Before Barbie Became Barbie

barbie_xeroxHow did a plastic toy become a cultural icon?

       In 1954, Ruth Handler (wife of a big shot toy executive) was on a family trip in Switzerland. While wandering the streets, a doll in the window of a cigarette shop caught her eye. This doll was 11 inches, sporting platinum blonde hair, and unrealistic curves. Her name was Bild Lilli.

Obviously, what she saw was a perfect toy for little girls. What she didn’t know was that the doll was actually a sex symbol, mainly purchased by creepy middle-aged men. Which explains why it was only sold in bars and cigarette shops.

Back in the US, she urged her husband to create an American version. Like any-burgah hungry male, he complied. His company saw potential and after a short period of minor success, sales reached astronomical levels making it the highest grossing plastic toy till Kim Kardashian.

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