Mattel, Inc. is a toy company that produces many things, including Barbie dolls, board games, and, in the early 1980's, video game consoles. It was started in 1945 by founders Elliot Handler and Harold "Matt" Matson (hence the name 'matt-el'). Elliott Handler's wife Ruth Handler would later become president, and is credited with establishing the Barbie product line for the company in 1959.
The company originally produced picture frames and dollhouse accessories from picture frame scraps. With the success of their dollhouse accessories, the company turned its attention to toys. The company became a publicly owned company in 1960.
Both the Barbie and Ken dolls are named after the Handler's children.
An independent audit of Mattel, released on November 3, 1975, revealed that company officials had fabricated press releases and financial information to "maintain the appearance of continued corporate growth."
Mattel serves as the parent company for American Girl (formerly Pleasant Company) and Fisher-Price.