The Barbie doll was invented by Ruth Handler in 1959. Barbie was named after her daughter and the Ken doll was also named after her son. The Ken doll was introduced in 1961.
The first Barbie doll character was a teenage fashion model called Barbie Millicent Roberts. The doll has since had more than 125 different characters including a doctor, astronaut, businesswoman, police officer, UNICEF volunteer and athlete. Barbie has achieved the title of the most popular fashion doll ever created.
In 1960 the success of the Barbie doll led Mattel, Inc. to become a publicly-owned company and in 1967 Ruth Handler became President of Mattel, Inc.
Barbie doll had either brown or blond hair with red hair added in 1961, and only 19 years later the first African American Barbie and Hispanic Barbie were introduced.
300 000 Barbie dolls were sold in the first year of production and the best-selling Barbie doll ever was the Totally Hair Barbie from 1992, with hair from top to toe.