Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Antique Travel Dollhouse

I received one of my most unusual dollhouses as a Christmas gift this past year. American made and dating from the 1890s to early 1900s, the 17 inch long house features detailed decoration lithographed directly onto the wooden surface. It appears to have been made as a travelling dollhouse, as the pieces disassemble and pack neatly inside for storage and transport. I've never seen anything quite like it, and can't find anything similar in any of my dollhouse books. The house has a lot of play wear, but it was so unique, I couldn't pass it up.

Here's how it looks all packed up:

One long side slides off to reveal the contents inside:

Two little china dolls have lived in this house for a very long time, along with a tiny bisque man. (Clearly, correct scale did not matter to the child who originally owned this house!)

Here are all the parts unpacked:

 The pieces all stack onto the box base to build a Victorian mansion, complete with a tower and porch:

One of the house's most interesting
features is the garage
on the left side,
complete with its
own sliding door: 

The now faded and worn lithographed detail is still wonderful, including curtained windows (some with tiny people peering out) and tiles on the roof:

The house is lithographed inside as well, with pictures, windows, and Victorian bric a brac:

I added some old furniture, and now the little dolls have somewhere to sit: 

The little man fits perfectly on the front porch,
where he seems to welcome us to his house.


  1. That's ingenious! What a great find.

  2. I love it! It is so simple...and so the same time. I wonder if that is a stable on the end, though, rather than a garage. P.S. I think miniaturists are too hung up on "scale", these days. If it's cute, and it's tiny, it fits.

  3. Hi Sharon! Yes, I suppose it could be a stable, too. Depends on whether the original inhabitants were into the new-fangled "horseless carriage" or not!

    And I agree with you: I think miniaturists can get too hung up on scale. Children didn't care about scale when they furnished these toys; they used whatever they could find. And I think less strict reliance on correct scale results in more charming dollhouses, that look as if a real child arranged them.

  4. Love it! And I love the new look on your blog Tracy!

  5. Thanks Michelle! I'm still tweaking the blog a bit...but I'm glad to hear you like it!

  6. What a great piece! You find the most unique and nice vintage toys. I've learned a lot on your blog about toys and such I hadn't ever seen before. Love the blog!

  7. Thanks Brian! Always good to hear from you.