Hasbro is an American toy and game company. It is one of the largest toy makers in the world, second only to the toy giant Mattel. Founded in 1923 as textile remnant company Hassenfeld Brothers, the firm moved into toy production in the late 1940s. Its first success as a toy company came in 1952, with the production of the Mr. Potato Head toy. In 1964, the company created the term "action figure" to market its new line of G.I. Joe toys. The company shortened its name to Hasbro in 1968. Other Hasbro hits include My Little Pony (1983), Transformers (1984), Furby (1998) and Pokemon (1999).
Hasbro has acquired a number of other toy companies, including the Milton Bradley Company and its Playskool label in 1984, CBS Toys and its Child Guidance label in 1985, Kenner and Parker Brothers in 1991, and Tiger Electronics in 1998. Child Dimension is also a Hasbro label.
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Hasbro is a toy company that bought Kenner in the 1990s. It currently makes all Star Wars action figures. Hasbro also manufactures a number of other Star Wars brands, including Galactic Heroes, Star Wars Transformers, and the Titanium Series.
Hasbro's most popular brand is their 3¾ inch action figures. Not all figures are this specific height—smaller characters such as Jedi Master Yoda, Astromech Droids and taller characters like Darth Vader are of a height that keeps them in scale with the majority of figures that are around 3¾ inches in height. As with the original vintage figures, Hasbro has had major success with these 3¾ inch range and has, over thirteen years, released seven different production ranges plus many special editions and vehicle pack-in figures.
Star Wars action figures on the 12-inch scale were released from 1995 to 2005. A variety of figures were released over the course of this line, including larger beast characters and smaller 6-inch characters. Multipacks were released as retail exclusives. Like the 3¾" scale playsets, the 12" figures were created by a different division within Hasbro from the regular 3¾" line, leading to some disparity between the quality and execution of each line. Whereas the 3¾" line kept pace or often set the trends for similar products of that scale, the 12" figures lagged behind the sculpting, articulation, painting, and fabric advancements made by competing lines of the same scale, even within Hasbro itself.
Collector interest waned and ultimately Hasbro gave up the license for Star Wars 12" figures, allowing the line to shift away from sales to children at mass retail and cater directly to the collector market. The license was procured by Sideshow Collectibles, whose direct marketing, limited production runs, premium packaging, quality execution and higher price points are in stark contrast to the approach of their predecessor.
In 1952, Hasbro first rose to fame with a little toy called Mr. Potato Head. You might have heard of it. The company went so far as to purchase advertising time for the toy on a newfangled invention called television. You might have heard of that, too.
In 1964, Hasbro had an even greater success with the original G.I. Joe toy designed by Don Levine, which caused Hassenfeld Bros. to grow to be one of the largest toy companies in the USA. In 1968, the company would change its name to "Hasbro Industries, Inc."
Through a series of importing licenses and spin-offs, G.I. Joe would ultimately lead to the Microman and Diaclone toylines by Japanese toymaker Takara, which in turn would lead to Hasbro's release of the original Transformers toyline in 1984.
In 1984, Hasbro would also buy out a competing toy company named Milton Bradley (MB), which whould result in the merged company briefly assuming the name "Hasbro Bradley, Inc." After the merger was completed, the company changed its name into simply "Hasbro, Inc." Milton Bradley's European facilities would also be used to manufacture the initial wave of Transformers toys to be released in Europe before the merger was completed. (See also: The Transformers (toyline)/Europe.)
In 1995, Hasbro transferred control of the Transformers franchise to its Kenner subsidiary, then phased out the Kenner brand in 2000.
Fandom's relationship with Hasbro is as paradoxical and confusing as our relationships with our parents. They are an incredible source of joy and happiness, as well as the focal point of rage and blame for pretty much everyone in the Transformers community. To much of the fandom, Hasbro's actual involvement in the Transformers franchise is rarely acknowledged when not negative. Many view their activities to subsist entirely of:
When they found the time to create and maintain a successful, celebrated franchise that was the basis of nearly 25 years of obsession and happiness for the exact same fans is unknown.