Tag Archives: Hasbro

Kid Stuff: Play-Doh


Between 1955 and 2005, more than TWO BILLION cans of Play-Doh were sold. The Toy Industry named it to the Century of Toys list honoring the most important toys of the 20th century. Uploaded by childrensscrapstore.co.uk.

This eternal kid’s substance, this staple of second grades and day care centers, wasn’t created as a toy. It began its existence as: a wallpaper cleaner. Now, I don’t know exactly how a group of Cincinnati schoolchildren decided to play with wallpaper compound, but they did. And they liked it. They liked it a lot. So the Kutol Company of Cincinnati thought, Hmmm. And Play-Doh was born.

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In the scenario above, Play-Doh existed for over a decade before what became its primary reason for being was discovered. The owner’s son took the compound to an educational convention, where Woodward & Lothrop decided to carry it. Then Macy’s of New York followed. And Marshall Field’s of Chicago. And success was just a matter of time.

While there are some additions to the compound to make it more kid-friendly, its main ingredients are water, salt, and wheat flour. It’s clearly a successful formula – more than two billion cans of the stuff were sold between 1955 and 2005. And the Toy Industry Association named Play-Doh  to its Century of Toys list. I’m telling you, that’s got to be the most impressive wallpaper cleaner of all time…

Kid Stuff: Yahtzee

Like most popular games, Yahtzee is a combination of skill and luck. More than 50 million games are still sold around the world each year. Uploaded by ny-image0.etsy.com.

You roll those five dice, hoping that five of a kind will appear during three rolls. That’s a “Yahtzee” – the highest scoring play in a game that’s as popular now as it was when first introduced back in 1956.

The story is that a Canadian couple adapted the game from a couple of other dice games, and played it on their yacht with friends. They brought the idea to a man named Edwin Lowe, who bought the rights in exchange for 1000 copies of the game. Lowe owned the company that made the game until 1973, when it was sold to Milton Bradley. The game is now marketed by Hasbro (as it appears all toys are).

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The rules of the game are somewhat similar to poker, in that players try to get full houses, small and large straights, and four and five of a kind. The original marketing slogan was, “The game that makes you think while having fun.”

Hasbro says that 50 million Yahtzee games are sold worldwide each year. That’s pretty amazing. The game was included in the Toy Industry of America’s Century of Toys list.

Kid Stuff: Easy Bake Oven

Easy Bake Oven was created by Kenner, which was bought by General Mills, which sold the line to Tonka, which was bought by Hasbro. Nothing Easy about that. Uploaded by toyandtrain.com.

When introduced in 1963, the Easy Bake Oven looked like a conventional oven (well, if ovens came in turquoise), used a light bulb as a heat source, and more than 500,000 little girls got one that first year.

Kenner was eventually bought by General Mills, which then sold it to Tonka, which was then bought by Hasbro. Each version of the company loved the EBO, however, and has continued to manufacture it through the years.

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The shape of the EBO has changed to reflect changes in ovens. Today’s is designed like a microwave oven. Not only has the shape changed, but so have the accessories sold with the oven. A timer… a potato chip maker… a warming tray… a capability to make french fries and pizza.

Sure kids have burned their fingers. Yes, some were concerned with giving girls toys that made them act like girls. But you have to hand it to the Easy Bake Oven. When other fad toys have come and gone, the EBO was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2006.