Creators of American Girl, Etch a Sketch to be Enshrined in Toy Hall of Fame

New York, NY (OnFocus) – This year’s inductees into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame include some icons of American culture.

William C. Killgallon, who transformed the Etch A Sketch into a household name, and Pleasant T. Rowland, creator of American Girl dolls, were among four icons in the history of toys nominated to be enshrined in the Toy Hall of Fame.

Information on the inductees, courtesy of  

 William C. Killgallon

toy-industry-hall-of-fame-inductee-william-killgallonWilliam C. Killgallon joined the Ohio Art Company in 1969 and served as president and CEO from 1978 until his retirement in 2016, capping a 47-year run, and today serves as chairman of the board. During his tenure, Killgallon oversaw the development and marketing of hundreds of toys, including the company’s most famous brand, Etch A Sketch, which enjoyed a renaissance under his leadership. Because of his stewardship, Etch A Sketch continues to be one of the world’s most iconic toy brands. Killgallon’s commitment to quality and safety was second to none; to ensure products met the exacting and ever-changing toy safety standards, he consistently held the manufacturing team and engineers to the highest standards, instituting an internal program that bundled all retailer requirements, focusing on the most stringent ones and using them as the basis for all toys. This approach soon became the industry standard. Colleagues have called him a man of high character, as well as a valued business partner who respected honest competition and an advocate for policies and conduct that benefited the entire toy industry.

Pleasant T. Rowland

toy-industry-hall-of-fame-inductee-pleasant-rowlandPleasant T. Rowland founded American Girl after a trip to Colonial Williamsburg in 1986, when she combined her love of American history and her commitment to high-quality educational products to create The American Girls Collection, a line of historically accurate books, dolls, and accessories representing pivotal times in America’s past. As a trailblazer in creating purposeful play, Pleasant expanded her vision with the launch of a contemporary line, now called Truly Me, that celebrates girls’ individuality with dolls featuring a diverse array of face shapes, skin tones, eye colors, and hairstyles, as well as a line of advice books, Smart Girl’s Guide, which has sold 12 million copies. She went on to create the Girl of the Year line, featuring contemporary characters who experience modern-day issues, and Bitty Baby, a nurturing line of diverse baby dolls. Mattel acquired the brand in 1998 and shortly thereafter, Rowland fulfilled her dream of opening an experiential retail store, American Girl Place-Chicago, where fans could shop the product in person and immerse themselves in unique dining, theatre, and salon experiences with their dolls. To date, American Girl has welcomed 100+ million visitors to its popular stores and has been recognized as a premier model for experiential retail.

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]