Aug 262012
 
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Vintage Wettums composition doll by Reliable

Wettums is an all-composition drink-and-wet baby doll made by Reliable of Canada in the late 1930s and early ’40s. Since moisture causes composition to deteriorate rapidly, most of these dolls have not survived in good condition.

Body Construction
Wettums is jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips. She has painted eyes, molded painted hair and a nurser mouth. The drink-and-wet feature was enabled by a rubber tube leading from Wettums’ mouth to his/her bottom, with a metal grommet at either end. Wettums was made in multiple sizes. The doll pictured is 12.5″ long.

Markings
Wettums is marked “RELIABLE // DOLL // MADE IN CANADA” on the back of her head.

Clothing & Packaging
The book “200 Years of Dolls” by Dawn Herlocher pictures an all original Wettums doll, wearing a sleeveless undershirt and diaper. The lettering on the box has the doll’s name spelled “Wetums” and the wording “She drinks, she wets, you’ll love her.”

Vintage Wettums composition doll by Reliable


Apr 182012
 
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Studio doll by Sasha Morgenthaler

Studio doll by Sasha Morgenthaler.
Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Sasha dolls are unique in the doll world. They started out as the vision of Swiss artist Sasha Morgenthaler, to create a play doll representing the universal child. The original doll’s skin tone was deliberately of a medium color depicting no particular ethnic group. She began in the 1940s creating them in her studio, but the high production costs meant that very few families could afford them. In 1965 she licensed production to Götz-Puppenfabrik GmbH of Rödental, Germany, where they were made until 1970. Beginning in 1966, the dolls were also made in England by Frido/Trendon/Sasha Dolls Ltd of Stockport. Production continued there until 1986. From 1995-2001 they were again produced by Götz.

The original Studio dolls were made of gypsum, a composition like material. Some dolls, like the one pictured above, had cloth bodies. Other were entirely of gypsum. The mass-produced dolls are of rigid vinyl with rooted synthetic hair. They are 16″ tall, jointed at the neck and shoulders and strung with elastic cord. They are well made dolls that offer lots of play value.

Although the dolls are collectively known as Sasha, the boy dolls were called Gregor; when black dolls were introduced in the early 70s, the girls were named Cora and the boys Caleb. The most recent series of Sasha dolls were given individual names. Babies were also produced starting in the 1970s, and are 12″ tall with bent legs.

One reason that Sasha dolls are so popular with collectors is their wonderful wardrobe. The clothes are very well made in simple, classic styles. The size of the dolls makes them easy to sew for and easy to dress.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Dec 182011
 
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I came across this ad for Plain Jane, the Magic Light doll, in the December 1945 issue of House Beautiful magazine. The ad text reads:

“One of a group of adorable ‘sleepy-time’ dolls that glow in the dark. Pleasantly help children overcome the fear of darkness. Make charming ornaments, too! Simply place doll before an electric bulb for a few seconds, extinguish all lights, and it will glow in brilliant colors. It never fails to work and will glow thousands of times. Harmless, of course.
‘Plain Jane’ – illustrated – is a 17 in., soft, sturdy doll, dressed in durable cotton clothing, which can be washed and ironed repeatedly. $3.75 Postpaid. Sorry…no C.O.D.
A visit to our unique shop in Radio City…where hundreds of luminous articles are in display…will delight you!
Catalogue mailed on request.
Magic Light Shop, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, 20, N.Y.”

I Googled “Magic Light Doll” and came up with this 11″ doll named “Lumia”. She sold for $275 in 2007. Of course, if you came across one of these dolls without the tag or box, you probably wouldn’t know it glowed in the dark. Anybody ever seen one of these in person?

Oct 162011
 
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Here’s something interesting I found last week. I don’t know much about him, but his guitar-shaped cardboard tag indicates he was made by Remco in 1964. He is missing the little booklet which came with him which featured photos of the Beatles. I think the term “mascot” means that he was sold as a decorative item for older kids, not a plaything for the little ones. He represents a generic Beatle rather than one of the individual members of the group. He looks most like Paul McCartney or George Harrison.

He is about 30″ tall and made of fabric and felt, with faux fur hair. Besides the guitar and booklet that he came with, he has no tags or other markings on him. His hands are like paws, with four felt fingers that look more like claws! Elastic straps on his hands enable him to hold the guitar. He seems to be a fairly rare item. The small Beatles dolls with vinyl heads made by Remco are a lot easier to find.

Beatles Official Mascot Doll by Remco
Apr 112011
 
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I love to come across a doll I have never seen or heard of before. This interesting playset is Polly Pretend by Amsco. This unusual concept is that the doll is playing “dress up” with Mommy’s shoes, hat, jewelry, curlers, etc. – just like her little owner would. The shoes are a hoot!

Amsco is not a company I know too much about. The name is an acronym for American Metal Specialties Corp. and they mostly made doll furniture like beds and high chairs, as well as housekeeping toys. They trademarked the name Amsco in 1950 and their trademark expired in 1992. Polly Pretend appears to have been made in the late sixties or early seventies.