Thursday, December 29, 2011

German Room Box Dollhouse

I'll start off the Christmas reporting with my biggest gift! 

This German dollhouse dates from the 1920s. Its form is unusual, being done in the open top "room box" style usually used for single rooms, but here incorporated into a two-story, five-room house. It's a big one, measuring 33 inches wide by 25 tall, and retains its original wallpapers, floor coverings, and curtains. The house came empty, but I spent the months it was on layaway collecting old furniture and accessories for it. Let's take a tour!

On the outside, commercially made brick paper covers the walls: 

Each room is framed with this carved wooden trim, which also runs along the entire top back of the house:

Inside, starting at the top left corner, the small bedroom is decorated for Christmas with a little tree and presents. A tiny box of vintage glass ornaments sits on the dresser.

My favorite room is next: the library. I've filled it with antique German furniture including plenty of bookcases and a writing desk.

On the writing desk are some of my favorite accessories: a tiny ink bottle and blotter, along with a miniscule seal, just 1 inch long, made of brass and bone (imitating ivory).

Next to the desk is a revolving bookcase complete with its original books, just 4 inches tall, made in Germany in the late 1900s.

The tall bookcase in the back of the library has another of my favorite accessories on top:  a 1 and 1/2 inch tall planter with original foliage, circa the 1920s.

On to the large bedroom at the upper right corner:

Just inside the door is this handmade fretwork cupboard: 

One of my favorite pieces of furniture is in this room: a 4 inch wide German made dressing table complete with faux-ivory accessories.

Dressing table closed.

Dressing table open. 

Heading downstairs, the dining room is on the lower right, decorated for Christmas. 

The antique buffet, made by the Star Novelty Company in the 1900s, holds a French candelabra, an English silver punchbowl, a Mexican silver decanter set, and some holiday desserts.

The downstairs rooms retain their original floor papers, complete with a colorfully printed "carpet":

The dining room also features colorful original curtains:

The last room on our tour is the kitchen, which I've furnished with a Hoosier cabinet and matching table, and an American cast metal ice box and stove. Christmas cakes wait on the table to be carried into the dining room.

The cabinet has doors that open and a counter that actually slides out.

Here are closeups of the icebox, sink, and stove:

I hope you've enjoyed the tour!

Monday, December 26, 2011

What Did Tracy Get For Christmas?

Apparently I was very good (or we were very fiscally irresponsible) this year. I got:

-a cast iron and pressed tin chiming pull toy from the 1880s

-a miniature 1920s Schuco teddy bear, cinnamon colored

-a vintage toy department sign

-two mod-era Barbies and several outfits

-two Peng Peng bears

-two antique wind-up toy dogs

-a vintage Love Boat board game

-a Victorian travel dollhouse (most unusual)

-a huge, German two-story room box style dollhouse, circa the 1920s

-a houseful of antique dollhouse furniture and accessories (for the above)

-a German doll kitchen, circa the 1930s, with original art-deco-ish furnishings

-a blond frozen charlotte doll, circa the 1880s, with her child-made wardrobe and homemade armoire, constructed from cigar boxes

As you can probably imagine, it will take me some time to photograph all this, but I'll get the show and tell ready as soon as I can.

Hope you all had a happy Christmas too!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Miniature Toy Shop

Just in time for Christmas: a miniature toy store, for dollies to go window shopping!

This little shop was originally a French candy counter. It's about 15 inches wide, and circa the 1920s. Made as an accessory for small dolls, it would have held tiny sweets and candies. Those were long gone by the time it made its way to me, so I thought it would make a perfect toy shop. I filled it with old and very tiny toys, mostly German wooden, but there are also some French soft metal pieces. See what you can spot!

Here's a closeup of the center shelves, holding German wooden farm animals, houses, wagons, and dolls; cast metal TootsieToy vehicles; and a teeny tiny turned wood skittles set:

This corner has a tin birdcage, toy stove, and telephone, along with a couple of bisque and china dollies:

The other corner is home to a miniature 1920s Schuco teddy bear, just 2 inches tall, and an itty bitty harmonica:

On the floor in front of the shop rests a china doll in her tiny French carriage, along with a small sewing machine and a miniature dollhouse.

