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Barbie Dolls

Kids Learning October 12, 2013

Barbie Dolls

Barbie dolls have probably been on Christmas wish lists for several generations of girls. In fact Barbie has become a household name for many years. Who created the first concept of the Barbie doll?

The story started with the birth of Ruth Mosko in Denver Colarado in 1916. Ruth married Elliot Handler in 1938. Elliot Handler and his business partner Harold ‘Matt\” Matson formed the company Mattel. The name was created by a combination of their names ‘Matt-Ell\”. Mattel originally manufactured picture frames, but after making dolls furniture from scraps decided to focus on toy manufacturing for which Mattel is now famous.

Ruth Handler noticed that her young daughter Barbara was more interested in playing with adult dolls, than the baby dolls that were available at that time. While traveling in Europe she saw a German doll called ‘Lilli\’ which she bought for her daughter. The original ‘Lilli\’ doll was not a children\’s toy, but a joke style gift for men.

Mattel bought the marketing rights for ‘Lilli\’. They changed the doll\’s name to Barbie, named after Ruth\’s daughter Barbara. Barbie was first released for sale in the United States in 1959 and became a hot seller. Barbie\’s boyfriend ‘Ken\’ was introduced in 1960. Ken was named after Ruth\’s son Kenneth.

The Barbie doll was first displayed at the New York International American Toy Fair on March 9, 1959. This date became Barbie\’s official birthday .There is now a fictional biography of the life of ‘Barbie\’ with additional family and friends created and sold as separate dolls.

The first Barbie doll wore a black-and-white “zebra-striped” swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail with tightly-curled bangs. The dolls were available either as blonds or brunettes. In succeeding years, Barbie dolls were made available with other hair styles and colors. The doll was marketed as a “Teen-age Fashion Model”, so many fashions were available for her as well. Barbie’s wardrobe was designed by esteemed Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson, whose inspiration came from the fashion runways of Paris.

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