Barbie Doll

Barbie originally was a real person in the mid 1950?s and her name was Barbara (Barbie) Handler. Her parents Ruth and Elliot Handler, watched her play with dolls, which were at that time made of paper or cardboard, decided to make a three-dimensional female adult doll.

In the mid 1940?s, the young ambitious duo Ruth and Elliot Handler, owned a company that made wooden picture frames. Elliot and his partner Harold Mattson built the samples and Ruth was in charge of marketing them. Elliot began to use the scraps of wood from picture frames to make doll furniture. This was the beginning of their toy business.

It was in 1945 that Ruth and Elliot Handler joined with their close friend Harold Mattson to form a company that would be known for the most famous and successful doll ever created. This company would be named Mattel, MATT for Mattson, and EL for Elliot. Mattel continued to grow from a very profitable business into a corporate giant.

In the mid 1950?s, while visiting Switzerland, Ruth Handler purchased a German Lilli doll. She then spent lots of time designing a doll (Barbie) to resemble Lillie and even hired a clothing designer to make realistic clothes. The result was the Barbie Doll. It was in 1958 that the patent for Barbie was obtained and in 1959, Barbie doll would make her way to the New York Toy Show and receive a cool reception from the toy buyers at the American Toy Fair in New York City.

The doll was intended to be a teenage fashion doll. Over the years, Barbie’s voluptuous figure has sparked controversy. If she were human, her measurements would translate into a thirty-nine inch chest, twenty-one inch waist, and thirty-three inch hips.

Barbie has undergone a lot of changes over the years and has managed to keep up with current trends in hairstyles, makeup and clothing. She has been a teacher, astronaut, veterinarian, soldier, singer, flight attendant, and model. Barbie also keeps up with the latest technology - she got bendable legs in 1965 and her first computer in 1985.

She is a reflection of the history of fashion since her introduction to the toy market. Barbie has a universal appeal and collectors both young and old enjoy time spent and memories made with their dolls.