Saturday, July 10, 2010

Argo Model Home for Dolls circa 1957

Cisette tiptoes into the nursery to see if little Wendy has wakened from her nap.  Of course with Cisette's feet she can't do anything but tiptoe if she isn't wearing shoes, and I couldn't find her shoes.

I fact, I wanted to do this post with Ginny and Jill, but I couldn't find them either, even though I just looked in the box containing them a few days ago. The mystery is, where did I put that box after I looked in it. I can tell you that I don't know.

So, we are doing this post with Cisette and Wendy. Both are Madame Alexander dolls, and are from the late 50s, so they fit perfectly with this room.
The nursery is an Argo Model Home for dolls - Scale 1-1/2 inches to 1 foot, perfect for 8" to 10" dolls. I won this room and the furniture on eBay. I was bidding on the kitchen too, but didn't get it.

Now that I see the nursery 'in person' I really wish I had won the kitchen too.

Actually the building and the furniture came in separate boxes. See the pictures below.

The furniture came in one box. As you can see from the picture the box is in excellent condition and the graphics are still vibrant and readable.

I am amazed that it was still in the box, in place, in mint condition. Even the bed clothes are there. The only thing missing is the lamp. There are instructions to put a pen light battery in the lamp and it will really light up. The instructions are dated 'Copyright 1957', but I couldn't find any other dates on the box or brochure.

Each room set came with the same lamp, so I might be able to find one to complete the set.

This may look like the same box on first glance, but it isn't. This box contains the room - Completely Decorated - as the box says.

Every thing for the room fits neatly into the box. It is only about half as deep as the furniture box.

The graphics are great, but the box is a bit more beat up than the furniture one. Possibly because the room is heavier.

Here is the out side of the room. If you had all four rooms you could line them up to make a four room ranch house or you could stack them to form a Colonial house of apartment building. The brochure below explains it all.

Here is the side view of the house. If you wanted to put four rooms together - two on the bottom and two on top -  to make a four room house, I guess you just put aside two of the roofs.
This is the front of the brochure that came with the house.

This is the back of the brochure.

The inside of the brochure shows all four rooms in colour. Now you can see why I wanted the kitchen too.

Below are larger pictures of each room.

A lovely modern kitchen for the lucky teenage doll. Don't you love the brown and yellow colour scheme.

Mid-century modern lovers will enjoy this modern living room. I dig that crazy wallpaper.

The bedroom looks lovely, but I'm not sure the wallpaper is all that restful. Nice double bed though.

And last, the nursery with the elusive lamp. I can't complain though. Even the curtains and curtain rod came with mine.

View from the top.

Wendy is trying to tell Cisette that she is too big for a crib, but Cisette insists that this room was designed for dolls her size and this is where she is going to sleep.

"Well;" says Wendy, "I am definitely too big for that playpen, and if you put me in it I will climb right out again."

"Deal," agrees Cisette. "Too bad we don't have any other rooms or I would make you a snack."

If you don't already know this website get over there and bookmark it. is a vintage Christmas catalog archive project and has complete Christmas catalogs from 1933 to 1988. Not every catalog mind you, but a select few. And they are looking for more.

A couple of days before I picked up my Argo Model Home package at the post office. I was idly surfing through the 1958 Sears Christmas Catalog and came across the page shown here.

I drooled over the room settings a bit and wondered where I could find them today. I didn't realize that the nursery I bought on eBay was one of these wonderful rooms. I read the scale from the picture on the listing and thought it was 1" to 1'. I'm very happy it was this instead.

I just hope that someday I can find the other three in mint condition. And I hope I find that box with Ginny and Jill in it.




  1. how fun! thank you for sharing :)

  2. What a cool house. I think I've seen the kitchen chairs and table now and then on ebay. I never knew what they were. Cool info. CM

  3. I can definitely see why you wanted the kitchen! I love the living room too, with the golden curtains and blue carpet. What a find! Now you know what to look out for, I hope you find more rooms - and in as good condition as this nursery!

  4. Very, very cool, Susan! I love to see new discoveries people make, especially when it turns out you've bought something that you are able to research and learn about. Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Great bedroom Susan, and I understand why you're sad because of the lost kitchen, the kitchen's gorgeous, but usually things pop up on ebay again, so I'm sure you will get a second chance some day.

    Thanks for sharing the info, like callsmall said, it's always nice to hear about new discoveries being made.

  6. Thanks everyone. I was happy to get the brochures with the sets. They give so much information about these rooms. I had never heard of them before this. I'm glad I know about them now.

  7. I've seen the furniture on eBay but never realized it came with a room box...what a unique idea. I think I saw the kitchen table and chairs on eBay this I have an excuse to do some surfing (as if I needed an excuse!).

  8. Ha ha. You and me both Florine.


  9. If anyone is still looking for ARGO furniture in a room set, go to, GOOD GOLLY MISS DOLLY. We have sold some of ours, but are working on more sets with this gorgeous furniture!

  10. I had this house as a girl! I got it as a Christmas present, probably around 1967. I am not sure if it would have Ben used at the time, it was in perfect shape but dates seem to imply it was new before I was born. Maybe they made it for many years, however. I loved the orange drapes, they really opened and closed. The mirror on the bedroom dresser was an early casualty. At this point I only have a drawer left from a dresser, and the living room set. Not sure what happened to the dining furniture and bed that I remember well. Probably just played with all until the inevitable breakages happened. Thanks for letting me revisit my childhood!

  11. It is great to hear from someone who actually owned and played with this great doll furniture. You can still find pieces on eBay from time to time. I have collected three rooms and almost all the furniture. I still need the kitchen and the contents, but I am still looking. I think they did sell it for many years, so yours was probably new when you got it.