TSR was a company formed as Tactical Studies Rules in 1972 by Gary Gygax and Don Kaye (and others later) to publish the rule set for the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. After several missteps, the company became debt laden and Gygax lost control.
However the new management failed to reverse the situation and the company's debt continued to increase. When combined with other problems such as poor sales in new lines and lax stock control the company came to the brink of insolvency.
TSR published a number of early roleplaying games including Dungeons & Dragons, Boot Hill, Gamma World, Top Secret, Empire of the Petal Throne, Star Frontiers, Indiana Jones and Marvel Super Heroes.
TSR also published a number of rules sets for other periods including the American west, World War II, and the Middle Ages (Chainmail, the rules set from which D&D evolved).
After initial success faded, the company would often turn to legal defenses of what it regarded as its intellectual property. In addition to this there were several legal cases brought regarding who had invented what within the company and the division of royalties. These actions reached their nadir when the company threatened to sue individuals supplying game material on Internet sites. The company was widely perceived to be attacking its own customers.
Wizards of the Coast, Inc. purchased the remainder of the company in 1997. (In 1999, Wizards of the Coast was purchased by Hasbro, Inc.)