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Cameo Doll Company’s Vinyl Dolls

 Cameo  Comments Off on Cameo Doll Company’s Vinyl Dolls
Oct 072015
 
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Kuddly Kewpie doll made by Strombecker between 1969 and 1973.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

In the 1950s and ’60s, Cameo began making Kewpie and some of their other characters in vinyl, but also licensed other companies to manufacture them. This makes identification difficult, unless the original packaging is present, as they may be marked with the Cameo name while actually made by other manufacturers. Cameo closed in 1969, but founder Joseph Kallus retained his copyrights and continued to license them to various other firms.

Kewpie Gal and Ragsy Kewpie, two of the many vinyl variations of the standard Kewpie doll. Ragsy Kewpie was also made in light blue and royal blue.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Cameo made variations of the standard Kewpie dolls as well: Kewpie Gal has chin length molded hair; Ragsy Kewpie has a body molded in color and is jointed only at the neck. Scootles was reproduced in vinyl beginning in 1964.

Pinkie was made as a vinyl toddler with rooted hair in the 1950s. She was a completely different doll than the composition doll with the same name.

Margie was another name recycled by Cameo, also for a completely different doll than the compo one. The vinyl version was a 17″ girl with rooted hair and multiple joints.

Peanut is a bent-leg baby doll with molded hair that was sold in the Sears catalog as an unnamed doll. She appeared in the 1954 catalog alone; then in 1958 was sold together with a small Kewpie.

Miss Peep has very unusual joints.

Miss Peep is a baby doll sold in the late fifties and through the sixties, and was another hit for Cameo. She is all vinyl with inset plastic eyes. A black version (see below) was made as well as the more common white doll. Most versions have unusual joints at the hip and shoulder that allow the arms and legs to rotate completely as well as move back and forth. A version with regular flange joints was also made. The design for Miss Peep was evidently licensed to another company after Cameo closed, as she was advertised under the name Baby Wendy at least as late as 1973.

Hard to find black version of Cameo’s Miss Peep doll.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Other vinyl babies include Dyp-a-Babe, a drink and wet doll; and Baby Mine, who has beautiful large side-glancing painted eyes (a sleep eyed version was also sold).

Comic characters made in vinyl include Felix the Cat and Popeye.

Vinyl dolls are generally marked “CAMEO” on the back of their heads, and sometimes on their bodies as well.

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Copyright 2006-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard

Cameo Doll Company’s Composition Dolls

 Cameo  Comments Off on Cameo Doll Company’s Composition Dolls
Sep 292015
 
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Rare black composition Kewpie doll by Cameo.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Joseph Kallus, founder of the Cameo Doll Company, got his start in the business as a teenage art student when he went to work for Geo. Borgfeldt & Co. helping develop the first line of Kewpie dolls in 1912. His association with Rose O’Neill, designer of the Kewpies, continued after he founded his own company, Cameo, in 1922. The company opened a plant in Port Allegheny, PA, in 1933, but it was nearly destroyed in a fire a year later. They rebuilt, and continued producing composition Kewpies and other O’Neill dolls, as well as Mr. Kallus’ own designs, and his interpretations of popular comic, film and advertising characters, many with segmented wood bodies. They designed and produced dolls for other companies as well, including Ideal and Effanbee.

After Rose O’Neill’s death in the 1940s, Mr. Kallus acquired all the patent, copyright and trademark rights to Kewpie. Cameo continued producing Kewpies, but also licensed other companies to manufacture them. This makes identification of Cameo dolls difficult, as they may be marked with the Cameo name while actually made by other manufacturers. Kewpies were briefly made in hard plastic by Effanbee in the 1950s, but bear the Cameo name. In the sixties, Cameo began making Kewpie and some of their other characters in vinyl. The company had another hit with the vinyl Miss Peep baby doll in the late fifties and sixties. Cameo closed in 1969, but Mr. Kallus retained his copyrights and continued to license them to various other firms.

Mr. Kallus died in 1982 from injuries suffered in a hit and run accident. Shortly before the accident, he transferred the rights to Kewpie and his other dolls to Jesco, a California company, who continued to license them. Some of the most beautiful Kewpies ever made were produced in the late 1990s and early 2000s by R. John Wright of Vermont as high end felt collector dolls. The Kewpie trademark is now owned by a Japanese corporation whose primary business is food products like mayonnaise and mustard. It is not clear whether any new Kewpie dolls are being produced as of this writing.

Early composition Cameo dolls are usually marked with a label on their chest; often the label is partially or completely removed. The dolls of the 1940s are often unmarked.

