Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Effanbee Doll Company

The Effanbee Doll Company, Inc. is located at 459 Hurley Avenue in Hurley, New York.

This company was found around 1912 in New York City. Effanbee stands for Fleischaker & Baum who were the company founders. The Effanbee Company is well known for being the first to produce a realistically proportioned child doll named “Patsy.” Identification of the Effanbee dolls is made easier by having the dolls name in the marking.

The doll Patsy was designed by Bernard Lipfert and advertised in 1928. She was one of the first dolls to have a manufactured wardrobe just for her. Other manufacturers sold accessories and clothing as well. She was made of all composition. Her patent was defended by Effanbee, which was actually a neck joint that allowed the doll to pose and stand alone. Patsy portrayed a three year old girl with short bobbed red hair with a molded headband, painted side glancing eyes, pouty mouth, bent right arm and wore simple classic dressed closed with a safety pin. A golden hear charm bracelet fit tightly on her wrist and a gold paper heart tag with her name. Patsy was a very popular doll. There were several sisters created in many factory variations and a boyfriend named Skippy.

The Effanbee Doll Company created a doll line to popular current events such as producing George and Martha Washington for the bicentennial of George’s birth. They also costumed dolls in ethnic dress such as “Miss Scotland,” or after characters in books like “Alice in Wonderland.”

In 1940, the death of Hugo Baum, and loss of income during the war years brought the Effanbee success story into a decline. The Effanbee Company was sold in 1946 to Noma Electric and they reissued a 1946 Patsy, then later a new 17-inch Patsy Joan. The company has changed hands several more times. It was at one time with Stanley Wahlbery as president of the company and Irene Wahlberg as designer.

There were limited editions of Patsy Ann and Skippy issued during the 1970s. Patsy reappeared in vinyl in the 1980s.

The Robert Tonner Doll Company acquired Effanbee in 2002 from bankruptcy. Robert Tonner is a talented designer who designed Betsy McCall and fashion dolls.

Early Doll Creations

Among some of their earlier creations is “Brenda Starr, Reporter.” She was created by Dale Messick to premiere on June 30, 1940 as the tempestuous and flamboyant redhead who was always impeccably dressed and coifed traveling the world on one exciting assignment after another for her newspaper, the Flash. Her adventures were filled with glamour, romance and intrigue as she was torn between the demands of her career and the many loves of her personal life.

Brenda Starr’s story showed readers a new type of heroine. She fought from day one on the newspaper job to be treated as an equal. Brenda has a sleek and sexy style that portrays the allure and independence of a working woman at the top of her career.

In 1945, Brenda dreamed of a tall, dark and handsome stranger who materialized into the Basil St. John doll creations. Basil St. John was a reclusive millionaire who cultivates a rare species of black orchids, which is the only known remedy for his “secret disease.” Basil St. John is introduced with a collection of dressed dolls and outfits worthy of a dashing Romeo.

Later Versions of Brenda Starr

In 2000, Effanbee introduced Brenda Starr, sculpted by Sandra Bilotto. Sandra Bilotto created imaginative clothing and zest for the favorite reporter, Brenda Starr.

When Robert Tonner acquired Effanbee in 2002, he re-styled the original Brenda head sculpt to fit the Tonner Doll Company’s Tyler Wentworth body style. A new era for Brenda Starr, the sexy and independent newspaper reporter, spanned across the years of 2002 to 2007. This collection has provided collectors with extraordinary fashion from another era.

Daphne Dimples joined Brenda Starr at the Staff at the Flash Newspaper office. Daphne is an apprentice to Brenda and the heiress and niece of the owner of the Flash Newspaper. She is not one to take second place to anyone, she joined the staff to gain fame as a reporter in her own right.

Daphne Dimples is my favorite of this modern collection. I like her as “Arrival at Port.” She wears a two piece belted suit of flannel with faux fur sleeves. Her ensemble includes a spiffy looking hat, purse, earrings, necklace, hose, and shoes.

In 2005, Robert Tanner introduced Brenda Starr’s best friend, Betty Ann, a witty copywriter with the same glamorous flair as her best friend, Brenda Starr.

Written by: Connie Limon. For more information about starting and maintaining a Vintage Doll Collection visit For a variety of FREE reprint articles as well as special sections in U.S. History and the Kennedy Administration visit
This article is FREE to publish with the resource box
© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Basic Doll Types Part 1

If you are serious about starting a doll collection of any kind you should have some basic knowledge of how to identify doll types. There are basically nine doll types that include:

Bisque Dolls
Composition Dolls
French Bisque
German Bisque Dolls
Glazed China Heads
Modern Dolls
Paper Mache Dolls
Untinted Bisque
Wax Dolls

A bisque doll refers to a type of doll that has been fired twice having color added before the second firing. The color before the second firing includes the overall tint as well as the facial features. Even though the Bisque heads were expensive to make, if made on a large enough scale, they could become very cost effective. The Bisque dolls were also created from molds like a poured wax doll and later composition dolls.

