Harold “Matt” Matson and Elliot Handler, who founded the company in 1945. Handler’s wife, Ruth Handler, later became president, and is credited with establishing the Barbie product line for the company in 1959. After the release of the Barbie doll, Mattel revolutionized the toy industry with its talking dolls and toys. Major successes in the 1960s with the talking Chatty Cathy doll in 1960 and See ‘N Say toys in 1965 moved Mattel to its position as the number one toymaker in America. Mattel closed its last factory in the United States of America, originally part of the Fisher-Price division, in 2002, outsourcing production to China, the beginning of a chain of events that led to a scandal involving lead contamination. On Friday, September 3, 2010 a small-scale “Flash Crash” appears to have occurred in Mattel shares which plunged 22% in pre-market trade for no apparent reason, only to recover shortly thereafter.