Wednesday, September 10, 2014

An Add-A-Room Doll House from Tootsietoy

I love finding vintage toy catalogs even if they are reproductions. Yesterday's mail brought  a reproduction of a Tootsietoy wholesale catalog from 1933. Of course it was mostly filled  with little trucks and cars, but the best page of all was the one showing this little cardboard house. It is actually 5 individual room boxes that came free with the purchase of a full room set of furniture from their 1930 line. A little girl or boy could build a complete house if they were able to convince their parents to buy each room.
Dowst Manufacturing Co. called this the Add-A-Room Doll House. The catalog explains that  it was made of heavy container board in contrasting colors to the furniture and was included FREE with each set of Tootsietoy Doll House Furniture. 
Here is the little house. No mention if part of the roof was include with each room box. 

The living room with the furniture set......and an explanation of what came in the set. I wonder if the front porch was included with the living room.

The dining room was placed behind the living room and shared the large door opening. The door on the south side led into the kitchen.

I have the maple dining set but don't think I have seen it in green.
From the shape of the walls and placement of doors and windows, I think the kitchen must have opened on the west into the dining room and on the north to the bath.
 My set is a mixture of the two colors available. Lad-a-stool....haven't heard that term before.
The bathroom was placed between the kitchen at the back of the house and the bedroom at the front.
 A green or orchid bathroom....wouldn't todays buyers on House Hunters have something to say about that!
The lovely bedroom with three long windows facing the front of the house, and  openings to both the living room and the bathroom.

The music room....those red pianos are gorgeous. I wish I had one. Evidently there was sufficient room in the living area to house the grand piano as there is no indication an Add-a-room was included with the music room.

Dowst listed 3 items of "good news" at the front of this catalog, the first one being that the Add-a-Room doll house was free with the purchase of each set of Tootsietoy furniture.  
The other two items of good news were
  • Furniture is now made of new alloy with tensile strength five times that of the old..yet lighter. (that was good news I'm sure)
  • Finished in harmonious colors----packed in colorful box with pilfer proof display feature. (oh my, sticky fingers back in 1933 also)
and finished with "Order a stock today ...  watch them walk off the counter!"
I wonder if any of these adorable little houses still exist today.... 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Return to Wonderland

This is my Wonderland Doll's House, made by Schmidt Lithograph Company
 of San Francisco, California, and sold around 1930.

Lithographed onto cardboard, this house folds flat to a depth of 1". It is 25" tall, 30" wide and when set up is  9½” deep. Each of the six rooms measure "  by  " with a height of 6". The alcoves in the back of each room add an additional  2½" by 5" space. It is a perfect size for my Tootsietoy furniture.

Antique and Collectible Dollhouses and Their Furnishings by Dian Zillner indicates this house originally came with one-dimensional cardboard furniture. Even though my house came in its' original box, no furniture was included.

Here is the back of the house....
and on the back are the instructions for setting up the house.

My very first post on this blog was about this delightful dollhouse.  Since that post back in August 2009, a little family has moved in and brought more furnishings with them...a necessity since the dollhouse lady "borrowed" most of the furniture for another house. Wonderland has some splits, tears and crinkles, but for 84 years this little house is still in presentable shape.

I love the lithographs in this on walls, carpets on floors, wall sconces, tile in kitchen, and of course all the furniture from the 1920s decade...bookcases, chairs, beds, appliances, and a lovely bay window in the living room.  Each floor has a center wall for stability with a large opening into the adjoining room....with lithographed "pretend" curtains to close if privacy is needed!   Besides the craftsman style windows in the larger room area, each alcove has window cut-outs in the shape of a tie-back curtain.

Tootsietoy furniture, made of a metal alloy, was produced by the Dowst Brothers Company of Chicago, Illinois from approximately 1922 to 1937. I have seen vintage catalog ads from 1940 showing both the 1922 and 1930 models of furniture still being sold.  This fragile furniture was made in ½" to 1' scale and modeled after early 1920s furniture. In 1930 the company brought out new models that reflected the changes that had occurred in real furniture. This newer line included pieces with working parts. Because the furniture was small, the metal alloy was not especially strong and many pieces are now found with missing legs or other parts. The paint did not adhere to the metal well, so many pieces are found with chipped or missing paint. I'm quite sure I don't have a pristine piece in my collection.

All the pieces in the dining room, with the exception of the tea trolley,  are a part of the models introduced in 1930. In some vintage ads this table is shown with the older style dining chairs. The triangular china cabinets have celluloid "glass" and the tiny shelves are only large enough to hold colored beads....don't tell my peeps.

