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The Material Girls; What We're Made Of

Posted by L Abbott on January 15, 2011 at 10:40 AM

What dolls are made of is one of the first things you need to know. Hands on is the best way to learn. I recommend going to a doll show, it's the best way to get a view of the entire doll world.

 

 

 Bisque

 

 

Bisque dolls are an unglazed type of porcelain. Although you may have new dolls today that resemble these dolls they are not called bisque by collectors. The mass produced dolls you buy today on QVC or gift shops are simply called porcelain.

 

China

 

China is a glazed material a fine usually white clay formed by the weathering of aluminous minerals. There are many reproductions out here and good ones. If you start collecting these do your homework carefully.

 

Composition

 

Composition. These dolls are made of a wood pulp material, made by many companies. Just because you found a composition doll does not mean it's worth a bunch of money. There are many unknown dolls out there, and some are more desirable than others.Composition dolls overtook the market for bisque dolls in the early 20th Century.Composition dolls were made from approximately 1909 through the early 1950s. The height of the market for composition dolls was the 1920s through the 1940s

 

In this group you have a painted eye, Flirty eye, fashion, cloth body.

 

 Hard Plastic

Next we have hard plastic.Hard plastic dolls were first made in the late 1940s. Hard plastic replaced composition, the material that had previously been made to make dolls. Hard plastic dolls were much more durable than composition dolls, making them better suited for children's play, harder to break. Hard plastic was also better for creating fine details, such as the dimples on fingers and toes. Hard plastic can deteriorate, causing what we call "Hard Plastic Doll Disease". You should smell the doll inside the joints to see if this has happened. I don't need to tell you the smell you will know if you have ever smelled a rotten egg.

 

 Vinyl

Then your vinyl dolls that are made today.Unbreakable and soft and more pliable then hard plastic,  and inexpensive to manufacture. Also, vinyl dolls could have rooted hair instead of wigged, which greatly enhanced play value of dolls, making doll's hair sturdy and easy to comb and brush. Vinyl dolls were first produced in the mid 1950s. Many times you will find a doll with a vinyl head and hard plastic body or visa-versa. Not to be confused with "magic skin" that was the soft latex used for dolls in the 40's.

 

Metal Head and Celluliod

 

 

You also have celluloid dolls. I have no examples in my collection but it's a very thin type of plastic that is very fragile and flammable.

 

Metal dolls have been in existence since the mid 1880's. The dolls may consist of all metal or metal head only. Some of the metals used were aluminum, brass, pewter, silver, steel, tin or other metal alloys. Most of these dolls were produced in the United States, France and Germany.

 

Metal heads of course are easy, they have metal heads! Most come with tin eyes if they have sleep eyes. The older German made Minerva heads had glass eyes, and a cloth body. The larger metal heads were sometime sold separately, so they can have an all cloth body or composition arms and legs. The stuffing can be many things as these were sometimes sold in kits, and the bodies were homemade. The two above are my flirty eyed metal heads. The one below is Henry, American made metal

 

Cloth

Cloth dolls well they are made of cloth. You have dolls like Lenci (pictured below) that are easy to spot, the older dolls may be homemade or printed cloth.


Categories: Don't be a Doll Dummy

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1 Comment

Reply Judite
7:16 AM on September 9, 2013 
Thank you for all this information. I have a few dolls. I' m just in the begining of making something of it. Very helpfull.
Best regards