Hot Wheels Inventor's Legacy Lives On

hot wheels, diecast cars
With more than 10,000 models, Hot Wheels are the enduring legacy of the late Mattel co-founder, Elliot Handler.

Elliot Handler might not be a household name. But most anyone with kids can tell you, Handler’s claim to fame — multiple versions of it — are sitting in the bottom of toy boxes, buried behind sofa cushions, deep in the pockets of backpacks and under the unsuspecting foot of an adult suddenly in pain.

Handler, inventor of Hot Wheels cars, died last week at his Southern California home. He was 95.

Handler, in fact, was likely more responsible for filling your toy boxes (and floors) than any other person out there. He co-founded Mattel in 1945 along with his wife Ruth and friend Matt Mattson. The company brought out the famed (and blamed) buxom dress-up doll Barbie in 1959.

Though affections towards Barbie cooled, along with sales, his Hot Wheels cars, die cast toys with cool designs and up-to-date models, continue to be popular. According to Autoweek, Mattel, under Handler’s leadership, cranked out 10,000 different Hot Wheels models for the past 43 years.

Photo:  Arturo de Alburnoz via flickr

Feeling nostalgic? Check out Babble’s historic trip through Fisher-Price’s Toddler Toys from 1930 – 2011!

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