History of Barbie Dolls

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  • Topic: Barbie
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  • Published : December 13, 2012
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Barbie Dolls
Barbie has been a BIG deal in the toy aisle. She's also morphed through a variety of careers, gained and lost friends, and acquired an amazing number of possessions. Barbie was the suggestion of Ruth Handler, wife of one of Mattel's co-founders, Elliot. Handler had noticed that her own daughter enjoyed playing with adult dolls as much as she did baby dolls. At that time, though, most adult dolls were paper or cardboard. Handler suggested an adult fashion doll to her husband. The all-male directors at Mattel were unreceptive, and felt there was no market. Undeterred, during a trip to Europe in 1956, she found a German doll named Bild Lilli was popular with adults and children alike. On her return to the States, Handler found a willing engineer and began to work on a new doll. Ruth Handler brought her version of a three- dimensional doll to life with the introduction of Barbie in 1959. Ruth named Barbie and Ken after her two children Barbra and Kenneth. Barbie was first sold at only $3.00. Today you can find Barbies at Target pricing $4.99 or higher. Ruth created a back story for Barbie; Barbie Millicent Roberts, of Willows, Wisconsin attended Willows High School. In the 1980’s the doll it’s self was made from vinyl or other plastics. In 1982, Mattel made “Magic Curl Barbie”, the first Mattel made Barbie that was black or white. Most of the 80’s Barbie doll had a darker skin complexion compared to now because the Mattel’s Barbie factory couldn’t make the skin any darker till 1986.

“Rising and falling of Barbie”

“Rising and falling of Barbie”
In the 1990’s Barbie kept growing. In 1994, Mattel marked Barbie’s 35th Anniversary by releasing their first Anniversary Barbie doll. Mattel decided to come out with a website so in 1996 barbie.com was established. Two years later in 1998, Mattel put out a Barbie CD-ROM. Just shy of 20th Century Barbie’s 40th Anniversary Barbie doll comes out. Within the early glory days of Barbie Doll collecting, Barbie herself grew more popular than Beanie Babies in the 1980’s(Vintage Barbie). Barbie dolls were considered a “good investment” (Vintage Barbie). The Modern Barbie as a collectible doll rose in value. The dull days in Barbie collecting ended with a sour note! In the 1990s the Barbie Doll market crashed. Barbie dolls ended up in discount bins and in thrift stores. See Figure1. Barbie’s were extremely popular on Craigslist and eBay to get rid of them (Stone). Some collectors complained of shortages and prices rose. Barbie was created as a role model. Barbie displayed life before marriage. She also taught women what was expected such as leading a balanced lifestyle and displaying independence. Barbie has more than 108 inspirational quotes such as, “Just like Barbie, even if she doesn’t want too” (Patten).

“Forgein Barbies”

“Forgein Barbies”

“Flight Time Barbie”

“Flight Time Barbie”
Barbie’s work habit is widely varied. In 1986 “Flight Time Barbie” was displayed in the National Air and Space Museum. See Figure 2.Later on in 1989 Barbie graduated from stewardess to the pilot. In 1992 Barbie was a Presidential Candidate. Barbie has been created as a business woman, rock and roll band leader, doctor, veterinarian, stay-at-home-mom, baby sitter and more. Barbie dolls fashion were modeled in many different nations. Barbie dolls have been sold in 35 different countries. See Figure 3.Mattel launched the World Collection of Barbie’s in 1980. The African American version of Ken came out in 1983. “A number of companies manufactured a collection of dark skinned dolls created primarily for Black children” (Coleman). In the 1990’s Mattel brought Barbie’s Asian friend, Kira and Hispanic Barbie’s to the market. Today Barbies are sold all over the world.

“1959 Barbie”

“1959 Barbie”
The very first Barbie presented in 1959 was wearing the now famous black-and-white striped swimsuit and the signature ponytail. See Figure 4.Barbie has been outfitted by more than 70...
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