On this date in History .... 1959:
Barbie is displayed for the first time at the American Toy Fair in New York. She was the first mass-produced doll in the U.S. with adult features.
The co-founder of Mattel,
Ruth Handler, realized there was a niche to be filled in the toy market when
she observed her daughter throwing aside baby dolls to play with
Mattel became a sponsor of “The Mickey Mouse
Club” show on TV, Mattel became the first toy company to target and create
commercials for children.
By 1961, the high demand for Barbie practically
forced Mattel to create a boyfriend for her. Handler named him “Ken” after her
Barbie endured a lot of pro and con controversy. On the one hand, she was the first material
girl with her Dream House, Dream Car and extensive wardrobe. On the other hand, she was a role model that
broke the stereotype of the 1950s woman with her multitude of jobs that even
broke gender barriers, such as astronaut and doctor.
Since the first Barbie hit the market, over
800 million Barbie family members have been sold around the world.