Vintage: Doll Factories (1940s-1950s)

Vintage: Doll Factories (1940s-1950s)


Hundreds of pairs of vacant eyes stare down from the walls. Tiny mouths are destined to remain semi-open, forever jammed half-way between a smile and a scream. And sure, the end product made millions of little girls happy. But the factory where these toy dolls were mass produced? It looks like something straight out of a horror movie.

Inside these vast factories metal moulds formed torsos by the thousands. In one room, mountains of flesh-colored limbs were manufactured en masse. Tiny legs and arms, meanwhile, hung loosely from conveyor belts, still waiting to be attached. And away from the assembly lines, workers painstakingly brought these plastic mannequins to life with paint, eyes and false hair. Finally, when all was completed, this army of creepy clones were shipped off to toy stores across the country.

It was, of course, a completely different time and a world away from the digitized child play of today. From the 1920s onwards, the toy industry boomed across the world. And for a new generation of consumers one toy in particular was more popular than any other: the baby doll.

Jan. 12, 1949 Doll eyes and heads at a factory in England. Image: Fox Photos/Getty Images

c. 1930 Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

c. 1940 Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

c. 1940 Image: Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Dec. 3, 1945 A factory in France. Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Dec. 19, 1951 A worker sprays a doll head at a factory in England. Image: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images

c. 1950 A worker paints dolls at a factory in Italy. Image: Keystone-France\Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

c. 1950 Image: FPG/Getty Images

c. 1955 Image: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images

c. 1955 Image: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images

Dec. 15, 1951 Image: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images

1931 Workers style dolls’ hair at a factory in Germany. Image: ullstein bild/ullstein bild/Getty Images

c. 1937 A worker paints dolls at a factory in England. Image: London Express/Getty Images

Dec. 15, 1951 Parts of a doll in an injection mould at Cascelloid’s factory in England. Image: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Getty Images

c. 1955 Children watch a worker painting doll’s heads at a factory in Long Island. Image: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images

Dec. 3, 1945 A worker sprays doll heads at a factory in France. Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Dec. 18, 1935 A worker paints celluloid doll heads at a factory in England. Image: Harry Todd/Fox Photos/Getty Images

c. 1955 A worker paints doll’s heads. Image: Evans/Three Lions/Getty Images

c. 1955 Image: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images

1947 Freshly cast doll heads wait to dry. Image: Merlyn Severn/Picture Post/Getty Images

Dec. 1953 Workers test the strength of a doll’s head. Image: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images

c. 1955 Workers stress-test dolls at a factory in Long Island. Image: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images

Dec. 3, 1945 A worker clothes dolls at a factory in Paris. Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

c. 1955 A girl looks at doll’s heads at a factory on Long Island. Image: Orlando /Three Lions/Getty Images

Jan. 28, 1949 A worker trims the eyelashes on a pair of doll’s eyes. Image: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Dec. 15, 1951 Freshly cast doll legs dry at a factory in England. Image: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

via mashable.com


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