Advertising Dolls

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Mar 032016
 
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Advertising dolls provide an interesting look at the history of consumer products in America. Who remembers Force cereal, Blatz beer or Fletcher’s Castoria? But through their advertising and trademark characters, these products will live forever.

Most advertising dolls are made of cloth, simple “pancake” dolls with one piece for the front and one for the back, stitched together and stuffed. Some were printed on fabric and sold by the piece, to be stitched and stuffed at home. But there are advertising dolls of all materials, including vinyl, hard plastic, composition and even cast iron.

There are several types of advertising dolls. The most popular and familiar dolls promote the company’s trademark character. This might be Tony the Tiger for Frosted Flakes cereal; the Campbell Kids for Campbell’s Soup; or Aunt Jemima for the pancake mix made by Quaker Oats. Another type of advertising doll is the licensed doll. This doll, like Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon or Toni by Ideal and American Character, incorporates the name and concept of the product without actually being used in the company’s own advertising. The least desirable type of advertising doll is the premium doll, which is used by the company to sell product (“Send in 3 boxtops and 25 cents”) but otherwise has no connection to the product. One example of this type is the Fun Fair clown offered by Kellogg’s in 1973. A fourth type of advertising doll, and the hardest to find, are the dolls that were not made available to the general public, but used solely as display pieces in stores. One example is the RCA Victor Sellin’ Fool doll made to be displayed in RCA dealerships in the ’20s. The doll was based on an illustration by Maxfield Parrish and is very hard to find today.

Advertising dolls are still being sold today, although they are far more likely to take the form of teddy bears than dolls.

Click on a photo to view a larger image.

Ceresota Flour advertising doll Ceresota Flour advertising doll Two slightly different variations of the Ceresota Boy from 1912,
advertising the company’s flour. This is a cut and sew doll, beautifully printed in oil colors. His hat brim gives three dimensional interest.

Kellogg's Johnny 
Bear advertising doll Kellogg’s 10″ Johnny Bear dates from 1926. The cut and sew panel was
available for 10 cents plus one box top from Kellogg’s cereals. He was part of a set with
Goldilocks, Papa Bear and Mama Bear.

Aunt Jemima advertising doll Aunt Jemima is one of the most recognizable trademark characters in
American history. She and her family have been made in doll form since 1895. This cut and sew version is from 1929.

_hotpoint1 (2K) _hotpoint2 (3K) This rare Hotpoint character has a composition head and segmented wood body. He was probably made by Cameo, as they made other dolls in this style. He dates from about 1930 and may have been a store display or promotional doll. Photo courtesy of eBay seller lchristoo.

Freckles the Frog advertising doll for Kellogg's Dinkey the Dog advertising doll for Kellogg's Freckles the Frog and Dinkey the Dog are from a 1935 series of four animal cut-and-sew dolls. The others are Dandy the Duck and Crinkles the Cat. They were available from Kellogg’s for 10 cents plus one Wheat Krispies box top each, or 25 cents and four box tops for the whole set. Each doll is about 12″ tall.

Captain Bill and Stewardess Sue, “the Mainliner Dolls” were produced by the Toyad Corp. of Latrobe, PA in 1940 as a tie-in with United Airlines. They are 7″ tall, made of rubber, and were sold in stores as a set for $1.00.

Cliquot Club advertising doll Kleeko the Eskimo was the trademark character for Cliquot Club beverages. This doll is stuffed vinyl fabric, date unknown, but probably mid-twentieth century.

Fab Picture Doll Colgate Palmolive’s 8″ Fab Picture Doll was a premium for Fab Detergent. She was
available for $1 plus one Fab box top in 1957.

Gillette licensed the name of its Toni home permanent twice to doll companies. The first Toni doll (shown left) was a hard plastic girl doll made by Ideal in the early fifties. The second doll was a vinyl glamour doll made by American Character in the late fifties. Both dolls were sold in several sizes, and came with a Toni playwave kit for styling the doll’s hair. The 10″ version (shown right) of the American Character Toni had many extra outfits which could be purchased separately.

_jantzen (3K) The Janzten Girl was a 10.5″ vinyl high heeled doll sold by Valentine in 1957 as a tie in to Jantzen clothing. She came with a complete wardrobe of clothing.

Ideal Little Miss Revlon doll Ideal’s Revlon Doll (shown far left), available in four sizes, and 10″ Little Miss Revlon licensed the name of the cosmetics line in the late 1950s. They are very high quality dolls, and were widely imitated.

Polly Ponds advertising doll Polly Ponds Beauty Doll and Polly Ponds Bride Doll were made by Citro Manufacturing in the late fities or early sixties, as a tie in to Ponds Cold Cream. She is 24″ tall.

_badboy31 (3K) Little Mr. Bad Boy was produced by Earle Pullan and other Canadian companies in 1961 as a promotion for the Bad Boy Furniture Company. Photo courtesy of eBay seller Connectibles.

Miss Babbitt advertising doll for Bab-O Cleanser Miss Babbitt is a strange doll that combines a hard plastic Ginny-type head on a slim vinyl fashion doll body. She was offered by Bab-O Cleanser in the early sixties.

Elsie the Cow doll Vintage Elsie the Cow doll Elsie has been the spokescow of the Borden Company since 1937. She was first made in a 15″ plush version with vinyl head in the 1950s. The doll pictured has the same vinyl head, but a woven cloth body, and she is 21″ tall. She is missing her hat, collar and shoes. Her date of manufacture is unknown. Elsie’s calves Beauregard, Latabee and Lobelia have also been made. Photos courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

Vermont Maid advertising doll Vermont Maid is a 15″ vinyl doll made by Uneeda in 1964 for Vermont Maid Syrup. She is marked “U // 16” on the back of her head.

