Every little girl wanted to be a princess when she was young. This is indeed the case. They all have a little princess of their own: Barbie dolls.
Barbie is a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel and launched in March 1959. American businesswoman Ruth Handler is credited with the creation of the doll using a German doll called Bild Lilli as her inspiration. Barbie is the figurehead of a brand of Mattel dolls and accessories, including other family members and collectible dolls. Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for over sixty years, and has been the subject of numerous controversies and lawsuits, often involving parodies of the doll and her lifestyle.
- 2.The birth of Barbie
Ruth Handler watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls, and noticed that she often enjoyed giving them adult roles. At the time, most children’s toy dolls were representations of infants. Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Handler suggested the idea of an adult-bodied doll to her husband Elliot, a co-founder of the Mattel toy company, but he was unenthusiastic about the idea.
During a trip to Europe in 1956 with her children Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth Handler came across a German toy doll called Bild Lilli.The adult-figured doll was exactly what Handler had in mind, so she purchased three of them. She gave one to her daughter and took the others back to Mattel.
The Lilli doll was based on a popular character appearing in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Bild. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially sold to adults, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.
Upon her return to the United States, Handler redesigned the doll (with help from local inventor-designer Jack Ryan) and the doll was given a new name, Barbie, after Handler’s daughter Barbara. The doll made its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959.
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