Before Barbie there was Lilli- a sexy cartoon character found in a German newspaper called Bild. It was intended for adults, and became so popular that the publication began manufacturing the Bild-Lilli doll which was sold at news stands, cigarette kiosks, and a few toy stores. In 1956, while visiting Europe, Ruth Handler (founder of Mattel toy co.) discovered the Lilli doll which sparked the idea of manufacturing the doll en masse, targeted for children. The result was Barbie, debuting in 1959.
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