Truly successful toy companies do not just make toys; they manufacture popular culture. Hasbro, Inc., which is the second-largest toymaker in the world, behind only Mattel Inc., certainly fits that description. From America's Action Hero to a plastic anthropomorphized potato to vehicles that transform into robots to the largest bird in the world, Hasbro toys are instantly recognized by millions of Americans. Hasbro makes G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, and Transformers, and owns licenses for Sesame Street characters. Thanks to numerous acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, it also makes Playskool and Romper Room preschool toys, Tonka trucks, Kenner's Nerf toys, and Cabbage Patch Kids (by way of Coleco); and has become dominant in the area of board games and puzzles through its ownership of Milton Bradley (maker of Scrabble and Parcheesi) and Parker Brothers (maker of Monopoly).
Hasbro traces its origin to an enterprise founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1923 by Henry, Hilal, and Herman Hassenfeld, brothers who had emigrated to the United States from Poland. The Hassenfeld brothers engaged in the textile remnant business, selling cloth leftovers. By the mid-1920s they were using them to make hat liners and pencil-box covers. Soon, with eight employees--all family members--they began making the boxes themselves, after realizing their popularity. In 1926 the company incorporated under the name Hassenfeld Brothers Incorporated.
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