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Hard Plastic Dolls

Hard plastic dolls were first produced in the late '40s. The improvements in plastics that occurred during World War II allowed toy makers to mold many toys in hard plastic, including dolls. These plastics were more durable and less volatile than the celluloid type of plastic used before the war, which had a reputation of being flammable. Hard plastic also allowed doll makers to mold their dolls with more detail and movable parts, including sleep eyes and joints at the head, shoulders and hips.

Many doll companies adopted the hard plastic materials by producing existing doll molds in hard plastic instead of composition. Ideal was one of the first companies to adopt hard plastic, producing its Baby Coos doll with a hard plastic head and composition limbs. The Alexander Doll Company offered its Wendy Ann doll under the Madame Alexander label in 1947. Other manufacturers who quickly adopted hard plastic as the preferred doll material included Vogue, Effanbee, and American Character.

In the '50s, doll makers began using wigs for hard plastic dolls that were made of synthetic fibers rather than mohair. These wigs were washable and more easily styled, allowing doll owners to wash and style their dolls' hair themselves.

Quick Facts

  • The advertising doll Buddy Lee, originally made in composition, was first made in hard plastic in 1949. This 13-inch version of the doll became the second best-selling doll in the United States until it was discontinued in 1962
  • Madame Alexander Cissy dolls were produced in hard plastic for older girls and included high-fashion clothing and accessories. These dolls were elegantly made and Yardley of London used them in their toiletries advertisements
  • The popular Ginny dolls produced by the Vogue doll company were introduced in hard plastic after World War II

Recommended Items at Auction

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2 Dolls and trunk
May 30, 10:00 AM EDT
2 Dolls and trunk
by Barry S. Slosberg Inc
Est: $40- $80
$202 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Hard Plastic Dolls

Barry S. Slosberg Inc

Barry S. Slosberg Inc