Rubber, Gutta-Percha, Caoutchouc Dolls 1849+
Caoutchouc, India rubber or gum was used for centuries to make dolls or parts of dolls, among other items. Caoutchouc, rubber or gum was mixed with other materials such as gutta-percha from the Para rubber tree of South America, the material is then colored and heated (vulcanized), to produce a material that would hold it’s shape.
The history and invention of vulcanizing rubber belongs to Robert Haering with Charles Goodyear (founder of Goodyear Rubber Company 1835-1890), both of New haven, Connecticut, USA. Goodyear / New York Rubber Company, rubber doll heads paper box label states; Charles Goodyear’s Patent April 25, 1848 and extended 1862. Vulcanized rubber head dolls have been found with paper labels stating; Charles Goodyear, Pat. May 6, 1851 EXT. 1865. A patent was also issued No. 9,668 on April 12, 1853 in the USA and a British patent filed in 1855 for molded toys made of India rubber and gutta-percha.
Early antique gutta-percha doll makers include 1849 John Edward Payne (UK), 1855 John Henry Johnson of Glasgow, Scotland made India rubber and gutta percha dolls and other items, 1860 Baculard of Paris, France, patented using gutta-percha for making doll heads, 1852 Jean L. H. Arnaud (FR) and 1865 Lang & Company (US), obtained patents for fashion Lady wood bodied dolls covered in vulcanized rubber with rubber joints.
Early antique vulcanized rubber doll makers are Goodyear Rubber Co. (US), India Rubber Comb Co., Benjamin F. Lee Co., New York Rubber Co. (used Goodyear Patent March 28, 1854), Newark India Rubber Co., English doll makers of Metropolitan India Rubber Co. and the Vulcanite Company. 1856 Phoenix of Germany, in 1875 both Ansil W. Monroe and Wesley Miller (USA) obtained patents for making rubber dolls. In the late 1870s Jne, Bru & Cie, Jules Nicholas Steiner and Derolland were all making rubber bébés in France, rubber dolls were also made in Austria, Hungary and other European countries.
Additional Rubber Doll Makers Identified
Rheinische Gummi und Celluloid-Fabrik GER, Rhenania Rubber and Celluloid Factory GER, A.S. Cartwright USA, E. Ridley & Sons USA, Louis Delachal FRA doll mark LD, doll named Bébé Caoutchouc, Matz Dittmer GER, Montgomery Ward USA, Butler Brothers USA, Natural Doll Company USA, Société Française de Jouets & de Caoutchouc Bébés, FRA, Mechanical Rubber Company USA, made rubber dolls, marked M on a shield, Thomas Salter LTD. UK, produced India rubber dolls, Faultless Rubber Company USA, made rubber dolls; Sweetie doll 3 3/4″ tall, all red or tan rubber, Regal Doll Corp. USA, T. Eaton Company of Canada, Eccles of England, made rubber dolls with molded clothes, E. L. Sommers & Company USA, made rubber dolls that crawl or dolls that removed their hat, Sieberling Latex Products, USA, Amberg & Hergershausen GER, made rubber dolls with voice box’s, Mittelland Gummiwerke GER, Strasserpuppen Werkstatten (Strasser Doll Workshop) of Hedwig Maria Strasser Huldschinsky Berlin, made life like art portrait dolls with rubber heads, Schavoir Rubber Company USA, made red and white rubber dolls, Bing Brothers distributed rubber dolls world wide.
1933-1950s Effanbee Dy-Dee Baby doll, 9-24″ tall, earliest dolls are made with a hard rubber head, later dolls were made of hard plastic, blue, brown or green sleep eyes, real upper lashes, single stroke brow, painted lower lashes, open mouth, applied soft rubber ears, molded painted hair, soft rubber body jointed at the neck, arms and hips, first drink and wet baby doll, came dressed in cotton flannel diaper, doll mark DyDee Baby U.S. Pat. 1-857-485 England-880-060 France-723-980 Germany-585-647 Other Pat. Pending.
1936 Ideal Suzette an I-De-Lite Doll or Lifetime Doll, 12, 14, 16″ tall, Shirley Temple look a like doll without the dimples, all Idenite a hard rubber material (much heavier than composition) jointed at the neck, shoulders and hips, celluloid sleep eyes, open mouth with two upper teeth, has molded hair under the mohair wig, doll is unmarked.
1936-1938 American Character Sally Jane doll or Paratex Girl doll, 15, 17, 19, 22″ tall, a Shirley Temple look-a-like, all paratex rubber and composition jointed body, curly human hair wig, sleep hazel eyes, open smiling mouth with six upper teeth, cheek dimples, wore an organdy dress, doll is unmarked. Photo courtesy of Nativelady
1949 Irwin & Company Baby doll, 14″ tall, jointed rubber body and limbs with lots of detail; wrinkles and folds, softer rubber head with molded painted hair, painted or sleep eyes, open nurser mouth. Irwin is probably best know for their small or doll house sized hard plastic dolls, so this one is quite interesting. Doll mark on back of neck NON-INFLAM on back Made by IRWIN in USA (in a circle).
In the 1950s rubber resurfaces in a strong way as a doll makers material for dolls, squeak toys and more by Arrow Rubber & Plastics, Dreamland Creations, Rempel Manufacturing of Canada, Sanitoy, Sun Rubber Company, Tilco International (Tilly Toy of Canada), Viceroy Manufacturing of Canada (copies of Sun Rubber dolls) – plus others.