This Binghamton Toy Store Owner Helped Launch a Toy Empire
While her name wasn't tagged onto the official company name, one Binghamton business owner played a significant role in the creation of Fisher-Price.
Helen M. Schelle was born in 1893 in Piqua, Ohio but moved to New York as an adult where she would eventually land in Binghamton and become the owner and manager of the Penny Walker Toy Shop which was located downtown.
Schelle had a solid understanding of the toy industry along with a passion for creating quality toys for children and so it only makes sense that she would be approached to help launch what would grow to become one of the largest toy manufacturers in the world.
In 1930, Schelle was approached by two other entrepreneurs, Herman G. Fisher and Irving L. Price, and together, the three started the toy manufacturing company called Fisher-Price which would go on to become a leading brand in the toy industry.
Schelle was dedicated to creating toys that focused on child development, championing the concept of "play-tested" toys, which involved observing and testing how children interacted with the toys to ensure they were both fun and educational and both of those ideas would become a foundation for the success of Fisher-Price.
Although her name wasn't added to the company name along with Fisher and Price's names, Schelle's contributions to Fisher-Price are just as notable as she played a crucial role in the development and commercial success of the company, helping to secure funding and managing the operational aspects of the Fisher-Price company.
Many of the early Fisher-Price toys were born from ideas that were sparked by Schelle and Margaret Price, the wife of Irving Price, who worked together on the toy designs.
Schelle had a long career with Fisher-Price, retiring from the company in 1957. Following retirement, Schelle returned to her hometown of Piqua, Ohio where she died in 1984 at the age of 91.