Barbie (1959), Ruth Handler

Founded in 1945 by Harold Matson and Elliot Handler as a dollhouse furniture company, Mattel is the manufacturer of the original Barbie fashion doll. In the early 1950s, Elliot’s wife Ruth came up with the idea of an adult-bodied doll, the Barbie, named after her daughter Barbara. In 1956, she came across a toy doll made by German company Greiner & Hausser, called Bild-Lilli. Although working on a doll of their one, Mattel also bought the copyright and patent rights for the Bild-Lilli doll.

The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll’s clothes were created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson. The Barbie doll was an instant success: around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.

Why on Wikiconic?
Photo credits
© Mattel, Inc., El Segundo, California, US

Care has been taken to trace the ownership of any copyright material and to contact the owner. The author does not intend to infringe on anyone’s copyright for text, photos or otherwise. Anyone who feels that any item in these pages may have inadvertently breached their copyright should advise the author via the contact sheet, including a link to the page, so that appropriate remedial action can be taken.

More info

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.