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Doll Gallery: Hard Plastic

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When plastic was invented, it was a doll manufacturer's dream, because now dolls could be dropped and bathed without coming to harm. The first plastic dolls were hard and shiny - and some of these early ones are victims of 'doll disease' which is a breaking-down of the plastic.
Joanie Joanie is a Pedigree doll, dating from around 1948. She is 10" tall, and has bent limbs typical of a baby. Once, she would have had a blonde mohair wig, but now she is bald, apart from a few tufts! She has painted blue sleep eyes. Joanie is wearing a dress consisting of a red woollen skirt, white cotton top and black woollen waistcoat, probably original to the doll. Underneath, she wears pink satin pants and a blue satin petticoat. Pinned to her skirt is a plastic brooch dating from the early 1950's.
Kester is an O'Kader boy. O'Kader dolls are made from a very thin hard, shiny plastic and were still being made in the 1970's. Many of them have moving tongues and twist wrists, as in this example. He also has sleep eyes. Kester is wearing a blue knitted outfit - trousers, jumper, hat, scarf and mittens. O'Kader dolls are becoming quite collectable, and they come in many sizes, from tiny babies to dolls around 25" tall. You may remember seeing a picture of Kay, our 25" baby, in the last issue. Kester
group Small hard plastic dolls can often be found in boxes of costume dolls on flea markets and at boot sales. These four came from a rummage box and cost about 50p each. The 'Pearly King and Queen' and the 'Gainsborough Lady' were made by Chiltern, probably in the 1950's. They have a 'sucked-in' expression, as though they've been eating lemons! The doll at the far right is a small Rosebud, and she was once probably dressed as a Welsh girl. Hard-plastic Rosebuds are avidly collected by many people.

Click here to see last issue's Hard Plastic Gallery.

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