|First Barbie (1959)--available as brunette or blond|
So where did Barbie come from, you might ask? Who invented this one of a kind doll?
The lady with the nice smile on the left, Ruth Handler, was the inventor, and she was one savvy business woman. She and her husband were co-founders of the Mattel Toy Company.....that's right, Mattel.
One day, as the story is told, Ruth was watching her daughter play paper dolls with some friends. She noticed the girls were playacting scenes from the future, not the present, and began to imagine a doll they might like. Certain she was onto something big, she modeled the doll after a popular doll in Germany (initially sold to adults) that she had discovered on a trip. She named the doll Barbie after her daughter Barbara. (The Ken doll invented later was named after her son).
Barbie was introduced to the public at the 1959 American International Toy Fair in New York City on March 9, 1959 (which happens to be Barbie's official birthday). The doll was an instant success, in fact so successful, Mattel was soon listed as a Fortune 500 company.
Not everyone liked the new doll. Some parents voiced concerns about the doll's adult chest, which clearly showed a woman's breasts. Ruth was adamant the doll have an adult appearance, but did agree to one change in 1971. Barbie's eyes, instead of casting a "demure sideways glance," were changed to face forward.
Meanwhile, Barbie's measurements were somewhere around height 6 feet, weight 100 pounds, and body size 39-19-33. In 1997, in light of criticism that Barbie's body shape was unrealistic and young girls might try to emulate the doll, Barbie's waistline was made larger.
Barbie has been sold in over 150 countries and remains popular to this day. The average girl age 3-11 owns at least 10 dolls.
How about you? Are you a Barbie doll fan?
Copyright 2015 © Sharon Marie Himsl