Mattel began in 1945, as a garage workshop belonging to Harold Matson and Elliot Handler. Their business name "Mattel" was a combination of the letters of their last and first names, respectively. Matson soon sold his share of the company, and the Handlers, Ruth and Elliot, took full control. Mattel's first products were picture frames, however, Elliot started making dollhouse furniture from picture frame scraps. That proved to be such a success that Mattel switched to making nothing but toys. Mattel first big-seller was the "Uka-a-doodle", a toy ukulele. It was the first in line of musical toys.
In 1948, the Mattel Corporation was formally incorporated in California. In 1955, Mattel changed toy marketing forever, by acquiring the rights to produce the popular "Mickey Mouse Club" products. The cross-marketing promotion became common practise for future toy companies.