Storeroom Stories: Barbie Ten Speeder, ca. 1970

Barbie 3By Shelby Konold

The toy company, Mattell Inc., took the world by storm with their introduction of the Barbie doll in March of 1959. Barbie was quite unique at the time, breaking out of the cultural norm into a world of endless possibilities. With various jobs ranging from airline stewardess to astronaut, she has empowered young girls to imagine a future where they can be anything they want to be. Since 1959, the Barbie brand has grown with the addition of other girl and boy dolls as well as a multitude of accessories.

With such a wide variety of options and companions, Barbie has a tendency to represent the popular culture of the decade. The 1960’s were all about fashion and hanging out at her dream house or in her new camper. In the 1970’s, we saw Barbie on the move and being more environmentally conscious as seen by the bike above, which reads “smog free” on the back. The 1980’s were all about technology with the introduction of her new cool motorbike. With each new decade, Barbie changes to meet the times and has and will continue to be a global icon for many years to come.


“History of Barbie Doll and Inventor Ruth Handler.” Inventors., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <>.

“History of the Mattel Toy Company.” Inventors., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <>.

“JCPenny Catalogue Outlet Store.” Milwaukee Sentinel [Milwaukee] 14 Nov. 1975: n. pag. Google News. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <,2297286&hl=en>.

“Patent US560103 – Toy Bicycle.” Google Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2015. <>.

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