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Double Face Doll

The double face doll made of wax was a new mechanical doll on the market in 1880’s.  The 1880’s was  time of change and innovation in doll making where sleep eyes, teeth, ball joints, voice boxes and mechanics were but a few of the new inventions added to the making of dolls.    Fritz  Bartenstein was no exception as he vied for his part of the doll market with his patented double faced doll head filed on July 5, 1881.

Wax had been used previously in doll making and admired for its skin-like qualities.  Many paper mache doll heads had been covered with wax as well as all wax heads to attain the desired soft image qualities of the material.  The downside was that it is not as stable as other materials and tends to crack and, of course, can melt, which is what happened to this doll head.  The original family kept the doll stored away for some 100 years hoping to restore it one day.   Because the antique doll had been stored so carefully, her body was prime and in like-new condition.

As Found

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll BEFORE

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head BEFORE

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head front BEFORE

 Paper macheshoulder plate& bonnet.* Heads wereto rotate inbonnet. The dome had been coveredwith a bonnet made of twolayers of fabric and lace.The metal most through themiddle of the head supportedthe faces as a pivot insidethe head. With the facesmelting, one face melted

into the other, with one

melted to the inside of the


Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head side BEFORE Bartenstein 2 face wax doll back BEFORE
Mechanics Bartenstein 2 face wax doll pull string  Pull strings extended out2 holes in the hip area.One string for cry box.Two strings for rotatingthe faces. Bartenstein 2 face wax doll inside body tubeBartenstein 2 face wax doll bottom of shoulder plate

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll body tube removed

Body tube removed

 The cylinder was to house the cry box assembly.  Astring attached to the cry box, exited out a hole in thebottom of the tube.  The two strings to rotate the headwere from the shoulder plate, through the tube andout the other hold at the bottom of the cylinder.The top of the tube was glued to the paper macheshoulder plate, with the  tube sliding into the body.plate seated on top of the cylinder.



Detached – melted faces

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll melted head removed from dome

FACE 1 (Crying) Removed from bonnet dome. Note features present, but smashed. (love original eyebrows!)

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll empty dome with eyes

DOME after heads removed. (heated with blow dryer to remove)

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll head AFTER removal from dome

FACE 2 (Smile) The eyes for the face were found in the melted mass.


Bartenstein 2 face wax doll mold for new face


To construct another smile face, a like- size  papermache head was used. The head was covered witha dental epoxy which hardened to a rubber state.Themelted  heads were separated,  saving theoriginal cry face,  which was melted flat to theinside of the bonnet dome. All excess wax wasmelted and poured into the mold (took 3 triesto get the right shape.


2 Faces

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll Cry face attached to post

Cry Face attached to post

 Two faces Again!!The heads are joined andattached to the post  Thecry face has been cleanedbut still needs detail work.The smile face has had nowork yet to smooth and addfeatures.

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll new smile face

New Smile Face


Bartenstein 2 face wax doll cry face AFTER


 the bonnet dome isattached, stabilized bythe metal post throughthe head. A strip ofhuman hair is attachedat the edge of the bonnetunder the fabric bonnetcover. The head rotates

easily by pulling the strings

out the holes at the hip.

Bartenstein 2 face wax doll new smile face AFTER


Restored! Bartenstein 2 face wax doll Bartenstein 2 face wax doll pull string

Rag Doll Discovery

A rag doll discover was quite a surprise when the owner thought the body was beyond repair and requested a new one. When the china head was removed, underneath was the pristine printed head of a rag doll made by Art Fabric Mills, NYC (1899-1910). Her body had thin spots and a couple of rips with sawdust leaking, but the heavy muslin had served her well. She still retains all the original details of underclothing, button top boots and red socks. After some reinforcing and some new clothing, she takes her place, again, as a found family treasure.

The other part of this family treasure was a Civil War era highbrow china head. At some point in her long life, her shoulder-plate head had been broken in many places. She was repaired with an invisible restoration, a new body fabricated, complete with striped socks and black boots with tassels. Her hour glass body worked well for the new fitted Homespun cotton dress and silk jacket of the era. Of course she wears pantaloons and a petticoat to complete her assemble.

Doll repair, restoration and conservation is the art and skill of bringing dolls back as a treasured memory. Antique and vintage dolls have come to be thought of as a work of art. Learning doll repair is more than being a Doll Doctor and fixing what is broken; it is restoring a work of art to museum quality or returning it as a family heirloom.

rag doll Art Mills Rag Doll china doll art rag doll

Mary Lincoln Project

What started out as an antique doll mystery on EBay turned into a new friendship  and antique doll clothing project with  Mary Todd Lincoln presenter  and author Donna McCreary.  Used as an authority by the Abrahan Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, IL, Donna was inspired by pieces owned by the museum and the Smithsonian to write Fashionable First Lady: The Victorian Wardrobe of Mary Lincoln which offers insight into the personality of Mary Lincoln through her exquisite wardrobe.  A dream of Donna’s has been to have select wardrobe pieces to display on her speaking tours and later donate to the Lincoln Museum.  This extensive project  to replicate a number of outfits of Mary Lincoln’s wardrobe in authentic Civil War era style is now becoming a reality! (LINK to Donna McCreary’s web site on Recommended Links page)

NOTE: Click on picture for actual size.
** Dolls are reproduction Mary Todd Lincoln (kit) sold by Yield House in 1970’s.

