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The word plastic is derived from the Greek plastikos meaning capable of being shaped. Chemists knew and had worked with plastics about 125 years ago. At that time there was no great need for these synthetic materials. Natural products such as wood, metals, rubber, and ivory were plentiful. The first man-made plastic was created by Alexander Parkes who publicly demonstrated it at the 1862 Great International Exhibition in London.
plasticna_lutkaThe material called Parkesine was an organic material derived from cellulose that once heated could be molded, and retained its shape when cooled.
Parkes claimed that this new material could do anything rubber was capable of, but at a lower price. He had discovered something that could be transparent as well as carved into thousands of different shapes. Hard plastic dolls were made by all the major doll companies in the years following the Second World War, using new materials which had been developed during that period for use on aircraft parts. Most early hard plastic dolls came in larger sizes, such as 35.6cm,43.2cm and 50.8cm dolls. Early hard plastics dolls were molded out of pale flesh-colored plastic. Most plastic dolls are made from vinyl, otherwise known as polyvinyl chloride or PVC. Some doll bodies are also made of polyethylene—a derivative of ethylene and a colorless, flammable gas.
Hard plastic dolls were created in molds; as a result, a mold line is usually visible on the sides of each body part. The hollow torsos and heads were made in two pieces -- front and back -- that were later glued together. Early hard plastic dolls heads, arms, and legs were connected to the body with a rubber band or elastic cord that was run through the hollow torso. Starting in the early to mid-fifties, hard plastic dolls were marketed as "walkers" - dolls with an interior mechanism that turned their head from side to side as their legs moved back and forth.
Some hard plastic dolls had painted eyes, but most had sleep eyes: glass eyes that were weighted so they closed when the doll was laid on its back, and opened when the doll was placed in a sitting or standing position. Hard plastic dolls, such as baby dolls, had molded hair. Many other hard plastic dolls had wigs glued onto their heads. Early wigs were
made of mohair. Since 1976, plastic has been the most used material in the world and was voted one of the top 100 news events of the century.
Hard plastic was even used for a few of the fashion dolls that became popular in the late fifties and sixties. The bodies were usually six-piece bodies: arms, legs, torso, and head. Because hard plastic is such a durable material, it is much easier these days to find a hard plastic doll in good condition than it is to find a composition or china doll. However, hard plastic dolls are not without their problems. One of the most common problems is that hard plastic tends to separate at the seams of the hollow pieces, such as the torso and head. Hard plastic dolls can also crack or break if they are dropped, but on the whole, hard plastic is a much more durable material than those that were previously used to make dolls.

Barbie
During a trip to Germany in 1956, Ruth Handler (Mattel Toys founder) discovered in a tobacco shop window a German doll called Bild Lilli. Lilli was originally a cartoon character created by German cartoonist  Reinhard Beuthien  on June 24, 1952 for the newspaper Bild – Zeitung  in Hamburg, Germany. Lilli was a working girl who new what she wanted It was Max Weissbroot from the famous Hausser / Elastolin Co in Newstadt, Germany who created and produced this three- dimensional adult styled female doll... She had a well developed, curvaceous body, a tiny wasteline, and wore tight clothes. Lilli was made of hard plastic with moulded on shoes and earrings . Her hair was long and pulled back
into a ponytail. The Lilli doll was first sold in Germany in 1955, and although it was initially marketed and sold as a racy gag gift to adult men, it became popular with children who enjoyed dressing her up in outfits that were available separately.