The work table on the right with the support bars between the legs is part of the original kitchen set from 1922. The other pieces are from their 1930 production line...the Hoosier cabinet with opening doors and drawer, the stove with an oven door that opens, the sink table updated with the sink now in the middle position, the fridge with opening door and shelves, the table without support bars, and the updated office style chairs. The housekeeper, Hilda, is a little bisque doll made in Japan.

I see the lady of the house, Mrs. Leona Falstaff, is thinking about playing the piano. Leona is a bisque doll from Germany. The floor lamp, library table, and Victrola (radio/record player) are from the earlier production line. The piano came in a complete set of the new line of living room furniture and also in a set referred to as the music room which also included a chair and ottoman, side table, drop-shade lamp,  and the newer model of radio.  The painted surfaces of the gilt pieces seem to have weathered the years much better than the other painted models.

Mr. Arthur Falstaff put his book down and is on his way to the kitchen to get a tall cool one...or maybe to get his flask out of the pot plant while Leona is not looking.  The parlor furniture is from the 1930 production line with the exception of the lamp from the original series. These pieces with the crackled surface also came with a solid flocked surface. The lithographed rug is a great match with this set.


This is the 1930 line of bedroom furniture with the exception of the vanity and chair  from the original 1922 series.  I also have the metal bedspreads in lavender with green designs and in a solid pink flocked.

In the bedroom shared by the Falstaff daughters, we find little Dorothy playing with her baby doll while big sister Ruth is playing with their little kitty, Snowball.  The beds and dresser are from the 1922 series while the chair is a flocked item from the 1930 line.

Now for the alcoves.....

Great 1920s graphics in this house...all the pieces are from the original 1922  series.

There are no bathroom graphics in this vintage house.  I love the claw-foot tub from the original series. The bathroom set also included a medicine cabinet, chair, stool and 2 towel racks.

This is the sofa from the 1922 production is hidden behind the piano in the music room on the second floor. That's a tobacco felt rug I used for the pillow. My paternal grandmother had a sofa just like this... in ebony wood with large brown/black pillows. We were allowed to sit in the parlor, as she called it, if we played quietly...and of course if we weren't hot and sweaty as children usually are. Remembering now, she also had a radio/ record player just like this one.

The library table is the same design as the dining table but on a smaller scale and from the 1930 production line. The desk is not marked, but is shown in their 1924-25 catalog. It is thought that Tootsietoy included in their marketing some items that were produced in France since pieces similar to Tootsietoy are found engraved with FRANCE. The urn and clock are German or French items from the same era.

The alcove behind the dining room contains a serving table from 1922 along with a dining chair from the 1930 series of furniture. Leona finds this the perfect place to keep up with her correspondence. The table lamp is actually a buffet/library table from the Tootsietoy Midgets line that was produced in the scale of approximately ¼" to 1'. Two sets of Midgets can be seen on page 91 of Dian Zillner's American Dollhouses and Furniture from the 20th Century.

In the kitchen alcove we find the stove with opening oven door and the fridge with monitor top, both from the 1930 series.  Here you get a good view of the cut out window that is found in each alcove.  

My 1922 bathroom set...
the advertisement is from a vintage catalog of 1929 and the price is wholesale.

Bedroom set from 1922 series from a 1929 wholesale catalog.

 This bedroom set was from the 1930 series...
 and the price reflects how much the set sold for wholesale in 1936. 

The living room set from the 1930 series....
seen in a 1936 wholesale catalog. 
The small pieces in the center of the box are extremely hard to find.

Some of the specialty pieces as seen in a 1924-25 catalog.

Sofa and serving table from the 1922 series from a 1929 wholesale catalog.
You can see here what was included with the complete set.

 From a 1936 wholesale catalog....
the updated "modern" kitchen from the 1930 series produced by Tootsietoy.

And  the 1930 series dining room furniture.....
also from a 1936 wholesale catalog.

The Falstaffs....Leona, Arthur, Ruth and little Dorothy.
They came to me as a set, and I like to think they have been together as a family for at least the last 80+ years. Little Dorothy even has pantaloons on under her fancy dress.
They range in size from 3" down to 2¼".  Markings on upper backs that I can't decipher,
but I think they are from Germany 
All the information in this post comes from Dian Zillner's wonderful books on dollhouses......American Dollhouses and Furniture From the 20th Century and  Antique & Collectible Dollhouses and Their Furnishings and also from vintage catalogs of the N. Shure Co. of Chicago and the Shapleigh Hardware Co. of St. Louis.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Miss Marx Little Hostess 1964 meets Mr. Keystone of Boston 1951

My Keystone of Boston house circa 1951 has held Marx Little Hostess furniture for several years....but helter-skelter. So when my friend Myrtle Mayhem at  Dollhouse Shenanigans decided to spotlight this identical house on her blog, I decided to make mine presentable and spotlight mine too. Yes, you guessed it...she posted hers back on July 23rd and has since posted another on her Graceland dollhouse....never enough time in the day when you are retired. But so is Myrtle....someone please explain that...without insulting me, please!