Double Skirt & Mantle

Snapping a photo of the new first lady and her two young boys, Mary wore a silk skirt with two deep flounces.  The original fabric, as in this one is in a geometric patterns with a row of small diamonds.  The original gown had small and large diamond shapes in a horizontal line.  Underneath Mary wears pantaloons, an double layered eyelet petticoat with bustle eyelet and hoop.  Her antique white blouse has antique lace at the cuffs and bodice front.  The dress is fitted with the geometric design meeting in the front in a V shaped pattern.  The mantle is lined in black cotton and accented with matching silk insets, black cording  and draw strings with tassels.  Her bonnet is trimmed with lace, flowers and greenery. Read the rest of this entry »

1840 China Doll Clothing

Special Feature!! Lola Montez Cabuchon Parian in 1840 china doll clothing

Because doll clothing is modeled after what people wore, this post is to show you what a proper lady of the 1870’s wore and what is possible in fabricating custom doll clothing for your doll.

CLICK on READ THE REST and view ALL that Lola wears!

It is difficult being a lady of the 1870′s and Lola Montez is no exception.  She has to hurry to dress for her walk on the promenade.

Click photos to enlarge.

1840 china doll clothingLola is a 24″ parian doll with a leather hinged body, parian dish hands and rust colored parian boots. Her hair is elaborately arranged with a braid circling her head, additional hair rolls and hair brush marks around the hair line. Her face is softly decorated with a red line accent above her eyes and red highlights on her lips. She has a lovely cabuchon embedded in her breast plate with a photo or her beloved mother framed with gold and accented with opal jewels on the chain.breastplate details

Step by Step Lola Gets Dressed

After her toilet, Lola puts on her drawers. They are soft, made of batiste, antique lace and accented with rows of pin tucks. They are also crotchless as it is cold when using the privy. typical drawers 1840 china doll clothing


Next she slips her matching chemise over her head. It is like a long slip. It fits softly under her corset so that it does not pinch or feel so tight. On hot summer days, sometimes she sleeps in it. 1840 china doll clothing
Her corset comes next. Her maid helps her as she eases it on. It has six ribs that are stiff which makes it hard for her to move. She understands that fashion and appearances is everything and she likes the way the corset pulls everything in for a stylish figure and her dresses fit better.
china doll corset china doll corset
Next is her petticoat. Her petticoat has 2 ribs in the back that can be cinched with draw strings to tighten for a fuller, fashionable bustle. The bustle in the back is the new rage from the round hoops of the Civil War years. It is easier for her to move through the house without bumping into things with the old hoops. She also likes the look of the petticoat and thinks it makes her look slimmer, almost flat in the front and lots of fullness in the back.
1840 china doll clothing petticoat
Lola slips her double skirted dress over her head. The under-skirt is striped dupioni silk with fine lines of reds, greens and golds. The short over-skirt is a dark brown dupioni silk with rows of accenting french knots. She will add the lapels which will keep the swags in the upper skirt in place. The bodice is a simple straight design with a round beck, drop shoulders and fitted long sleeves. dress with overskirt in silk for china doll
Lapels and bustle come next. Attached to a silk belt and buttoned in front, the lapels are gold two tone China silk trimmed with gold silk daises and cotton embroidery at the tops. They attach to the upper skirt to cover the swag gathers and add fashion accents. The bustle lays softly on the raised platform made by the petticoat hoops and accents the back of the dress. The bustle is made of antique cotton embroidery cuffs and gathered for fullness.
 lapels for china doll dressback view of china doll lapels
Lola is worried that it might be chilly outside. She decides to leave her gloves and grabs her shawl fichu. She likes the shawl fichu because it is is shorter than her cape. It does not have arm holes so she is able to move more freely. Kept in place with an attached belt and slip brass buckle, it is made of same silk as her lapels, matching her other assemble pieces perfectly. The shawl is overlain with an antique embroidery collar and edged with the same silk daisies as her lapels.
1840 china doll clothing fichu shawl
The last item Lola has to put on is her hat. Hats of the 1870 were small, cap-like. Hers is made of gathered silk, ostrich feathers, antique tule and accented with an antique seed pearl broach. She is ready for her walk.
china doll bonnetchina doll bonnet
Off she goes!
    1840 china doll clothing china doll side view china doll side view
Ready to Send Your Doll?


Janie Nafsinger
17122 W. Locust Lane
Caldwell, Idaho 83607

Process & FAQ
 Process & FAQ

CLICK here to find out how the process works from sending your doll, completion time, payment info and shipping.


Thanks so much for your hard work - she looks awesome! Kurt is very pleased. :)

Lori Hammond & Kurt Greenwood