Barbie logo
Barbie logo 1959
Name: "Barbie"

Full name: "Barbara Millicent Roberts"

Category: Toys

Subcategory: Dolls

Inventor: Ruth Marianna Handler (née Mosko)

Production start: March 9, 1959 - Japan (debut in New York)

Ruth Handler
Ruth M. Handler
Denver, Nov. 4, 1916
– L.A., Apr. 27, 2002,
the inventor
of the Barbie doll
Producer: Mattel Inc. (founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson, Elliot Handler and Ruth Handler)

First price: 3.00 USD

Features: The first Barbie doll wore a black and white zebra striped swimsuit and signature topknot ponytail, and was available as either a blonde or brunette. The doll was marketed as a "Teen-age Fashion Model," with her clothes created by Mattel fashion designer Charlotte Johnson.
The first Barbie dolls were manufactured in Japan, with their clothes hand-stitched by Japanese homeworkers. Around 350,000 Barbie dolls were sold during the first year of production.

Interesting facts: The name Barbie was inspired by Ruth's daughter Barbara. The best-selling Barbie doll ever was 1992 Totally Hair doll, with hair from the top of her head to her toes.

Quote (Ruth M. Handler): «They were using the dolls to project their dreams of their own futures as adult women».

Property: Mattel Inc.

Product website:

Barbie Patent
Barbie doll construction Patent (Nov. 21, 1961, filed July 24, 1959) granted to Jack Ryan, the designer who revisited the Bild Lilli doll to create the Barbie doll.

The first Barbie doll
The first Barbie doll (1959) was introduced in both blonde and brunette

The Bild Lilli doll
The Bild Lilli doll was a German fashion doll produced from 1955 to 1964, based on the comic-strip character Lilli. Ruth Handler reworked the design of this doll (with help from engineer Jack Ryan) to create her Barbie.

Barbie ad March 1959
Barbie review (Playthings magazine, March 1959)

Barbie ad October 1959
Barbie newspaper advertisement (Freeport Journal-Standard, Freeport, Ill., Oct. 28, 1959)

The first Barbie commercial (aired on ABC during the "Mickey Mouse Club" program, 1959)

Ken, Barbie's boyfriend 1961
Barbie's boyfriend: Ken (full name Kenneth Sean Carson, introduced in 1961)

Barbie's little sister Skipper 1964
Barbie's little sister: Skipper (full name Skipper Madison Roberts, introduced in 1964). Mattel introduced a pre-teenage sister of their popular Barbie doll to expand the Barbie line, but also to respond to customer criticism that Barbie was too mature and "womanly" for young children.

Ruth Handler in 1961
Barbie's inventor Ruth Handler in 1961

Charlotte Johnson in 1965
Barbie's first clothing designer Charlotte Johnson in 1965

Barbie 60th anniversary 2019
Barbie celebrates her 60th birthday (March 9, 2019)

Barbie Movie 2023
The first live-action Barbie film (July 21, 2023, official trailer)