The early bisque heads had molded hair and eyes, later heads had possessed glass inset, sleep eyes, or flirty eyes. Some bisque dolls even had inset tongues and teeth. Most of the bisque dolls were produced in Germany because of the large deposits of clay needed to make the porcelain. Body types of the bisque dolls varied. Some types were made of leather, cloth, wood, paper mache, composition, and bisque. Bisque doll bodies are heavier than other types of dolls. Bisque dolls are usually only seen in a smaller size doll.

The term “composition dolls” is a collective term used to describe a variety of pulped-wood or paper-based mixtures. These mixtures were used to create heads and bodies. These mixtures were used in the place of wood because they were generally less expensive. They were also easier to use and allowed for more creativity than working with wood materials. The easier to use materials allowed a greater production with machines, which made a huge difference throughout the doll making industry.

Some of the formulas for composition included edible ingredients like eggshells and bread. This created a problem with insects, bugs and rodents gnawing upon them. Other formulas of composition were susceptible to changes in the temperature and humidity. When the composition formula shrank or swelled the result was cracking or crazing of the paint on the dolls. The varnish used on the composition dolls often became discolored and turned dolls to a yellowish tint. Due to all these problems with the composition formulas it is very difficult to find a composition doll in really great condition, one without the cracking and/or peeling of the heavy paint.

When you do find a composition doll in good condition, storage conditions has to be controlled. Avoid storing in basements or upstairs closets or any area closed off from the rest of the house. Store your composition dolls in the more lived in areas of your home.

The French Bisque Dolls created in the 1840’s to the 1950’s have a few characteristics unique from other doll makers. They usually have large almond shaped eyes, long painted lashes, large brows with numerous strokes. The eyes are paperweight. Hair of mohair wigs and either jointed composition bodies or kid leather bodies. Also, the French Bisque dolls were more detailed and a bit fancier than the German Bisque dolls. A few of the best known French Bisque doll manufacturers include:


When trying to identify a French Bisque doll look for markings on both the heads and bodies. There are a number of markings distinctive to Jumeau, Bru, Steiner or other French doll makers. The markings also help to identify French made Bisque dolls from their German counterparts.

As a general rule, French Bisque dolls are much harder to find than their German counterparts. They are also considered to be more valuable. If you can add a good French Bisque doll to your collection, you have made a major accomplishment.

Continued in Part 2

Written by: Connie Limon. For more information about starting and maintaining a Vintage Doll Collection visit For a variety of FREE reprint articles as well as special sections in U.S. History and the Kennedy Administration visit

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box

© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Madame Alexander Doll Collections

The Madame Alexander dolls are collector-quality only. They are exquisitely fine dolls that are designed to be displayed and not played with. Each of the Madame Alexander dolls are produced in limited quantities, and never produced again. Once all dolls are sold, you will have to purchase from a collector.

Madame Alexander dolls can be found in fine doll shops, online on collectors’ web sites and auction sites such as eBay. The Madame Alexander dolls are created with a story that portrays some kind of special moment in history, literature, movies, girls’ lives and fairy tales. The categories of Madame Alexander dolls help the collector decide whether or not to build a Madame Alexander doll collection around a certain line such as all the dolls in the fairy tales category.

A good place to start to get to know the Madame Alexander Doll Collections is to visit their company web site.

The cost of a new Madame Alexander doll is usually around $79.99. I just saw some of the new birthday theme dolls in a fine shop for this amount. In the future, these dolls will become more expensive to purchase from those who have collected them today, and if you purchase Madame Alexander dolls from the previous years, you can expect to pay a huge amount of money for them. The older dolls and of course those in mint condition command prices anywhere from $300 upward.

I personally do not like keeping my dolls in boxes. You should always keep the box, but I keep my dolls behind glass cases so I and other can enjoy seeing them. A nice case is a must for a doll collector to preserve the quality of their collections.

You will need to purchase a doll price guide to get an idea of how much to pay for previous dolls.

The creator of the Madame Alexander dolls actually grew up in the doll business under her Russian immigrant father, Maurice Alexander. Beatrice Alexander Behrman learned to appreciate the beauty of dolls during her early years in life with her father who opened the first “doll hospital” in the United States in 1895. As an adult, Madame Alexander founded the Alexander Doll Company, Inc. in the 1920’s and became the leading professional woman of the doll industry. Her company is famous for beauty and high quality dolls and clothing all based upon a special moment in history, in literature, in the movies, in a girls’ life or a fairy tale. Madame Alexander dolls are fascinating to collect.

The earliest Madame Alexander dolls were actually cloth and composition as this was the type of materials most dolls were made of in the 1930s’.

