The Creation Of BarbieRuth Handler (creator of Barbie) and Elliot Handler (co-founder of Mattel).

No one thought a plastic doll with an adult figure body would be such a success. Selling at a rate of two dolls per minute, Barbie has become one of the top selling toys every year since its creation in 1959. Up until Barbie came around, dolls were made with a childlike image. The mastermind behind the creation of this superstar doll is Ruth Handler, wife of Mattel’s co-founder, Elliot Handler. Her idea was inspired after watching her young daughter play with paper dolls. She noticed that her little girl gave her dolls grown-up roles, and that’s when it triggered her—a teenage looking doll that little girls could dream their futures through. She went to Mattel with her idea, but was turned down. While visiting Europe, Ruth came across a doll that was everything she had envisioned. Lilli Blond was her name. Lilli Blond-The male toy Barbie was modeled after. Lilli was a German pornographic caricature during post-WW2 era that was targeted at men with her hourglass figure, skimpy outfits, and considerably large breast.

When she returned from her trip she brought Lilli with her to show Mattel that this type of doll was possible. Uncertain of the new product, Mattel gave the doll a chance. Ruth named Barbie after her daughter Barbara. Barbie was shaped after Lilli, but with some exceptions. She had no nipples and was targeted at little girls instead of men. On a human scale, the 11 ¾” doll has 39-18-33 measurements. Since her clothes had to be hand-made it was best to keep her proportion like that of the Lilli doll.

Barbie made her first debut at New York’s annual Toy Fair in 1959, in her trademark The first Barbie, 1959. black and white swimsuit. Barbie was the first doll of its kind in the U.S. and critics questioned whether consumers would buy it. Despite toy buyers reactions Mattel went on to market their new doll on TV, which soon became the craze of every little girl in America. “In 1959, its first year, 351,000 Barbie dolls were sold at $3 each -- a new sales record.”
(The Image of Us All)

By popular demand Mattel later gave Barbie a mate. He was named after the Handler’s other child, Ken. As the years progressed, new family and friends were added to Barbie’s life—Midge, Skipper, Becky, and many others. She’s quite a popular girl/doll!

Through the decades, Barbie has undergone serious changes. Barbie's can been considered a minuture collection of fashion through the past four decades. This sense of style didn't come about on its own. Charlotte Johnson was her first fashion designer. Since 1959, Barbie's had over 500 makeovers. Today’s Barbie is not like the first Barbie. As style changes so does Barbie. Not only has her fashion been constantly altered, but so have her features. Barbie has come off as being the super girl, one who could pursue whatever career she likes. Barbie’s been a doctor, an aerobics instructor, a princess, a ballerina…she’s been everything!