One of my dollhouse dolls is happily choosing her Christmas toys from the shelves. I hope Santa brings her what she wishes for!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


An autumn antique show turned up tables and tables full of miniature dollies, almost 100 years worth, from the 1880s-1960s. It was a veritable Dollypalooza! Here's the box full I took home:

Can you spot: a cast metal dollhouse crib by Kilgore; a 1930s painted-over-bisque dollhouse doll; two 1890s frozen Charlottes; three German all-bisques, circa the 1900s; a black rubber doll from the 1920s; a teeny tiny Kewpie; a 1940s Ethel Strong 'Twinky' dollhouse doll; and plastic and vinyl dolls from East and West Germany?

The tiny 1920s Kewpie was the smallest doll in the bunch, just 1 1/4 inches tall. Behind her is a jointed German all-bisque wearing child-made clothes, a naked 1930s German painted-over-bisque dollhouse doll, and a plastic West German doll from the 1950s-60s.

The larger frozen Charlotte, 6 1/4 inches tall, was the biggest doll in the box.

This 6 inch German bisque doll  wears her original clothes and human hair wig, circa the 1900s:

Her sister, of the same size and vintage, has unusual incised eyes, and came wearing a lovely lace over blue silk dress:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Little Antique Teddy Bear

I know I've claimed to have found the cutest teddy bear ever a few times before, but a new claimant always seems to come along...

He has such a sweet little smile!

10 inches tall, American circa 1909, made by Ideal.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Peek at Tracy's Place

I am often asked for pictures of my place, and I usually hesitate, because I don't want to be reported to the people that make the Hoarders television show. However, I just put up some new shelves in the dining room, right over my table. They are now happily holding some of my vintage 1950s-70s toys, and I thought they came out pretty well, so here's a peek:

See anything you like?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Strato Bank

Can you believe banks in the 1950s used to give away things as cool as this, for free?  It's true! The Strato Bank was a promotional item given out to young customers, encouraging them to save their pennies, nickels, and dimes. The 8 1/4 inch long, cast metal mechanical bank originally had labels on the sides identifying its affiliated institution.

After loading a coin on top of the spaceship, a spring loaded mechanism blasts it into the moon with the press of a button. Super, super cool.

The coins go right in front of the little red plane on top of the spaceship, and the button just before the tail fin shoots them away.

I think we'd all like bankers a lot better today if they still gave us things like this.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Little Metal People

Meet my peeps: a bunch of vintage 1940s and '50s cast metal figures originally sold in the popular dime stores of the day. In the early '40s, these 3 1/4 inch toys sold for a nickel apiece...alas, such is no longer the case! Made by companies like Barclay and Manoil, whose lines were predominantly filled with toy soldiers, these 'average citizens' are a bit more scarce.

They remind me of characters from a film noir production...

For instance: this couple appears to be full of secrets. Where is the husband rushing to, his camel hair coat casually draped over his arm? Could it be a meeting with The Other Woman? And what is his wife carrying in that violin case? Is it really a violin, or, could it be...a gun?! Does she suspect something? She certainly looks suspicious: see how she's giving him the eye?

Could this shapely stewardess be The Other Woman? Probably.

And just what is this rather stout and fearsome nurse up to? Is she blackmailing one of the elderly twin bachelor millionaires in her care?


Yes, they look anxious and fretful, don't they? 

Perhaps the lady in blue can help...I'm sure she saw something.
She looks the curtain-twitcher type.

She's on her way to confide her worries to the Vicar. Such a sensible man, always knows what to do, and has such a calm manner, even after his unfortunate head injury:

But the Vicar can't really talk now: he has a wedding to attend! Hopefully this young couple's marriage will turn out better than that of our friends in the first picture.

Fortunately, grandma comes to the rescue, telling everyone to stop making such fusses, sit down, and have a slice of pie. Pie makes everything better, don't you know?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Patchy & Purple Peng Peng Bears

The miniature teds made by Chicago-based artist Peng Peng always amaze me. These two are done in one of my favorite styles, "stick bears" with giant heads on teeny, stick thin bodies, just 5 and 1/4 inches tall.

It was obviously love at first sight for these two.

The black and white bear features tie-dyed mohair, and sports a pair of handmade orange overalls.

His  purple friend wears a fabulous, tiny dress sewn from vintage fabrics.