Wooden China Dolls 1860

China Doll Shards – What to do? 
                          By Janie Nafsinger of Antique Child Doll Restoration

Shards? What are those you wonder. Shards are the throw away pieces that were broken or not perfect enough to sell. Those shards ended up in piles of pieces in and around the doll factories of Germany. With the doll industry in Germany long since over, industrious individuals have dug up much of those doll heads and are selling them. Two of those heads can be identified, while the other 2 are identifiable as to era, but not maker. 

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The first two are : Alt, Beck Gottschalck (ABG) porcelain factory founded its first factory in Nauendorf, Germany in 1854. Making only china doll heads at that time, their production thrived to 3 factories. The third of these factories was in Stutzhaus and was sold to Hertel Schwab & Co. in 1910 where it was discovered in the ceiling and floor between the 1st and 2nd floor the shards represented here. ** Finding these shards proved that ABG made china and parians from 1864 on. What is unique about these heads is that they were only made by ABG with facial designs documents to be unique to the firm. In addition, the hairstyle of the woman has an unusual braid that encircles the back of the head and wraps around a loop of hair to hold in place (Ca. Mid 1860). The man is also document to be an early 1860. Both head have brush strokes around the hairlines.

Additional china doll heads used adapting vintage wooden bodies was a pink tint Covered Wagon doll and a Civil War Highbrow china doll.

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IMG_4766 wooden body china dolls

How to Restore? There are a couple of options in restoration of china doll heads that are only a couple of inches. One could be the typical cloth body with china arms and legs. Another body option is to do a wooden body as found on some early china dolls. Those early wooden body dolls had china hinge arms and legs that allowed for an articulated body able to sit and bend for posing. While access to hinge china arms and legs is no longer available, the next best thing is a totally wooden body. The bodies used are vintage acquired on the secondary market.  These wooden china dolls from the 1860 era adapt well to the small china doll heads.  With a little tweaking they work perfectly for the hourglass shape fashions of the 1850-60 era. The hands and feet have been carved down to resemble antique china doll bodies.

** Krombholtz, Mary Gorham. A Pictorial Reference Guide for German Chinas Nashville, TN 2009. pp 223,230, 242.

1) White dress doll – Covered Wagon pink tint china head (1850) wearing cotton pantaloons and double hooped skirt. Over-skirt of English lace with bonnet of same fabric and shawl of antique lace.
2) Blue dress doll – Civil War highbrow china head (1860) wearing blue silk dress with bustle made of antique lace collar over pantaloons, and petticoats. Matching bonnet with filigree back, antique lace and paper flowers.
3) Plaid dress doll – ABG 1865 china head wearing silk plaid dress with gathered back bustle, matching bonnet with organdy ribbon and silk ties. English lace shawl and antique button broach as accents. Undergarments include pantaloons, and 2 petticoats.
4) Man china doll – ABG 1865 man china head wearing silk shirt with lace and antique button broach. Gray wool suit, lined with cotton and accented with cording at seam.

Ready to Send Your Doll?


Janie Nafsinger
17122 W. Locust Lane
Caldwell, Idaho 83607

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 Process & FAQ

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We received the doll yesterday. She arrived in great shape and looks EXCELLENT! We are very pleased with the job you did.
Thank You

Paul Wilde