Henry Orenstein, who is credited as the man behind Hasbro’s Transformers toys explosion in the early 1980s, has passed away in his home in New Jersey at the age of 98. According to Comicbook, no cause of death has been reported.
Henry Orenstein’s Life
Born in Hrubieszów, Poland on October 13, 1923, Henryk Orenstein was raised in the Jewish faith as tensions in Europe began to boil over as Orenstein got older. He and his family were forced to hide from the Nazis in 1939 until eventually turning themselves in due to a lack of food and water. Shortly thereafter, in 1942 his parents were loaded onto a truck, and taken to a cemetery where they were subsequently shot and killed. Orenstein and his three brothers were transferred from camp to camp until one day he heard, over the intercom, that they needed scientists to fill research positions.
He saw this as a way to survive so Orenstein signed his brother and himself up, even though neither was a scientist. Orenstein himself has hinted to the notion that the Nazi commanders knew that neither of them was scientists, but fortunately, allowed them to stay on as opposed to joining the Nazi German infantry.
Out of the four boys that were made orphans, only three survived; Henry, Fred, and Sam. His other brother Felix and his only sister Hanka died in the ladder days of their confinement. After the war was finally over all three boys boarded a United States destroyer ship and came to the U.S. to live with their uncle who lived in New York.
Orenstein initially worked in a canned food factory before he started to make dolls like the ones he saw in the windows while walking with his uncle. This led to him making his first million and starting Topper Toys. Then he started working at Hasbro where he gave them the idea of taking odd-looking Diaclone and Micro Change toys and rebranding them into the Transformers toys we all know today.
On top of that, he held over 100 patents and was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame. Poker was also something he excelled in not only as a player but as a game-changer. Whenever you watch a poker tournament and are able to see any player’s hole cards due to a piece of glass, that was brought into play by Orenstein. The Poker Hall of Fame thought so highly of his play and innovations that they also inducted him into their Hall of Fame.