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February 23, 2011


Jeremiah Balik

Thanks for the great read Mary...

Michelle Spelman

Wonderful stories Mary!

Did you remember to list your own family?! I remember you talking about your mother making toys for you and I know I've seen your son helping you at Chitag.

We can't help but involve the kids when we work in the biz. My boys have been involved from day one - serving as the inspiration, playtesting, brainstorming, critiquing designs, working in the warehouse, learning about CASHFLOW ;) and developing a level of patience and understanding that is uncommon for their age - because a startup family toy/game business does not operate 9-5 but rather 24/7.

I'm pretty sure I'm breeding at least one toymaker in the bunch and the others will either carve out their own place in the biz when they grow up, or they will run the other way and try out for Wimbledon. :-)

Thank you so much for this tribute to the American Toy Family. Well done!

Jill Gaynor

Mary, I had no idea how many second (third and fourth) generation families were in the toy and game industry! It is an honor to be part of this group.Thank you for writing this article and bringing us all together. Jill

Fred Lifschutz

In the early forties my mother got a job as a book keeper in a bead factoory making belts from beads. One day the owner approached my mother asking her since she new the customers from her position to go out & try to sell a new product which was a wooden dog on a platform made out of beads & when pressed beneath moved in different directions. The item was called "Happy Dog" & it became the hottest toy of the year. After the company came out with more items they told my mopther to go back to her job as a book keeper as they hired a professional toy salesman. The year was 1948 The company was Kohner Bros. My mom left & set up a showroom at the Hotel Breslin which at the time had many showrooms on the first 3 floors.
One of the items introduced by my mom was Paint by Number sets. I was fifteen at the time & helped by carrying samples as she called on the many accounts in NYC, NJ & Phila
I am still selling toys & love what i'm doing

jeroen demoen

Hmm My mother at 68 still designs toys as a full time job, my sister and brother also work in the toy industry and I together with my wife have our own company. It's a nice addiction.

hal monchik

monchik family....shepher distributors.....a family run wholesaler..since 1945.

Larry Jones

Great article Mary. If all of the industry people came out of the woodwork there would be hundreds of stories. I brought my son into our invention business (California R&D Center) during the early '70s and groomed him to take over the business that I had built since the mid '60s. We were one of the original west coast inventor teams during those days as the only others were Marvin Glass and Eddie Goldfarb who had just left Marvin and started his own company with Irwin Benko. We placed products with almost every toy company and my son Steve loved it so much he had to go to college at the Art Center in Pasadena with designing toys in mind. I have met so many of these inventors over the years including most of the ones you mentioned. I actually presented products to Merrell Hasenfeld (Alan & Steve's pop)and to Lionel Weintraub and to Elliott & Ruth Handler. Then to see the kids come along was outstanding.

Mary Couzin

Michelle, one day our boys may work together!

Jill, Fred, Jeroen, Hal and Larry, I have added your family names. Thank you very much for sharing your stories. This is one of the many things that makes this industry so wonderful.

Wayne Helfer

Include Nylint Toys.

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