At the American Toy Fair in New York city, Barbie made her debut today in 1959.
Eleven inches tall, with a waterfall of blond hair, Barbie was the first mass-produced toy doll in the United States with adult features. The woman behind Barbie was Rith Handler, who co-founded Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945. After seeing her young dauther ignore her baby dolls to play make-believe with paper dolls of adult women, Handler realized there was an important niche in the market for a toy that allowed little girls to imagine the future.
Barbie’s appearance was modeled on a doll named Lilli, based on a German comic strip character. Originally marketed as a racy gag gift to adult men in tobacco shops, the Lilli doll later became extremely popular with children.
A brief video of Barbie’s beginning plus a lot more information on her origins at the link above.
[tags]Today in history 1959 – Barbie debuts, Barbie’s 1959 beginnings[/tags]