Brunswick Corp. advertising doll This bizarre cloth doll from 1968 was one of four offered by the Brunswick Corporation to promote bowling.

Tony the Tiger advertising doll This is the first version of Tony the Tiger, offered by Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes in 1970. He is 13″ tall with a fabric head and furry body.

Hardees advertising doll Gilbert Giddyup Gilbert Giddyup is a stuffed cloth doll that was available from Hardee’s restaurants in 1971.

First edition Ronald McDonald doll Ronald McDonald, the face of McDonald’s Corporation, has been made in doll form since 1971. The doll pictured is the first version of Ronald. He is a 16″ stuffed cloth doll and was available only from the restaurants. The following year a Hamburglar doll was offered. In 1976, Remco made vinyl versions of all the McDonald’s characters for sale in retail stores. Photo courtesy of eBay seller silverknight52.

_campbell- (4K) Campbell Kid advertising doll Campbell Kid advertising doll Campbell Kids dolls have been made in many different materials over several decades. The pair of 10″ vinyl dolls at far left dates from 1971, and were available for $2 each plus two soup labels. The 16.5″ cloth dolls shown were sold at retail stores in 1973. Photos of cloth dolls courtesy of eBay seller your-favorite-doll.

Vintage Charlie the Tuna advertising doll Vintage Charlie the Tuna advertising doll Charlie the Tuna, Starkist’s clueless trademark character, was available in several different cloth premium versions in the 1970s. The vinyl figure shown was probably sold in retail stores, and is also from that era. He was made by Product People, Inc. More recently, Charlie has been made in beanie and plush versions. Photos courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

Kellogg's Fun Fair Clown advertising doll

Kellogg’s offered three different Fun Fair Clowns as premiums in 1973.

Texaco Cheerleader advertising doll The Texaco Cheerleader doll was sold at Texaco gas stations in 1973. She is a Barbie-sized doll, and is marked Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

Disney Premium dolls for Closeup Toothpaste Closeup Toothpaste offered 6 vinyl Disney Characters as premiums in 1974.

Tropicana advertising doll 17″ Tropic-Ana cloth doll was offered for $2.00 on cartons of orange juice in 1977.

Vintage Gerber Baby doll from 1989
Vintage Gerber Baby doll by Atlanta Novelty The Gerber Baby has been made in several different versions by various companies since 1936. The dolls pictured each have a vinyl head and limbs on a cloth body. The doll at far left, made by Atlanta Novelty in 1979, is 17″ long with flirty eyes that look from side to side. The doll at near left is from 1989, made by Lucky Industrial. She is 16″ long and has sleep eyes with very stiff lashes, and strange orange lip paint. Photo of 1979 doll courtesy of Martin Auction Co.

Wrangler advertising doll by Ertl Wrangler advertising doll by Ertl Wrangler advertising doll by Ertl Missy and The Wrangler advertised Wrangler clothing. They were made by Ertl in the early 1980s. They are 11.5″ tall and each had a few extra outfits. Photos courtesy of eBay seller franklin2000.

Bluebonnet Sue Advertising Doll Bluebonnet Sue Advertising Doll Blue Bonnet Sue is 11″ tall, made of a soft knit fabric, softly stuffed. She has yellow yarn hair in a ponytail and printed features. She is made to sit. She wears a removable outfit of blue print dress with satin ribbon trim and attached apron, and matching bonnet, with white panty underneath. Her shoes are of woven blue fabric to look like shoes, with sewn on satin straps. She was made by Dakin in 1986 for Nabisco, to promote their Blue Bonnet Margarine.

Snap, Crackle & Pop advertising dolls by Product People Snap, Crackle and Pop are the trademark characters for Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal. The little elves were designed by illustrator Vernon Grant in the 1930s and have been made several times in doll form. The dolls shown are by Product People and probably date to the 1980s. The same dolls in different boxes are shown here on Amazon.com.
Photo courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

Mr. Handy Andy advertising doll 1980s Mr. Handy Andy advertising doll 1980s Handy Andy Home Improvement Centers was a midwestern US chain of big-box hardware stores that was in business from 1980 until 1996. Mr. Handy Andy is a plush doll about 14″ tall with faux fur hair, eyebrows and moustache. He wears denim jeans, a red shirt and green vest.
Photos courtesy of eBay seller art-in-mind.

Swiss Miss advertising doll, circa 1990 There have been at least four different dolls made to advertise Swiss Miss Cocoa. The first two came out in 1962 – you can see them here on the Jolly Toys page. In 1977, there was a cloth version, and in 1990, they issued the 14″ doll pictured at left, who has a vinyl head and hands on a cloth body, with yarn hair.





Learn More:

Advertising Dolls by Robison & Sellers
Advertising Dolls:
Identification & Value Guide
by Joleen Ashman Robison
& Kay Sellers
More info from Amazon
or
Find it on eBay.
Advertising Dolls by Myra Yellin Outwater
Advertising Dolls
by Myra Yellin Outwater
More info from Amazon
or
Find it on eBay.
Zany Characters of the Ad World by M.J. Lamphier
Zany Characters
of the Ad World
by Mary Jane Lamphier
More info from Amazon
or
Find it on eBay.

Copyright 2006-2016 by Zendelle Bouchard

Oct 122012
 
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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