Composition Doll Types (Repair & Clothing Reference)

What is the difference in baby dolls?

Character Baby Dolls (1910 – 1920’s) have a five part composition body with a bisque head. Most character baby dolls were made in Germany with the maker information inscribed on the back of their heads.  Character dolls were made to look like real children of the day for a more realistic doll.

Chubby Toddler Dolls (1930-1940’s) are an American made doll   The dolls are all composition with eyes that are either painted, tin sleep eyes or acrylic sleep eyes. Their bodies are upright with straight legs so that they can stand alone.  Composition chubby toddler dolls were made more economically and soon took the place of the bisque head German imported dolls (after the German firms went out of business).

Composition Baby Dolls (1925 – 1940’s) have a cloth with composition arms, legs, and head or all composition body.  The main identifying thing is that their legs are bent like a baby so they are not able to stand, but sit well with the support of the bent legs.    Made in the United States, composition baby dolls usually a cry box in the cloth torso. Quality varied with attention to detail, clothing, paints and eyes of  tin, paint and acrylic (which often crystallized with age).

Make the right clothing choices for your composition doll . . .

What style of doll do you have? This section is to show general body styles for common composition antique dolls to help you select appropriate clothing.   As there are many more styles and variations, please email with questions concerning your doll clothing needs.

What is composition? Composition is a wood product with the basic formula made of fine sawdust chips, plaster, lime and glue (formula varied with companies) that has been placed in a mold to form heads, bodies, arms and legs.

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Mama Dolls – Mama dolls are made with a  composition head, arms and legs.  They have a rather chubby cloth body with long straight legs so that they look like children, not babies.   They are made to look like little girls 3-7 years old,  longer,  more slender arms and hard stuffed bodies (longer and less “chunky”).  Most also have a cry box in the cloth portion of their bodies.

Antique American Mama doll body style

Antique Flossie Flirt with American Mama doll body style

 

Baby Dolls –  There are two categories of baby dolls,  1) composition with cloth body  and   2) all composition.  Babies have chubby bodies with bent legs and bent arms. They are meant to be posed in a sitting position like a baby.  Composition baby (soft body) dolls  have composition arms, legs & head with a cloth torso and generally a cry box.   Baby dolls are intended to look like under-one-year-old babies. In the photo you will see a small all composition baby as well as the type with cloth body and composition on all or part of their arms.  Baby dolls can also have cloth legs and partial cloth arms with cloth bodies as in the the photo.  As companies tried to out do each other, some babies were mechanical (bottle baby), crawled, cried or had some other unique feature.

American composition baby dolls body type

All composition and cloth body American composition baby dolls body type

antique byelo baby doll, antique Arranbee Dream baby doll

Composition Byelo baby doll & Arranbee Dream Baby (bottle baby) cloth body and legs (frog type) cloth arms celluloid hands

Toddler Dolls – Composition (chubby) Toddlers  are all composition with  straight chubby legs. Many can stand alone such as a Kewpie or Scootles type dolls.

Antique composition chunky toddler body

Antique composition chunky toddler body

Child Dolls – These are dolls like Shirley Temple, Anne Shirley, Princess Elizabeth, Patsy family dolls  etc.   Children dolls have a more slender body with long straight legs.  They are designed to be young children.

 

 

 

Composition child body style

Composition child body style

Antique composition Patsy and Patsy type body style

Patsy and Patsy type body style

 

 

 

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