This is one of the last houses produced by Keystone of Boston, and I have always considered it one of their most attractive.  Besides the graceful graphics of trees, vines and shrubs, Keystone added an additional large window on the side of the house.

This house has 6 rooms, with stairs to the second floor.   In the series of houses Keystone produced after 1950, the interior walls are printed on a slick white background instead of the rough-surfaced backside of the Masonite walls. For lighting, this house is equipped with battery brackets on the top of the second floor walls that connect to light bulbs in each  room. Yes, they still work!

The Marx Little Hostess plastic furniture that fills this house was first produced in 1964, and continued to be sold as late as 1973.  This furniture was also sold in Canada under Little Miss Deb by Marx and in the UK as Amanda Ann by Combex. Marx did not produce children or infants furniture in this line of furniture, but they did produce some of their pieces in different colors.

The kitchen appliances came in olive green, bright yellow, white and the brown seen on the hutch to the right.  In addition to the appliances and work table, kitchen furniture also included the buffet, the china cabinet seen in the dining room, and this folding gate-leg table....but no  chairs! Chairs by Jaydon are pictured here.  All of the drawers and cabinets are the stove and fridge have shelves and racks.

The round dining room table has an added leaf,  changing the shape to oval....and seating 6 comfortably!  You can see that the design and color of the china cabinet does not match the dining room pieces. The folding screen is quite of the specialty pieces in this Marx line.

I love the way Keystone silkscreened "hardwood" floors in their later houses.

With the stairs on one side and the house's support system on the other, space is at a premium in this room.  I'm sure every child of the 50s had a "step-side" table like this one  in their home when growing up. The red chairs were also made in yellow with a black or  reddish brown frame. In the upstairs room you will see a yellow tuxedo couch that matches the aqua one. The wagon train table has a tilt-top.

The lovely canopy bed came with the coverlet and pillow; the vanity, a similar bureau, and the chaise in the bathroom were also produced in turquoise. I'm not sure if any other turquoise pieces were produced....if you have any please let us know!

The original shower curtain is hanging by the tub. The lady of the house put her chaise in this large bathroom so she can really monopolize time addition to hanging her husband's shaving mirror over the washing machine. Wonder what he did? 

This is the shaving mirror....but Marx made nothing to hang it over....maybe a pedestal sink would have been nice in addition to my lady's vanity with sink.

The bedroom that should house a nursery and big sister's bed is outfitted as the den/family room/tv room/music room/and Peter the parrot's room.

Oh, I see the Robinsons are at home! Lets check in on them.
(The Robinsons are 4¾” Ermey dolls from Germany.)

They just had their portrait painted and seem to be admiring it.
Here are most of the pieces in the Marx Little Hostess line.....
 Kitchen appliances and hutch...

kitchen table, buffet and china cabinet....the china cabinet came filled with dishes...

the dining room with  exotic screen and decorated mirror...

the living room.....

a bedroom girly enough to please any little girl...

an attractive aqua and ivory bathroom.....

the tilt-top table was also made in plain brown ....

and the rocker and the yellow chair with dark brown legs.
Other color schemes for some of the pieces in the Little Hostess line....a brown sink that matches my kitchen hutch, a white stove that was sold under the Amanda Ann brand, ivory chairs and buffet for the dining room, and turquoise pieces for the bedroom. The red wing chair was produced to use in the living room. These pieces are no longer in my collection. One piece that I have never located is the candelabra used with the grand piano.
You can read more about this furniture line in Dian Zillner's   American Dollhouses and Furniture of the 20th Century, pages 132-134, with pictures of Roy Specht's collection on
pages 150-152.
UPDATE:  Dollhouse Shenanigans has posted pictures of a 1950s era Rich Toys dollhouse filled with one of her sets of Marx Little Hostess doll house furniture! Click HERE to see this furniture displayed in a different dollhouse. You will find additional pieces of turquoise bedroom furniture, the missing candelabra, the TV in black AND the dollhouse people that Marx produced to accompany their Little Hostess line! Enjoy!