Dolls by Beehler Arts / Virga / Ontario Plastics

 Beehler / Virga, Fashion, Hard Plastic  Comments Off on Dolls by Beehler Arts / Virga / Ontario Plastics
Oct 142012

Chi Chi Schiaparellii doll by Virga

1957 Elsa Schiaparelli 12″ Virga Chi Chi Teen Fashion Doll in her original Studio Box. Photo courtesy of American Beauty Dolls.

Beehler Arts, Ltd. was based in New York City and marketed dolls during the 1950’s. According to the book “Hard Plastic Dolls” by Polly and Pam Judd, dolls marketed under the Beehler, Fortune and Virga names were all manufactured by Ontario Plastics. In “Hard Plastic Dolls, II”, the Judds report that Virga was a division of Beehler. The company also marketed dolls under the Kim label. All of these companies are best known for their 8″ Ginny type dolls, but small high-heeled glamour dolls were marketed under the Beehler Arts, Kim and Virga names as well.

Vintage Virga Lolly-pop doll

Virga Lolly-pop dolls came in various pastel hair colors. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Tornikoski. Check out her eBay listings.

See also:

Copyright 2006-2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 122012

No history of vintage dolls could be written without Horsman. A native of New York City, E. I. Horsman began retailing toys and novelties imported from Germany in the mid-1800s. As the new century dawned, his company began producing its own cloth and composition dolls.
Click on a photo to see a larger version.

Babyland Rag Topsy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy doll by Horsman The Babyland Rag series of dolls ranged from 11″ to 30″ tall. They have hand painted faces and mitten style hands. Most of them, like this black doll called Topsy, are 14″ tall. They first appeared in Horsman’s 1893 catalog and were produced for over 30 years.
Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman Babyland Rag Topsy Turvy doll by Horsman The Babyland Rag Topsy-Turvy doll has two heads – a white doll called Betty, and the black doll, Topsy. The long skirt hides the head on the opposite end.
Babyland Rag lithographed girl doll by Horsman Babyland Rag lithographed boy doll by Horsman In 1907, Horsman began offering Babyland Rag dolls with lifelike lithographed faces. Another style with a three-dimensional molded face was outsourced to Albert Bruckner, a New Jersey dollmaker. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Composition Campbell Kid doll by Horsman Composition Campbell Kid doll by Horsman The composition Campbell Kid dolls, adapted from illustrations by Grace Drayton, were a huge seller for Horsman. The black doll is the earlier version from the 1910’s and ’20s with cloth body and compo hands. The white doll is the 1940s all-compo version. Photos courtesy of Withington Auction, Inc.

Horsman Jackie Coogan composition doll Horsman Jackie Coogan composition doll Jackie Coogan was a child actor of the 1920s who starred in the film “The Kid” with Charlie Chaplin. Horsman made two different versions of him in composition. This version has Jackie’s well known pageboy hair style, the other one has just a standard head that was also used for other dolls.

Composition Baby Dimples by Horsman Baby Dimples was a big seller for Horsman starting in 1927. She is a bent-leg baby with a composition head and limbs, and cloth body. There was also a version with a celluloid head imported from Germany. A straight-leg all composition toddler version called simply Dimples.

Dolly Rosebudy by Horsman Dolly Rosebud by Horsman Dolly Rosebud, introduced in 1928, has a composition shoulder head and limbs, with a cloth torso and a human hair wig. She was made in multiple sizes from 14″ to 24″. This doll’s dress is tagged “HORSMAN DOLL MF’D in U.S.A.”

Flirty-eyed composition baby doll by Horsman Babies have always been a huge part of Horsman’s lineup. This flirty-eyed baby, advertised in the 1942 Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog, has eyes that move from side to side as well as open and close.

Horsman Baby dolls in 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog These babies, advertised in the 1950 Montgomery Ward catalog, have hard plastic heads and softer vinyl bodies.

1950s Horsman Gold Medal Boy doll 1950s Horsman Gold Medal Boy doll Horsman used the name Gold Medal multiple times over the years. This Gold Medal Boy, also called Fairy Skin Boy was sold in the 1950s. He has a one piece body jointed only at the neck. There was a corresponding girl doll as well.
1950s Horsman Cindy glamour doll 1950s Horsman Cindy glamour doll High-heeled Cindy was a major part of Horsman’s lineup in the late fifties. She was available as a 15″ or 18″ doll with a stuffed vinyl body, jointed only at the neck and shoulders, with ball-jointed elbows; and as a 21″ doll with a rigid vinyl body, jointed at the hips as well. She was sold in various costumes, including as a bride and as a ballerina. She was also sold under other names including Bright Star.
See also:

Vintage 10" Cindy glamour doll by Horsman There was a 10″ version of Cindy as well, similar to Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon doll. She was available in a variety of outfits and trunk sets.
Family Trio set of dolls by Horsman Horsman’s Family Trio Set includes a glamorous mother doll with two children. Read more about them on the Family Trio page.
Horsman Jackie doll Horsman’s Jackie was sold in the early ’60s to capitalize on the popularity of first lady Jacqueline Kennedy. Go to the Horsman Jackie page to learn more about her. Photo courtesy of John Medeiros.