The first doll was based on a licensed character (Scarlet from Gone with the Wind). This creation lead to the dolls based on characters from popular motion pictures, the first to bring feature baby dolls to market, the first to create dolls in honor of living people such as Queen Elizabeth and the Dionne Quints.

The Alexander Doll Company was acquired by the Kaizen Breakthrough Partnership LP.

Madame Alexander and her company’s goal were and still are to produce the highest quality and most beautiful doll clothing in the entire world. I personally think Madame Alexander and her Company have accomplished this goal over and over again. She used the same molds over and over again with only costume and hairstyle changes to create the personality and character of each.

Written by: Connie Limon. For more information about starting and maintaining a Vintage Doll Collection visit For a variety of FREE reprint articles as well as special sections in U.S. History and the Kennedy Administration visit

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box

© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Horsman Dolls: "America's Best Known and Best Loved Dolls

In 1950, the Horsman Doll Company had been in business for 85 years. All this time the Horsman Doll Company produced a “People’s Doll,” which was a fine doll at a moderate price. Their reputation was built upon producing a limited number of well-made composition dolls. In particular, the Horsman Doll Company produced baby dolls with mama criers with a certain look, a sweet, dolly face that did not change significantly from year to year. The company’s slogan was, “America’s Best Known and Best Loved Dolls.”

The material once used, which was composition, has now given way to a sturdier vinyl material. The Horsman Doll Company continued doing what they did best. They consistently produced a staple line of very attractive dolls in wonderful high quality outfits all at affordable prices which made it possible for almost any American girl to own one.
Another significant change for the Horseman Doll Company was the beginning of rooting Saran fibers into their soft vinyl doll heads. In 1953, they decided to use Dynell, another plastic hair fiber, for the Shadow Wave doll. The hair on this doll could be styled and set. However, in 1954, they returned

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Galoob Baby Face Dolls

Mel Birnkrant is the creator of the Galoob Baby Face doll. He has been in the toy industry for many years and is a leading toy designer. Mel Birnkrant was the Creative Director for Colorforms Toys for over 20 years. While in this position he created a cornucopia of products that included the Mickey Mouse and Disney Colorforms toys. He licensed the Baby Face doll design in partnership with Kiscom Toys to the Lewis Galoob Toy Company in 1990. All the original outfits worn by the Baby Face dolls were created by Judy Albert, who also has fame for the Cabbage Patch family of dolls.
Mel and his wife, Eunice converted a three-story schoolhouse in upstate New York into a home for themselves and their unusual collection of rare comic character toys.
The first dolls’ names were:
· So Surprised Suzie
· So Happy Heidi
· So Sorry Sarah
· So Shy Sherry
· So Delightful DeeDee
· So Playful Penny
· So Innocent Cynthia
· So Loving Laura
· So Sweet Sandi
· So Funny NatalieAll the dolls have acrylic glass eyes and real eyelashes. The dolls are made of a high quality vinyl and are about 13” tall. Being jointed at the neck, shoulders, elbows,

Read on at:

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vintage Doll Collecting: Engel-Puppen

Vintage Doll Collecting: Engel-Puppen

Engel-Puppen has been in business for more than 100 years. It is the oldest doll factory at its location in Roedental, Bavaria, Germany.

The Engel-Puppen dolls are almost any type of doll from small playable vinyl dolls to decorative dolls in original German costumes, from nostalgic collectable dolls to valuable artist dolls made of porcelain in limited editions. The company also produces a large variety in dolls clothes and accessories. One very important fact about the Engel-Puppen doll lines and accessories is that they are all made in Germany and meet the standard of quality that German products are known for all over the world.

At the end of the 19th century, home-workers in the city of Rodental, collected materials from their contractors located in world city of toys, Sonneberg. The dolls were usually complete within a week and wages were paid. Most of the workers worked from workshops in their living rooms.

The first doll factory was established in Monchroden in October/November of 1896 by Edmuch Knoch and his wife, Emilie. Together they started working in one room of their her father’s house, but soon outgrew the space and moved to another house in Rothinestr 7. They moved into their own factory building in 1908 in Lange Wiesen 6.

The first big success of the Edmund Knoch company was the small princess dolls sold mostly by exporters from Hamburg. Their next biggest customers were the export companies from Sonneberg, which is the oldest toy city in the world.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Brief History of the Italian Doll Company: Lenci Company

The Lenci Company was founded in 1919 in Turin, Italy by Enrico and Elana Konig Scavini. It is reported that the company continued making dolls into the 21st century, however, there is conflicting information about the year company was founded and exactly how long they continued making dolls.

The dolls made at Lenci during the 1920s and 1930s are particularly desired by collectors because of their superb craftsmanship, and also because they are so irresistibly adorable.

The most notable among the Lenci’s 83 years of history was the period between the two World Wars. These are said to be the most valuable and best well made of their creations.