Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Valentine couples

 Yes, I know I am a few days late, but procrastinating is a skill I have spent years perfecting.

I wanted to show you two interesting sets of dollhouse dolls from the late 1930s. Both sets of dolls are made from Rubber over wire and have dried out over the years. They are no as longer fresh skinned and flexible as they were 70 years ago. (Who knew dolls could age just like their owners.)

Here are "Mother" and "Daddy" from "The True Family, Real People Dolls" Introduced in 1938 by Fred K. Braitling, Inc. they are 5.5" and 6" respectively.
 They are wearing their original clothes. As  you can see in the picture, Mother's ankles are broken. I guess she went to yoga class just once too often.  I love her dress.

I found more information about this family in Dollhouse &Miniature Dolls, 1840 to 1990 by Marcie Tubbs, Bob Tubbs, and Dian Zillner.
 The True Family had grandparents, servants, children, a minister, and several other people in their world. There were many different outfits for the Trues, including formal wear, wedding clothes, day wear, business suits and boudoir wear. I believe that all dolls were sold dressed.

These two are the only ones I have found so far. But I am keeping my eyes open.
Here are Mr. & Mrs. Minikins in the larger 1:12 scale. Mr. Minikin is 6" and Mrs. Minikin is 5.5" tall.
The dolls have painted faces and hair and were available with different hair colours.

The family also included an 4" boy and a 4" girl and a 5.5" maid. Both children wore painted Mary Jane shoes.

The clothes are cloth and are machine sewn. Mrs. Minikin is wearing a lovely floor length gown with a shoulder wrap. A dance dress - perfect for Valentine's Day. A previous owner had folded the bottom of her dress up and hemmed it to make it a day dress length. I have let it down to its original length and tried to iron out the crease, but it is still evident. It may have been hemmed that way for close to 70 years.

The dolls were also available in 1:18 scale with Father being 4.5" tall and the daughter, the smallest, 3.125" tall. One of the dolls featured in Marci Tubbs' book is marked "Minikins - trade mark Miniature Manniquins. Handmade by The Small World, Frederick Blvd., Boston MA ©1939 Patent Pending". FAO Schwarz offered both sizes of the five piece families in their catalogues for 1941 and 1942.

I am unsure how to clean these rubber dolls and don't wish to do anything that would make them deteriorate further, so I think I will just leave them as is. I hope to find other dolls to complete the families, but these dolls are particularly hard to find. I think that a lot of them were thrown out once they dried up, or broke. But, hope springs eternal and I am sure there are more of these lovely little people out there. I will keep looking.

I hope you enjoyed the visit with these sweet couples, even if it is a few days after Valentines day.



  1. Oh, these dolls are really interesting! I've not heard of them before, so thanks for sharing them on your blog!

  2. Thanks Rick. I really enjoy these dolls, and I am happy to know something bout them. I hope more of them show up soon.


  3. They are really unique. The ageing gives them an etherial look. Really... they've been together a long time.... I wonder what their secret is.C

  4. Well, I guess being in the same box (dollhouse, cupboard, attic, boat, whatever) for 70 some years bonds a couple. I am just happy they stayed together long enough to come live at my house.

  5. Lol! Mr and Mrs True don't look quite as happy together as Mr and Mrs Minikin - I would think 70 years spent together in a box could result in never wanting to see each other again!

    Lovely dolls, how lucky to find them in such good condition. Good luck finding more of the families :-)

  6. Oh! They're all gorgeous! I'm sure they'd all have a lot of fun if they got together with Mr Nylon and his family!

  7. Aren't these folks just too terrifically wonderful ... ever so stylish and seemingly dedicated to a life undivided ... however, considering Mr. True's rather upright, and stullifying posture, it seems that dancing with him may have contributed something to the demise of wifey's ankles!