Rose O’Neill Designs

Kewpies were Cameo’s perennial best seller, and were made in many different versions and sizes. Some had composition head and hands on a cloth body. Early all-compo dolls had legs molded together like the German bisque version, and were jointed only at the shoulders; later they acquired a wider stance with legs separated. Still later compo versions were jointed at the neck and hips as well. Black Kewpies were made, but are much less common than the white dolls. See the Composition Kewpies page for more info.
Scootles is another doll designed by Rose O’Neill. This doll, like Kewpie, was first made in Germany in a bisque version; the composition doll by Cameo was produced in the 1930s and ’40s in seven sizes from 7.5″ to 20″. A black version was made as well. Scootles has molded hair in curls, and usually has painted eyes, although sleep eye dolls were also sold. See the Composition Scootles page for more info.

Giggles was the third Rose O’Neill design produced by Cameo. This darling all-compo little girl has molded hair with bangs, with two holes in the back of her head for a hair ribbon. Both Giggles and Scootles have the same jointed body as the later compo Kewpies. All three dolls were sold in similar outfits.

Composition Baby Dolls

Baby dolls in composition include the Bye-Lo baby for Borgfeldt; Baby Bo-Kaye (also available with bisque and celluloid heads from other companies); Baby Blossom in 1927; Baby Adele in 1930. These all had compo heads and hands (and sometimes feet) on cloth bodies.

Joseph Kallus Designs

Margie is a pretty, smiling girl with molded hair and a molded band around her head, and painted teeth. All sizes have composition heads; the smaller ones have segmented bodies and limbs entirely of wood; larger sizes have compo torsos and hands as well.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Pinkie and Joy are two other Kallus characters with the wooden segmented bodies. Pinkie has more of a babyish face with serious expression; Joy has more of a cartoonish, Kewpie type face. Larger versions of Joy have a molded loop at the top of her head for a hairbow. Joy has also been found with compo lower legs with molded bare feet, and was advertised in a cloth body version too.

Champ is a tough little boy doll, with a freckled face and his left hand molded into a fist.

Comic Characters

Little Annie Rooney was made by Cameo in two different compo versions. One version, based on the comic strip by Jack Collins, has molded painted hair and an oval face. She has been seen with both black painted hair, and a soft brown color. The other version of Little Annie Rooney is a completely different doll, based on the movie character portrayed by Mary Pickford in 1926. She has a round head, with a yellow cotton yarn wig in long braids. Her legs are painted black to resemble stockings, and she has molded on yellow shoes.

Betty Boop was made in a few different versions by Cameo. Some had her voluptuous figure and high heeled shoes; others had a child body like that of Margie and Pinkie. Her dog Bimbo was made as well.

Other comic strip and cartoon character dolls by Cameo include Felix the Cat; Popeye and his dog Jeep; Pete the Pup; and Bonzo (also a dog). These were all made with the segmented wood bodies, although some were also made in versions with more compo parts. (Mr. Kallus was evidently fond of canines, as Cameo produced other toy dogs in composition as well as these.)

Disney characters the company produced include Mickey Mouse, Dumbo, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket. The last two were made for Ideal. All but Dumbo have the wood segmented bodies. Dumbo is all composition except for his felt ears. He is jointed at the neck and trunk.

Advertising Dolls

Rare Happy Hotpoint character doll has a composition head and segmented wood body.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller lchristoo.

Advertising dolls made in composition and wood include Mr. Peanut, Happy Hotpoint and Bandy (for General Electric). These were all made in the 1930s. The RCA Radiotron man, also known as Sellin’ Fool, was made in 1926 as a display item for RCA dealers. He was based on the original advertising illustration by Maxfield Parrish. The other advertising dolls may have been dealer display items as well, rather than for sale to the general public.

See also:



Learn More:

cover
Kewpies:
Dolls & Art
by John Axe
Find it on eBay.
cover
Composition & Wood
Dolls and Toys
by Michele Karl
Find it on eBay.
cover
Compo Dolls 1928-55
by Polly and Pam Judd
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 2006-2015 by Zendelle Bouchard

Collette Doll by Cragstan Industries (Early 1960s)

 Fashion  Comments Off on Collette Doll by Cragstan Industries (Early 1960s)
Sep 252015
 
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Collette by Cragstan Industries is an unusual doll mannequin whose body pops apart to fit her clothing pieces onto her. There is no date on the box or doll, but the patent (2964873) was granted in 1960, so she was likely manufactured in 1961 or ’62. American Character made a similar doll called Popi, but she has fewer joints than Collette.

Cragstan Industries was better known for the mechanical toys and novelties they imported, but they did sell some dolls, which were made in Hong Kong. The company had offices in New York City and a warehouse in Bayonne, NJ. They began in business as Craig-Stanton Sales Corp. in 1954. By 1961 they were doing business under the name Cragstan Industries. The company dissolved in 1988.

