TAMPA (WFLA) — The first ever Barbie doll made its debut March 9, 1959 and sold for just $3.
America’s first mass produced toy doll was introduced to the country by Ruth Handler, who co-founded the toy making company Mattel, Inc. with her husband in 1945.
Here is the first commercial, which ran in 1959:
History.com says Barbie’s appearance was modeled after a German comic strip character named Lilli. The Lilli doll already existed and was sold as a gag gift for men in tobacco shops, until Mattel bought the rights to the doll and started marketing it to young children.
The doll was named after Handle’s daughter, Barbara, who History.com says inspired the creation of Barbie with her infatuation with playing make-believe with adult dolls rather than baby dolls.
For more information about the Barbie doll, click here.
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