Monday, January 5, 2015

320. Cheap but Charming: CELLULOID DOLLS

The invention of "celluloid" -- a kind of plastic created from wood prpducts in 1863--put an end to breakable dolls of china, bisque and porcelain.It was a popular material for a wide range of manufactured items---such as jewelry, fashion accessories, and of course, dolls. Beginning in the 1930s cheap dolls were moulded from this new plastic, and these small examples--no more than 3 inches in height--attest to the versatility of the material. These souvenir dolls representing natives of countries around teh world, date from the 50s/60s, and they were all old store stock. They are strung with elastic, and many come complete with moving, googlie eyes.
Dolls such as these were also given away as party favors, or as prizes in fiesta events. Some made great cake toppers. They made great collectibles for kids who aimed to complete their "nations of the world costume collection" with every purchase. Some of these dolls that you see here, are dressed also as harlequins and carnival waifs.  Celluloid, however, was not the perfect plastic, since it is flammable and deteriorates easily if exposed to moisture, also prone to cracking and yellowing. Nevertheless, toymakers capitalized on the new material, by mass-producing charming items that never fail to delight kids--just like these mid-century dollies, who ontinue to find favor among toy collectors!

No comments:

Post a Comment