A Century ago Mother of Barbie Doll was born on 4th November 1916, who Revolutionized the toy industry by inventing the Barbie doll.
Ruth Handler (November 4, 1916–April 27, 2002) was an American inventor and visionary entrepreneur who created the iconic Barbie doll in 1959 (the doll was named after Handler's daughter Barbara). Handler would later refer to herself as "Barbie's mom."Barbie was introduced to the world at the American Toy Fair in New York City.
In 1956, while vacationing in Switzerland, Handler with her fifteen-year-old daughter Barbara became transfixed by a window display of six eleven-inch dolls in different ski outfits. They looked very similar to an idea that Handler had envisioned five years earlier—a child’s doll with an adult body and multiple outfits. Handler pushed the idea for three years, and in 1959 the Barbie dolls were put on the market. The Barbie doll's first boyfriend, the Ken Doll, was named after Handler's son and debuted two years after Barbie in 1961. Handler said Barbie was a symbol of freedom and possibility for young girls and women.
“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”
By late 1964, the Saturday Evening Post reported that Barbie products supported five thousand workers in Japan, eight hundred workers in California, and numerous press agents and advertising executives. Barbie had a secretary to answer twenty thousand fan letters a week. By 1968, the Barbie Fan Club grew to 1.5 million members in the United States. In 1993, a “second issue” Barbie in its original box was sold at auction for over five thousand dollars.
In 1970, Handler lost a breast to cancer. Because of her illness, she spent less time at Mattel. Her loss of self-esteem affected her leadership, and she lost control of the business. Major decisions had been made without her consent, and by 1973 Mattel was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Although Handler and her colleagues pleaded innocent, they were fined, and by 1975 Handler was forced out of the company she had started.
Handler created one of the world's most successful toy companies, Mattel. Her Barbie doll is one of the most popular and iconic toys in the world. In 2016, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris had a Barbie show featuring hundreds of dolls alongside artworks inspired by Barbie.