Oct 052012
 
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In the early to mid-twentieth century, Effanbee made some of the world’s best and most popular composition dolls, including Grumpy, Bubbles, the Patsy family and Little Lady.

The company was started in 1910 by two businessmen who operated neighboring shops on Atlantic City’s boardwalk. Bernard Fleischaker and Hugo Baum began by selling toys and dolls; within a couple of years they were having doll heads made especially for them, and by the 1920s were making their own composition parts. Although the company was officially called Fleischaker and Baum, they began using the trademark EFFanBee (from the first letters of their last names) by 1915, and eventually that became the name of the company.

Read about rubber, hard plastic, and vinyl dolls by Effanbee here.

Click on a photo to view a larger version.

Effanbee Baby Grumpy Jr. doll Effanbee Baby Grumpy Jr. doll In the teens and early twenties, many Effanbee dolls were composition copies of popular German bisque head dolls, like Grumpy, who was produced in several sizes and variations. The doll at left is Baby Grumpy.

Coquette doll by Effanbee Coquette doll by Effanbee Coquette is another copy of a German bisque doll. The same doll was also sold as Naughty Marietta.

Effanbee Kid Body Composition doll Effanbee Kid Body Composition doll The kid bodied doll has a composition shoulder head, arms and lower legs. She dates from 1920. This is the type of doll that had been imported from Germany, and became unavailable during World War I.

Bubbles doll by Effanbee Bubbles doll by Effanbee Bubbles was a huge success for Effanbee beginning in 1926. Bubbles has an interesting composition shoulder plate that extends down under her arms. She was sold as a bent leg baby as well as a straight leg toddler. As with many early Effanbee dolls, a lot of variations exist. Bubbles was sculpted by Bernard Lipfert, who also designed Shirley Temple for Ideal, the Dionne Quintuplets for Madame Alexander, and Effanbee’s Patsy.

Patsy Ann doll by Effanbee Patsy Lou doll by Effanbee In 1928, Effanbee came out with a doll that was so original she would vault them to the forefront of the business. The doll was 14″ Patsy, and she was a sensation. Patsy was so popular that Effanbee introduced several other “family members” – similar dolls in different sizes, including 19″ Patsy Ann, pictured far left, and 22″ Patsy Lou, pictured near left. Patsy was extensively copied by other manufacturers. She also has a place in history as the first modern fashion doll, for whom extra outfits were sold.Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Skippy doll by Effanbee Skippy, a comic strip character created by Percy L. Crosby, was advertised as Patsy’s boy friend. At first he was made using Patsy’s body, but later versions have a cloth torso. Skippy was often sold in uniform, including as an aviator, baseball player, soldier and sailor.

Patsyette doll by Effanbee Wee Patsy dolls by Effanbee 9″ Patsyette (far left) & 6″ Wee Patsy are two of the smaller members of Patsy’s extended family. They were produced mostly as girls, but occasionally as boy-and-girl sets.

Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Patsy Babykin doll by Effanbee Patsy Patsy Babykin was the first all-composition baby in the Patsy line, in 1932. Prior to her introduction, there had been a cloth-bodied Patsy Baby available briefly. The all-compo version is marked Patsy Baby but was advertised and sold as Patsy Babykin.

Photos courtesy of Nancy McKee and Withington Auction, Inc.

Patsy Babyette doll by Effanbee Patsy Tinyette doll by Effanbee Patsy Babyette (far left) and Patsy Tinyette are the other babies in the Patsy family. Patsy Tinyette is marked Baby Tinyette but was never sold under that name by Effanbee. She was sold initially as a bent-leg baby, and later as a straight-leg toddler.

Tinyette photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Patricia doll by Effanbee Patricia, introduced in late 1934, was advertised as Patsy’s older sister. She is 15″ tall and has a different face from the other Patsy family girls. There were also dolls sold with Patsy marked heads and Patricia marked bodies; these are known as Patsy-Patricias by collectors.

Clippo the Clown marionette by Effanbee Clippo the Clown marionette by Effanbee Clippo the Clown (1937) is one of a series of marionettes designed by Virginia Austin. The others in the series are Emily Ann, Liza Lee and Lucifer. They have composition heads, hands and feet, with wooden body parts connected by cloth tape.

1625 Historical doll by Effanbee 1625 Historical doll by Effanbee The Historical Series of dolls are 14″ tall and represent different periods in American history. Pictured at left is the New York Settlement, 1625 doll. They were produced in 1939.

Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Effanbee Suzanne composition doll Effanbee Suzanne composition doll 14″ Suzanne (pictured) and 12″ Suzette are all-composition girl dolls made by Effanbee in the early 1940s. Suzette can have either painted eyes or sleep eyes. The same doll was also used for Effanbee’s Portrait Series.

Composition Brother doll by Effanbee Composition Brother doll by Effanbee Brother and his companion, Sister, were wartime dolls that had composition heads with cotton floss wigs and cloth bodies. A larger girl doll was made with the same construction as well.

