Did you know that...

The original Barbie was a Bavarian

There were two different-sized Lillis.

From 1952 to 1961, comic character "Lilli" -- long legs, blond hair and cheeky lines -- was a hit among "Bild"-magazine readers. Financially independent with a job of her own, she represented the typical post-war generation, and loved sharing her many love stories with her girl friends.

Starting 1955, "Bild-Lilli" was produced as a toy doll in 2 different sizes by the Lower Franconian company Hausser, which also made numerous pieces of clothing and accessories, mirroring the spirit of the 1950s. Lilli thus had something fit for every occasion, traditional Bavarian costume "Dirndls" included, of course. In total, Hausser produced 130,000 Lillis, which are, to this day, coveted items among knowing collectors, especially with wardrobe and accessories. Lilli was such a hit that a Lilli-motion picture was produced in 1958.

That same year, Ruth Handler, one of the founders of Mattel group in the US, bought several Lillis as she was traveling through Europe. Back in California, she gave the dolls to Mattel's technicians who were to copy them: in 1959, the first Barbie-dolls hit the toy market -- and the rest is history.