Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wonderland Doll's House

This amazing doll house, a lithograph on heavy cardboard, was manufactured by Schmidt Lithographing Company of San Francisco and sold by Macy's as late as 1931. Folded flat, it is less than 1" thick, but opens in 2 layers to form 3-D room settings. The back of the doll house, shown below, says, "This doll house is made of strong material, and when assembled with reasonable care, will produce a firm substantial house." After almost 80 years, I think they were right! Instructions for "setting up" the house are also printed on the back side.
According to Dian Zillner's Antique and Collectible Dollhouses and Their Furnishings, this house originally came with cardboard furniture that was one dimensional with a cardboard stand on the back. Although the house was in really great shape, none of the furniture came with it.

I found this house to be the perfect size for the Tootsietoy metal furniture produced by the Dowst Brothers Company in Chicago from 1922-37. Tootsietoy furniture is small, 1/2" to 1 foot; the dining room table shown above is 3.25" long, the green hutch at the back of the kitchen is 3" tall.
The front of the doll house box advertized this "Real Doll Mansion" as having 12 complete rooms; you can see in the picture below the small alcove at the back of the room that was counted as one of the 12 rooms. (pink crib is not Tootsietoy)

The lithographs are wonderful....patterned carpets on the floors, tile on kitchen walls and floor, wall sconces, furniture, pictures, bay windows.......The picture below shows 2 of the 10 cut-out windows in the house; all of the alcoves have a cut-out window with a shaped curtain.

Each floor has a center wall for stability; it's surprising that the center wall cardboard is twice as thick as the outer walls.

I love this Tootsietoy furniture! Dowst Brothers produced 2 different sets of furniture; most of the furniture in this house is the later set that had functional pieces. The bedspreads can be removed from the bed frames, drawers on the dresser and chest open, the "Victrola" lid opens as does the oven door and kitchen hutch doors, and the refrigerator door opens and even has shelves inside.

The brown table and chair set in the kitchen are from the first furniture set produced and were considered the dining room set. The second set produced is shown in one of the first few pictures above.

The lithographs are so gorgeous on this little house that I almost hated to put furniture in front of them!
If you have one of these wonderful vintage dollhouses, let me know how you have decorated it!