Butin-nose doll by Effanbee Butin-nose doll by Effanbee Butin-Nose, sometimes called Betty Butin-nose, is an 8″ all composition doll with molded hair. She was sold in various outfits as well as international costumes, and was sometimes sold in pairs as a boy and girl.

Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Composition Candy Kid doll by Effanbee Candy Kid from 1946 is a 14″ all-composition molded hair toddler, who may be dressed as a boy or girl. A black version was made as well. Candy Kids were also made in vinyl in the ’50s.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Composition Mickey doll by Effanbee Mickey had a composition head and hands, and a cloth body. Some dolls had compo legs as well. Mickey was made in various sizes and often had flirty eyes. The same doll was also sold under the names Tommy Tucker and Baby Bright Eyes. Mickey had a twin sister too, sometimes called Katie and sometimes Janie, who wore a matching outfit. In the ’60s Effanbee sold a vinyl Mickey, who was a completely different doll.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Little Lady dolls by Effanbee Little Lady dolls by Effanbee In 1935, the company entered into a contract with independent doll artist Dewees Cochran to design the American Children series of dolls. These dolls had hard rubber arms with separated fingers, with the rest of the doll made of composition. Effanbee continued this construction with their Little Lady (pictured left) dolls that sold through WWII.

Read about rubber, hard plastic, and vinyl dolls by Effanbee here.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 032012
 
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Canadian doll maker Earle Pullan Co., Ltd. began operations in 1945 and was in business until 1967. They began by making plush animals and games, and in 1947 they began producing composition dolls. During the 1950s, they went on to make dolls from stuffed rubber, cloth and vinyl. They made very few hard plastic dolls. Some of their dolls were copies of popular American dolls. Pullan dolls are well made and attractive.

Little Mr. Bad Boy doll by Earle Pullan

30″ Little Mr. Bad Boy doll by Earle Pullan. Photo courtesy of eBay seller Connectibles.

Dolls they produced include:

Dinky Drinky (1948)
10″ all composition drink and wet baby, jointed at shoulders and hips. Painted black side glancing eyes, molded hair.

Baby Twinkle (1948)
Composition toddler girl with a knee-length wavy blonde mohair wig. She is similar in design to Ideal’s Sparkle Plenty, except that doll had a hard plastic head, latex rubber body and wool yarn hair.

Little Lulu (1949)
14″ all cloth comic character doll was identical to the one produced by Georgene Novelties in the United States. Pullan also made a composition version of Little Lulu in 1951 and a vinyl version in 1959.

Coronation Doll (1953)
Celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth, this all composition girl doll has an open mouth with teeth, and sleep eyes. She wears a long gown and sash, and “ermine” trimmed cape with matching hat.

Candy (1956)
17″ toddler has a one piece vinyl body with a wire armature inside so she can be posed. Wears a striped footie pajama with matching nightcap.

Mindy (1957)
15″ black vinyl girl doll, wired for posability, molded hair in braids. She appears to be identical to Dee an Cee’s Mandy doll.

Baby Tears (1957)
Drink-wet-and-cry baby doll in 14″ and 16″ sizes. Came with a layette.

Ballerina (1957)
This 17″ doll had brunette in a chignon style and wired legs for posability. She is unmarked.

Bride (1958)
17″ tall, with jointed hips, shoulders and neck. She has rooted blonde hair, blue sleep eyes, earrings and a lace-trimmed gown. She is marked “PULLAN”.

Mother and Family (1958)
This family of four dolls is similar to Effanbee’s Most Happy Family. The boy and girl dolls resemble Effanbee’s Mickey and Fluffy which were used in that set. In the Pullan version, the glamourous 21″ mother and 12″ daughter wear matching solid-color coats with white collars. Mother also wears a hat, pearl drop earrings and black elastic-strap high heels. Her daughter’s outfit has a hood. The 10″ son wears a matching suit with short pants. The 8″ baby doll wears a light-colored bunting. They are all unmarked.

Rags to Riches Doll (1958)
21″ tall, jointed only at neck and shoulders. She has long rooted reddish-brown hair worn in a ponytail with bangs, and blue sleep eyes with lashes. The book photograph shows her in a long gown; she may also have come with a “Rags” dress like the Deluxe Reading doll of the same name. She is marked “PULLAN” on the back of her neck; “A” on her back; “16” on the sole of her left foot; and “VH3-21″ on the sole of her right foot.

Oriental Princess (1958)
This 20″ doll appears to have been made as a knockoff of Uneeda’s Dollikin. She is jointed at the neck, waist, hips, shoulders, knees and ankles. Her long black hair is worn up in a roll and she has blue sleep eyes with brush lashes and painted lower lashes. The most telling trait is her outfit, which is very similar to Dollikin’s “Lotus Blossom” ensemble, a white pantsuit with long fan-print vest. She can be identified by the “PULLAN” mark on her head.

Beatnik Doll (1960)
21″ girl doll with long straight hair and bangs. She appears to have been made from the same head mold as Vogue’s Brikette doll.

