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
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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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