Wednesday, April 25, 2012

220. PLASSIE: A 50s Ideal Crier Doll

I went to a used book shop cum thrift store in  Cubao and ended up buying not books and magazines, but this cute 1950s doll. I knew it's an old doll as the head was made of early hard plastic. A quick check on the net revealed that this doll--called Plassie--was actually a reissue of an earlier doll made by Ideal Novelty Corp., made in 1942. Like the old version, this doll has a stuffed cloth body, molded hair, sleep eyes with lashes and a closed mouth. It is marked on head: P-50 Ideal Made in U.S.A. The only difference is that, the limbs are of vinyl.

Plassie is a crier doll, which meant that it was made to emit a crying sound. The body still has the crier mechanism inside, but no longer works. It still remains a pretty doll (who can stand crying babies anyway?), a good example of fine dollmaking from America's leading maker of dolls, Ideal Novelty, which gave the world the Shirley Temple Doll and the first Teddy Bear!


Jigsaw puzzles are staples of childhood, meant not only to amuse and keep the child quiet but also train him in mind and manual dexterity. Jigsaw puzzles were often made of paper and cardboard, but old one were made from jigsaw-cut wood, like those made by Joseph K. Straus of Brooklyn, New York, which was active in jigsaw puzzle production from 1933-1974. The pieces were made from cheap wood that tended to chip and splinter.Joseph Straus set up his own puzzle business along with his wife, in Brooklyn, NY in 1933. The company became known for its basic no-frills puzzles sold at affordable prices.

Well, one of his puzzles reached the Philippines--and here it is, an interlocking puzzle made from about 100 pieces. Entitled "Home Sweet Home" (no. 233) , the completes scene shows an American family, relaxing in front of their fireplace, with the doting father playing with his kids. The puzzle came in a plain red boxes with no picture, which dates this to the 1930s (by the late '40s they were using plain blue, tan or mottled boxes with a small guide picture on the cover.)

"Home Sweet Home" is pretty much a standard puzzle but Straus would produce more complex lines such as sculptured puzzles cut in 2 layers; outline puzzles with much of the background cut away; round, triangle, and other shaped puzzles plus limited edition puzzles. They also sold puzzles under the F.A.O. Schwartz label. The firm closed in 1974 when the last family member retired. Straus puzzles are not very expensive even on ebay, ranging from $5-$20. This example falls within that range even if bought locally. It was a cinch to do--as I completed the puzzle in under 20 minutes. Yawn! So much for hours of amusement!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


When I first saw these toy airplanes hanging in an antique dealer's shop, I thought they were the usual Japan made tin toys. But I was surprised to see that they were made of painted wood. The only metal parts were the propellers cut from tin. I think these were made in Pampanga, possibly around Angeles City, which had a thriving tourist business that targetted military personnel and their families back in the 60s thru the 80s. Maybe these were made for the tourist trade primarily, modelled after airplanes from the last World War and current aircrafts that flew from Clark,

I don't know the exact airplane models from where these were copied, but they certainly are vintage. They were made to hang as they came with hooks where one could loop strings There are still makers of model airplanes in the Clark area, but they are more sophisticated now--airbrushed painted with details such as sticker decals and carved wooden bases on which to display them. But these original wooden planes have a kind of a simple folk charm that's just as appealing and as endearing to the eye--moreso when they fly the wide blue yonder!

217. Advertique: QUAKER OATS COIN BANK

And I thought coin banks were the only favorite giveaways of banking and financial institutions to promote their services! Well, here's one--a plastic figural con bank in the shape of Quaker Oats' company mascot--the Quaker Man. Quaker Oats, world-famous maker of oatmeals, bran and fiber products was founded in 1901--a merger of 4 19th c. milling companies. Quaker Oats adopted the image of the Quaker Man as their company mascot who, according to Quaker partner Henry Seymour represented integrity, honesty, purity —which appropriately personified his company's oat product.The Quaker Man was America's first registered
trademark for a breakfast cereal, his registration taking place on September 4th, 1877. The Quaker Man has recently been modified; not only did he lose 10 pounds but he also lost his double chin!

I have been googling for clues as to the origin of this Quaker Man coin bank, which stands about 6 inches tall, of orange plastic--but no luck so far. I don't know if this was a local premium item--the subsidiary of the U.S. company here is Quaker Oats Philippines Inc.--which really has no tradition of giving promotional giveaways such as this. I would date this from the 60s. When I got this coin bank, it even had a couple of coins inside. When I fished them out, the amount total to 27 pesos, local currency. Subtract this from the 100 pesos price I paid for this kitschy piece--so that leaves us with Php 73! Not bad for a rarely seen Quaker Oats collectible!