History of the Barbie Doll

Topics: Barbie, Bild Lilli doll, Ruth Handler Pages: 3 (1061 words) Published: November 21, 2010
What toy has everything anyone could ever ask for? (Pause for 2 seconds) If you are thinking of Barbie, then you are correct. Barbie was my favorite toy as a child and it still is for many little girls today. Today, I am going to talk about how Barbie was designed, how she has changed over the years, and how Barbie affects American culture. Here is Barbie’s story. In 1930, a young girl fell in love with a boy. The girl had high hopes of going off to college to become a success woman with a real job in the real world. Her parents weren’t very ecstatic because it wasn’t traditional for a girl to go off to college and not get married and raise a family. She goes to college and also marries the boy she fell in love with in high school. Who are these love birds? They are Ruth and Elliot Handler and they raised two kids, Barbie and Ken. Ruth and Elliot Handler were small business owners making wooden picture frames. Elliot began to use the scraps of wood from the pictures frames to make doll furniture and this became the beginning of their toy business. In 1945, Ruth and Elliot joined their close friend, Harold Mattson to form the company named Mattel which grew into a corporate giant. Well visiting Switzerland, Ruth purchased a German Bild Lilli doll. Lilli was hard plastic with molded on shoes and earrings, her hair was long and pulled back into a ponytail, and a wide variety of outfit choices for her. Ruth was instantly inspired by the Lilli doll and knew exactly how she wanted Barbie to look like. Ruth hired Charlotte Johnson, a fashion designer, to create Barbie’s wardrobe. In 1958, the patent for Barbie was obtained. Barbie would be long limbed, shapely and beautiful and only 11 ½” tall. Ruth and Elliot would name the new fashion doll after their own daughter, Barbie. Barbie’s soon to be boyfriend, Ken, was also named after their son. Barbie made her first appearance in 1959 at the New York Toy Show appearing in a black and white striped swimsuit and...
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