Pressman Toy Corporation, one of the world’s oldest family-owned toy and game companies, is celebrating 100 years of family playtime. Over the past century, Pressman Toy Co has seen great success with many best-selling games, including Rummikub and Mastermind. In addition, Pressman has paved the way for empowering women as leaders, especially for other leading companies within the industry.
Founded in 1922, Pressman expanded from classic games in eye-catching red boxes to focus on product licensing, developing and marketing best-selling games. Having started from humble beginnings working in his father’s novelty store, Jack Pressman worked his way to partner at the North American Toy Company, later to become J. Pressman & Company, proving his leadership ability when the company started to experience demand for one of their products, the Zellopiano, an original toy-size hybrid of a xylophone and a piano.
Another driving force in the company was Jack’s wife, Lynn Pressman. Following Jack’s death, Lynn took over as President in 1959, becoming one of the first female executives of a toy company. At the time, there were only a few women running companies within the industry, Lynn was one of three, including Ruth Handler who shared the leadership of Mattel with her husband and Beatrice Alexander who founded the Alexander Doll Company.
Lynn led the way in advertising toys and games on television, pioneering the development of tie-ins to popular television shows and stars. She was known for her elaborate theme parties and Barnum-style publicity stunts. One of her notable publicity activities centered around building buzz for “Names and Faces” and “Things and Places,” two new memory games. With a nod to the game’s core experience, she arranged for an elephant to appear in front of the Toy Building in Manhattan during the annual Toy Fair, which was a highly innovative and unforgettable experience during that time.
In 1977, Lynn handed over her role as President to her and Jack’s son, Jim Pressman. Jim took the already successful company and skyrocketed the trajectory of the Pressman brand through the licensing of the home version of the TV show, Wheel of Fortune.
Jim noted, “Within a year, we had shipped two million units of the standard game, which was enough to make it the number one game in the country! It was a historic moment for the company! As President, I went on to license more than a dozen games from TV shows.”
Since that milestone, Pressman introduced millions of Americans to the joys of innovative game experiences all while promoting global learning with its STEM and educational products that encourage critical thinking, sequencing, problem-solving and other fundamental skills. The current Pressman collection ranges from exciting licensed products, puzzles, family games, skill-and-action toys, and more.
In 2014, Jim Pressman sold the company to Goliath Group after 37 years of leading one of the most innovative companies in the toy industry.
“Goliath is proud of Pressman’s 100 years of rich history of creating unmatched game experiences that have provided happiness to so many families over the years,” said Jochanan Golad, CEO of Goliath Group. “Pressman understands the fundamentals that both drive success in the toy industry and touch children’s lives. We look forward to continuing the legacy that can only be measured in smiles.”
To commemorate this milestone, Goliath Group is partnering with board game cafes to provide them with Pressman’s best-selling games, including Rummikub, Tri-Ominos, Mastermind, and Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Pressman is encouraging families everywhere to take part in the celebration by setting aside time to connect over their favorite board game and share these special moments on social media using #PressmanGameNight starting November 28th.
For those that are interested in learning more about the Pressman family story, Jim Pressman and his wife Donna Pressman have written A Century of American Toys & Games: The Story of Pressman Toy (Abbeville Press, Nov. 29), a new book with never-before-shared stories from Pressman’s 100-year legacy.
Pressman Toy games are available for purchase at national and local retailers. To learn more or to go shopping, visit https://www.pressmantoy.com.