Year Established: 1948
Current Value: $8.5 billion
Today, Mattel is best known for Barbie and Fisher-Price, so it might be hard to believe the product line began with picture frames and a meeting of the minds. In 1945, Elliot Handler and his wife Ruth partnered with Matt Matson, a former colleague, and constructed these picture frames out of a Southern California garage.
Soon the group created Mattel, inspired by the names Matt and El. Despite the success of the frames, Elliot began an artistic side gig: constructing dollhouse furniture out of the picture frame scraps.
Eventually, the doll-sized furniture sales overtook the sales of the picture frames, and the team decided to shift its focus to toys. The first Barbie doll debuted in 1959.