Barbie Facts and History

Barbie Vs. Bratz
Barbie Vs. Bratz

Barbie facts and history are fascinating to read. This toy has given hours of enjoyment to girls since 1959.

Interesting Barbie Facts and History

The Barbie doll was named after a real person. The toy was invented by Ruth Handler, who was a cofounder of the Mattel toy company. Mrs. Handler named her creation after her daughter, Barbara.

Mrs. Handler was watching her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls and noticed that her daughter was treating her dolls like they were young adults. At that point, there wasn't a doll for girls to play with that had a more mature appearance. Mrs. Handler brought the idea of developing one to her husband, but Mattel was cool to the idea. The company didn't see that there was a market for this type of product.

Trip to Germany Leads to Barbie Doll Launch

In 1956, Mrs. Handler went on a trip to Germany. On an outing with her children, Barbara and Kenneth, she saw a doll in a store window that looked similar to the doll she had pictured. The version she saw was known as the Bild Lilli Doll. The Bild Lilli Doll was based on a comic strip called "Die Bild-Zeitung." The Lilli doll didn't look like a baby doll. Instead, she looked like a miniature adult. The comic strip character was a working class girl who was ambitious and took steps to get what she wanted.

Mrs. Handler bought three of the dolls she had seen and brought them home with her to the United States. She showed them to her husband and an engineer named Jack Ryan. Together, Handler and Ryan came up with their own version of the Lilli doll and renamed her "Barbie".

Barbie Makes Her Debut

Mrs. Handler's creation was introduced to the public at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The first Barbie doll wore a black and white striped bathing suit. The doll was available with blonde or brown hair, worn in a ponytail.

Barbie Controversy

Part of Barbie facts and history is the controversy that the new doll created when she was introduced to the buying public. The doll wasn't an instant hit, and Mrs. Handler was even told that little girls would not want to play with this type of doll. The assumption at that time was that girls wanted to play with baby dolls, not play with dolls that were teen fashion models. The popularity of the Barbie dolls proved the naysayers wrong.

Some Barbie Trivia

Here are some interesting Barbie facts:

  • Barbie's birthday is March 9, 1959.
  • Her full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  • If Barbie were a real woman, her measurements would be 36-18-38.
  • Ken was named after Ruth Handler's son.
  • The first Barbie doll with legs that could bend was introduced to the market in 1965.
  • Christie was the first African-American Barbie doll, and she was brought to market in 1968.
  • Barbie's eyes were adjusted in 1971 to have her looking straight ahead, as opposed to looking sideways.
  • Barbie is an animal lover who has had 38 pets over the years. Her animal companions have included cats, dogs, horses, and a lion cub.
  • Barbie collector editions are organized into four tiers: Pink (unlimited production), Silver (up to 50,000 units), Gold (up to 25,000 in production), and Platinum (up to 1,000 in production).
  • Three Barbie dolls are sold somewhere in the world every second.
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Barbie Facts and History