Wendy Ann (1960)
35″ companion doll similar to Ideal’s Patti Playpal.

Little Mister Bad Boy (1961)
See photo above. Advertising doll for the Bad Boy Furniture Company wears a striped prisoner’s uniform. He was made in 16″ and 30″ sizes. At least one other company produced these dolls as well.

Bobby (1960s)
A popular all vinyl boy doll with molded hair, sold in various outfits in various sizes.

Miss Marjie (1965)
Similar to Eegee’s Shelley doll, she looked like Ideal’s Tammy but had the growing hair feature of American Character’s Tressy.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sep 172012
 
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Composition and cloth mama doll by Eegee

This mama doll by Eegee has a composition head and limbs with a cloth body. She has a human hair wig and likely dates from the 1920s.

This company, founded in 1917 by E. G. Goldberger, made a wide variety of dolls, including composition, hard plastic and vinyl. They used the trademark “EEGEE” early on. Their dolls were often knockoffs of the popular dolls of the day. In the 1930’s, they made the Shirley Temple-types Little Miss Movie and Miss Charming. In the ’50s, Susan Stroller was an alternative to Ideal’s Saucy Walker, while Eegee’s beautiful line of Little Debutante dolls competed with Ideal’s Revlon and Little Miss Revlon. The 28″ version was also sold as a Bride.

In the ’60s, Mattel’s Barbie, Skipper and Ken were the inspiration for Eegee’s Annette, Little Sister and Andy. Miss Babette was another Barbie clone. Tandy Talks was a cuter version of Mattel’s Chatty Cathy, complete with freckles. Shelley managed to copy two different dolls at the same time – she looked like Ideal’s Tammy, but had the “growing hair” feature of American Character’s Tressy.

Gemmette was a 15″ lady doll from 1963. She came in various hair colors and outfits, but always a long fancy gown. Eegee made Dolly Parton in doll form, in both 12″ and 17″ sizes. A number of ventriloquist dolls were produced over the years, including Lester, W. C. Fields, Groucho Marx, Bozo the Clown and Charlie McCarthy.

17.5″ Miss Sunbeam was an advertising doll for Sunbeam bread sold in 1959. She is all vinyl with blonde hair and blue eyes. Another product tie-in the company produced was the Kool-Aid Kid in 1989, a little girl wearing a red sweatshirt with her name on the front. She came in various hair colors, including a bright red.

The company also produced some very original dolls. Puppetrina, introduced in 1963, was a 22″ vinyl doll whose arms and legs could be manipulated like a puppet. There was a Baby Puppetrina as well. Honey Munch from the ’70s was an unusual ventriloquist baby doll. Maskerade Magic dolls came with five different masks for the dolls to wear.

Eegee is still in business under the name of The Goldberger Company, making dolls and toys for very young children with a lifetime guarantee.

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Copyright 2006-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Sep 122012
 
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The Cameo Doll Company produced Kewpie dolls, first in composition, then in hard plastic and vinyl, over an almost fifty year period.

Kewpies were created in 1909 by American artist Rose O’Neill as cupid-like imps in her illustrations for Women’s Home Companion magazine. Three years later, George Borgfeldt, a major doll distributor, licensed the rights to produce Kewpies as dolls. Joseph Kallus, a teenaged art student, helped develop them into a three-dimensional form. These first Kewpies were produced in bisque by German manufacturers. The first composition Kewpies had only head and hands of compo; the rest of the doll’s body was stuffed cloth. These were advertised in the 1921 Sears catalog and were probably contracted by Borgfeldt as well.

In 1922 Mr. Kallus founded the Cameo Doll Company, and began producing all-composition Kewpies. This scan from the 1922 Sears catalog shows the early compo Kewpie with legs molded together like the German bisque version. The molded pedestal is painted blue to match Kewpie’s wings. This style of doll was also produced without the pedestal, and some of these were talcum powder containers.

Composition Kewpie doll by Cameo

Scan from 1922 Sears catalog.

Cameo’s next version of Kewpie was still jointed only at the shoulders, but had a wider stance with legs separated. Like the first version, this Kewpie was sold nude with a label on his chest, and had eyes glancing to the right.

Composition Kewpie doll by Cameo

Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson

In the 1940’s Kewpie was jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips. He was dressed in a cotton print sunsuit, shoes and socks. He had lost his label and his wings, and his eyes now glanced to the left. Kewpie now looked less like a fantasy character and more like a human toddler.

Composition Kewpie doll by Cameo

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson

Composition Kewpie doll by Cameo

Photo courtesy of Lisa Hanson

Kewpie’s box featured a rather scary-looking photo.

Composition Kewpie doll by Cameo

Photo courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Cameo produced other dolls in composition as well, including Scootles and Giggles, who were also designed by Rose O’Neill. They went on to produce Kewpie in hard plastic and vinyl versions, until the manufacturing operations were sold to Strombecker in 1970.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard.

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