Dolls, Dollhouses, Furniture & Accessories

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History (from Wiki)

Miniature homes, furnished with domestic articles and resident inhabitants, both people and animals, have been made for thousands of years. The earliest known examples were found in the Egyptian tombs of the Old Kingdom, created nearly five thousand years ago. These wooden models of servants, furnishings, boats, livestock and pets placed in the Pyramids almost certainly were made for religious purposes. The earliest known European dollhouses were from the 16th century, were each hand-made and unique, and consisted of cabinet display cases made up of individual rooms. One good example of this was when Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria ordered a miniature copy of a royal residence in 1557. Most other dollhouses of this period showed idealized interiors complete with extremely detailed furnishings and accessories. The cabinets were built with architectural details and filled with miniature household items and were solely the playthings of adults. They were off-limits to children, not because of safety concerns for the child but for the dollhouse. Such cabinet houses [19] were trophy collections owned by the few matrons living in the cities of Holland, England and Germany who were wealthy enough to afford them, and, fully furnished, were worth the price of a modest full-size house's construction.

A 17th century Nuremberg, Germany dollhouse. Wealthy patrician families adopted the idea in the 17th and 18th centuries and had copies made of their own homes. These sumptuous individual pieces were miniature works of art. They were not intended to be used for play, but to demonstrate the owner’s prestige and standing. Series production of doll’s houses began in the second half of the 19th century when parents began to use doll’s houses to prepare their children for their role in society. Smaller doll houses such as the Tate house, with more realistic exteriors, appeared in Europe in the 18th century. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, factories began mass-producing toys, including dollhouses and miniatures suitable for furnishing them. German companies noted for their dollhouses included Christian Hacker, Moritz Gottschalk, Elastolin, and Moritz Reichel. The list of important English companies includes Silber & Fleming, Evans & Cartwright, and Lines Brothers (which became Tri-ang). By the end of the 19th century American dollhouses were being made in the United States by The Bliss Manufacturing Company. Germany was the producer of the most prized dollhouses and doll house miniatures up until World War I. Notable German miniature companies included Märklin, Rock and Graner and others. Their products were not only avidly collected in Central Europe, but regularly exported to Britain and North America. Germany's involvement in WWI seriously impeded both production and export. New manufacturers in other countries arose.

Living room of a Dollhouse in Maine, United States. The TynieToy Company of Providence, Rhode Island, made authentic replicas of American antique houses and furniture in a uniform scale beginning in about 1917. Other American companies of the early 20th century were Roger Williams Toys, Tootsietoy, Schoenhut, and the Wisconsin Toy Co. Dollhouse dolls and miniatures were also produced in Japan, mostly by copying original German designs. After World War II, dollshouses continued to be mass-produced but on a much larger scale with less detailed craftsmanship than prior structures. By the 1950s, the typical dollhouse sold commercially was made of painted sheet metal filled with plastic furniture. Such houses cost little enough that the great majority of girls from the developed western countries that were not struggling with rebuilding after World War II could own one.

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