The Barbie doll was invented in 1959 by Ruth Handler.
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The invention of Barbie begins when Ruth Handler had noted that her daughter Barbara, who was becoming a pre-teen, preferred playing with her infant paper dolls and giving them adult roles. She wanted to produce a plastic doll with an adult body but her husband and his husband business partner, Mr. Matson thought it wouldn't sell. But when the Handlers were on a European trip, Ruth Handler saw the German Bild Lilli doll (which was not meant for children at all; rather a gag gift for adults) in a Swiss shop and brought it home.
Once home, she reworked the design of the doll and re-named her Barbie after her daughter. Barbie debuted at the New York toy fair on March 9, 1959. Barbie became an instant success, rocketing the Handlers and their toy company toward fame and fortune. Subsequently they would add a boyfriend for Barbie named Ken, after Handler's son, Kenneth Handler and many other "friends and family" to Barbie's world.
Handler was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1970. She had a modified radical mastectomy, which was often used at the time to combat the disease, and because of difficulties in finding a good breast prosthesis, she decided to make her own. Handler went on to found a company, Ruthton Corp., formed by her and Peyton Massey, which manufactured a more realistic version of a woman's breast, called "Nearly Me".
Though the Handlers took a more hands-off approach to their company's business practice after resigning, they still kept creating more ideas. One project Handler took on in the 1980s was Barbie and the Rockers. She was credited as a writer of the 1987 film Barbie and the Rockers: Out of this World. Handler was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1997.
Barbie has become an idol towards the little girls from all over the world. The little girls wouldn't be having and/or playing this glamorous doll if it wasn't for the amazing Ruth Handler's stupendous creation of Barbie dolls!