A doll that has adorned the shelves of every little girl all over the world has got to be the Barbie. Produced by Mattel Inc, these dolls are a major source of revenue for the company.
An American business woman, Ruth Handler (1916-2002), is said to be the creator of Barbie and the design of the doll was inspired from a German doll called Bild Lilli.
The idea of an adult bodied doll came to Ruth Handler as she watched her daughter Barbara play with paper dolls and often giving some of them adult roles. At the time, children's toys were replicas of infants.
Realizing that there could be a gap in the market, Ruth suggested the idea to her husband Elliot, co-founder of the Mattel toy company. But he, as well as the other director of Mattel did not show much enthusiasm with the idea.
In 1956, during a trip to Europe with her children, Barbara and Kenneth, Ruth found a German doll called Bild Lilli, which was exactly the kind of doll she had in mind. She purchased three of them, gave one to her daughter and took the other two back to Mattel. This German doll was based on a popular character that appeared in a comic strip drawn by Reinhard Beuthin for the newspaper Die Bild-Zeitung. Read more