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

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


Aug 012012
 
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Vintage hard plastic Nanette doll by Arranbee

Vintage hard plastic Nanette doll by Arranbee.
Photo courtesy of Nancy McKee.

Arranbee Doll Co. was founded in 1919 in New York City. In the early years of the company, they imported bisque head dolls from Armand Marseille and Simon & Halbig in Germany. They also sold all-bisque dolls and composition mama dolls, as well as doll hospital supplies including wigs, parts, and shoes. In 1925, they opened their own factory in New York manufacturing composition dolls. They kept up with changes in the industry, switching to hard plastic in the ’40s and vinyl in the ’50s. The company made many of its own dolls, but also purchased dolls from other manufacturers to dress and market under their own name. While not being ground-breakingly original, Arranbee dolls are noted for their beauty and high quality, both in the dolls and their clothing. Company founder and president William Rothstein died unexpectedly in 1957; his family continued the firm for a short while, then sold it to the Vogue Doll Co. Vogue continued the Arranbee name and some of the lines until 1961. Fortunately for collectors, many Arranbee dolls are marked. Here are some of their more notable dolls:

  • Dream Baby or My Dream Baby was the first of Arranbee’s dolls to have a name. There is a closed-mouth version (A.M. mold number 341) and an open-mouth version (mold number 351). Some dolls have stuffed cloth bodies with compo or rubber hands, while others have full jointed compo bodies. After the company started making their own composition dolls, they continued using the Dream Baby name. There is a wide variety of compo Dream Babies, including dolls with painted eyes or sleep eyes, molded hair or mohair wigs, in a range of sizes. Dream Baby continued into the ’50s in a hard plastic version.
  • Nancy was first made in composition starting in 1931. A few different head molds were used for this molded hair Patsy-type doll (complete with bent right arm) who ranged from 11″ to 14″ in height. Nancy was also made in a line of 16″ to 20″ chubbier toddler dolls with sleep eyes and mohair wigs.
  • Debu’teen was introduced in 1938. She represented a young teenage girl, with a slim body and a wistful expression, and was made in sizes from 13″ to 22″. Larger dolls have a compo socket head on a shoulder plate, with cloth torso and compo limbs, while the smaller dolls are all composition. She was sold in a wide variety of well-made outfits including school clothes, dressy clothes, sporting outfits and military uniforms. The Sporting Women series of dolls by Vogue greatly resemble Debu’teen, and were probably made by Arranbee for Vogue in an unmarked version.
  • Around the World and Storybook dolls from the late ’30s and early ’40s are 9″ all-composition characters with molded hair and painted eyes. The same doll was used for both boy and girl characters, such as Snow White, Pirate, Dutch Boy and Girl, etc.
  • Nannette is a composition and cloth mama doll with swing legs. She was sold from 1937 until 1943, when the spelling of her name was changed to Nanette. She was sold until about 1947, when the company switched production to hard plastic dolls. The hard plastic version of Nanette is a little girl doll, virtually indistinguishable from Nancy Lee. In the fifties, Nanette was made with a vinyl head and hard plastic body. The last version of Nanette was an 18″ all vinyl high-heeled glamour doll.
  • Nancy Lee was a true little girl doll. She did not have the chubbiness of the Nancy and Nannette toddlers, but she was not quite as slim as Debu’teen. The compo version, who made her debut in 1943, generally has smoky eye shadow. The hard plastic version was sold from the late ’40s into the late ’50s.
  • 12″ Little Angel and 10″ Littlest Angel are toddler fashion dolls. Many extra outfits were available for them. Little Angel was not as popular as her smaller sibling, and was discontinued in 1955. Littlest Angel was later made with jointed knees, and starting in 1956 had a vinyl head with rooted hair. Littlest Angel was one of the dolls that Vogue continued to sell under the R&B name after they bought the company.
  • Coty Girl was a 10″ vinyl glamour doll made to compete with Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon. She had many extra outfits and was advertised extensively. This doll is very difficult to identify because she is marked only with a P in a circle, as were many other small glamour dolls of the era. The 18″ Coty Girl is the same doll as the high-heeled Nanette.

Copyright 2006 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?

Sep 262011
 
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Here’s something a little different for you mint in box fans. A lot of vintage doll collectors who are familiar with vinyl and hard plastic dolls think these Ruth Gibbs dolls are antiques. Actually they were made in the 1940s in Flemington, New Jersey. They have china (glazed bisque) heads and limbs with a cloth body. They are commonly found in this 7″ size, but 10″ and 12″ dolls were made as well. Sets like Little Women and these Flower Girls can sometimes be found.