Body Construction
Collette She measures 9 1/4″ tall, and is all vinyl with pop-apart jointed at her neck (two places), shoulders, mid-bust and waist. Her hips are also jointed, but the legs are not removable. The two pieces of her torso are molded in black to make it appear that she is wearing a strapless teddy or swimsuit. The lower edge of her neck piece is beaded to look like she is wearing a necklace. She has painted blue side-glancing eyes, and a dark blonde wig pulled back into a bun. See back view.

Clothing
Collette comes with a sheet of fabric with her outfit pieces printed in multiple colors. She can be “dressed” by cutting out and positioning the clothing pieces to make six different outfits, as shown on the front of the box. Some of the pieces can also be mixed and matched to make variations. Collette comes wearing black flat shoes.

Packaging
Collette’s box opens up to display her on a stage. A four page insert included with her explains the process of dressing her. See page 1page 2page 3page 4.



Copyright 2015 by Zendelle Bouchard.

Composition Scootles Doll by Cameo Doll Co.

 Cameo  Comments Off on Composition Scootles Doll by Cameo Doll Co.
Sep 042015
 
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All composition Scootles doll designed by Rose O’Neill and made by Cameo Doll Company.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Scootles started out as a character in the Kewpie stories written and illustrated by Rose O’Neill. She is the “baby tourist” who visits the Kewpies in Kewpieville, but Scootles is much better known in doll form.

Scootles has a beautifully modeled baby face with an impish expression.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Scootles has been made in several different materials. All-bisque versions were made in Germany and Japan in the 1920s. A cloth Scootles with a painted mask face and yarn hair was made by Richard Krueger in the 1930s. The composition versions by Cameo were produced in the 1930s and ’40s. They sold Scootles in vinyl in the 1960s, and Cameo’s successor, Jesco, continued making them in the ’80s and 90s. Most recently, Scootles has been made in felt by R. John Wright.

All original black Scootles doll by Cameo.
Photo courtesy of Martin Auction Co.

Body Construction
Composition Scootles has molded hair in curls, and usually has painted side-glancing eyes, although dolls with centered eyes and sleep eyes were also sold. She was made in seven sizes from 7.5″ to 20″. A black version was made as well. She is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips.

This Scootles doll has less common centered eyes.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Markings
Composition Scootles dolls are completely unmarked.

Clothing
Scootles came dressed in a cotton sunsuit, socks and oilcloth shoes.

All original Scootles doll by Cameo.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Packaging
Scootles came packaged in a box with a picture of a Kewpie doll on the front like the one pictured on the Kewpie page. On the end of the box, she was identified as Scootles Doll of Kewpieville. She has a gold hang tag that identifies her as a Rose O’Neill creation.

See also:



Learn More:

cover
Kewpies:
Dolls & Art
by John Axe
Find it on eBay.
cover
With Kewpish Love
by Florence Theriault
Find it on eBay.
cover
Collecting Rose
O’Neill’s Kewpies
by David O’Neill &
Janet O’Neill Sullivan
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 2015 by Zendelle Bouchard

Ideal Baby Mine / Thrift Kit Doll (1951-54)

 Ideal  Comments Off on Ideal Baby Mine / Thrift Kit Doll (1951-54)
Aug 312015
 
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Ideal’s Baby Mine doll has unusual painted side-glancing sleep eyes.

11″ Baby Mine is part of the line of inexpensive hard plastic “dress me” dolls produced by Ideal Toy Corp. in the early 1950s. Ideal had previously used the Baby Mine name for a composition doll. Baby Mine has no specified gender, so she could be dressed as either a boy or girl.

Baby Mine is constructed more like a toddler doll than a baby.

Body Construction
Baby Mine is 11″ tall, all hard plastic, with molded light brown hair, painted blue side-glancing sleep eyes, and jointed (strung) shoulders and hips. Despite the name, Baby Mine’s straight legs and flat feet classify her as more of toddler than a baby doll. Her right arm is bent.

Baby Mine’s bent right arm is reminiscent of composition dolls made 20 years earlier.

Markings
Baby Mine is embossed IDEAL DOLL on his back.

Clothing
Baby Mine was sold wearing only a diaper held on with a safety pin. The craft company Bucilla sold “thrift kits” which included all the materials to make outfits for Baby Mine. For this reason, he is also sometimes called the Thrift Kit Doll. You can see photos of the dolls in finished outfits here.

Ad from Fall/Winter 1952-53 issue of McCall’s Needlework magazine. Click on the photo to see a full size version.

Packaging
Baby Mine was sold in a box with a clear cellophane window.



Learn More:

cover
Collector’s Guide to
Ideal Dolls, 3rd ed.
by Judith Izen
Find it on eBay.
cover
Dolls & Accessories of the 1950s
by Dian Zillner
Find it on eBay.
cover
Hard Plastic Dolls
by Polly and Pam Judd
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 2015 by Zendelle Bouchard