Horsman Peggy Ann doll 1963 This doll in the 1963 Sears Toy book is unnamed, but she appears to be Horsman’s Peggy Ann, a vinyl sub-teen girl doll with a sweet smile. She was sold for several years, often in sets like this with extra outfits.
Miss Top Knot doll by Horsman This is Miss Top Knot from 1964. Read more about her here. Photo courtesy of Charlene Blank.

One of Horsman’s most popular vinyl dolls is Poor Pitiful Pearl, a homely doll who wears a floral dress with a bright red patch on the front, and a matching red head scarf. Originally produced by the Brookglad Corp. in the ’50s, Horsman began making Pearl in late 1963 in 18″ and later 11″ size, and brought her back again in the 1970s.

Action Bed by Horsman from the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks Action Bed by Horsman from the Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks This Action Bed toy was a tie-in to the Disney film “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” released in 1972. It includes a 6.5″ doll representing the character played by Angela Lansbury in the movie. A hard to find item, it is also sought after by Disney collectors. Photos courtesy of Lisa Hanson. Check out Lisa’s eBay listings.

Horsman began making ventriloquist dolls in the 1970s, and continued with its successful lines of play dolls. In the 1980s, the company struggled, but eventually found renewed success by focusing on niche markets and adding collector dolls to its lineup. Several of Horsman’s early composition dolls were reissued in vinyl versions. The new millennium brough new challenges, and today, the company now known as Horsman Ltd., manufactures fashion dolls for collectors exclusively.

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Aimee Doll by Hasbro

 Fashion, Hasbro, Vinyl  Comments Off on Aimee Doll by Hasbro
Sep 302012

In 1972, Hasbro introduced Aimée, an 18″ doll with an unusual hair play feature. She has holes in her head, into which hairpieces and wigs with special plugs will fit. Besides the long cotton dress with gold braid trim that she was sold in, Aimée had six extra gowns that could be purchased, and six extra hairpieces.

Aimée was Hasbro’s response to the overwhelming popularity of Ideal’s Crissy family of dolls, who had a “growing hair” feature and a great mod wardrobe.

Hasbro’s 1972 doll catalog pictures prototypes of Aimée, her fashions and wigs. The actual dolls produced are a little bit different, her original outfit and box are completely different from the catalog photos.

To see lots more photos of dolls and outfits, visit the Aimée page on Beth Colvin’s wonderful Crissy website.

Aimee Doll in 1972 Hasbro dolls catalog

Scan from 1972 Hasbro dolls catalog

Aimee Doll in 1972 Hasbro dolls catalog

Scan from 1972 Hasbro dolls catalog

Aimee Doll in 1972 Hasbro dolls catalog

Scan from 1972 Hasbro dolls catalog

See also:

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard

Composition Kewpie dolls by Cameo Doll Company

 Cameo, Character, Composition  Comments Off on Composition Kewpie dolls by Cameo Doll Company
Sep 122012

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.

Sep 052012

I read somewhere that if you have three of something, you have a collection. Well I guess that makes me a collector of Raggedy Ann and Andy! Let me introduce you to my dolls.

Raggedy Ann and Andy illustration by Johnny Gruelle

Raggedy Ann and Andy sprang from the imagination of Johnny Gruelle, an artist and illustrator from Connecticut. His young daughter Marcella found an old faceless rag doll in the attic, and he gave it a face, and made up stories about the doll to entertain her. After Marcella died at age 13, he published the stories as a book. She had loved Raggedy Ann so much, he patented a design and had family members make dolls for sale. The first commercially produced Raggedy Ann and Andy were made by P.F. Volland in 1920. They have been continually in production by various companies ever since.

Sewing patterns to make your own Raggedy Ann and Andy have been available since 1940. Two of my Raggedy pairs are homemade. This pair is 18″ tall, with red yarn hair, black button eyes and appliqued noses. You’ll notice they don’t match exactly – Ann has plaid legs and corduroy shoes, while Andy’s legs are black and white striped, and his shoes are a different ribbed material.

Vintage homemade Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls

My other homemade pair stands 20″ tall, with yellow yarn hair and embroidered features. They don’t quite match either! Ann has a nose and mouth to match her hair, while Andy’s are rose colored. His eyes have pupils and hers don’t. And although they both have striped legs, they are of different fabrics. Originally I had planned to keep just one pair; but I never could decide which pair I liked better.

Vintage homemade Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls

My newest pair of Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls arrived in the mail last week. These are the new dolls being produced by Aurora World, and they were kind enough to send me a sample. I was happy to see these latest versions still have the sweetness and charm that have made Raggedy Ann and Andy the best loved dolls of all time.

Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls by Aurora World.

I have very few memories of my childhood. But I do remember the very first doll I owned, Raggedy Ann. I’m sure she had been loved to death by the time she left me. So it’s fitting that now the circle is complete, and I have become, albeit accidentally, a collector of these iconic dolls.

What was the first doll you can remember having?

Copyright 2012 by Zendelle Bouchard