Friday, October 30, 2009

Renwal super BIG!!

Finding a set of Renwal kitchen furniture on eBay 5 years ago is what started my miniature obsession. My son insisted I sign up to buy on eBay; but 5 months later, when I had yet to purchase any items, he walked me through searching for items....and what did I find but a set of Renwal kitchen furniture just like I had in my childhood dollhouse! I think I paid a premium price for that set and made the seller very happy AND brought much joy to my daily life.

Renwal Manufacturing Company started producing plastic dollhouse furniture in 1945. Charles F. Donovan, Jr. has published a wonderful reference book, Renwal, World's Finest Toys, for collectors of this vintage furniture. This particular kitchen set was produced in 1948-50; and was probably sized for 6-8" dolls as the sink and stove are 4" by 6", while the fridge is 7" by 4" ....much too large for most dollhouses.
All the drawers and doors open; there is a lid to cover the burners on the stove; the handles on the stove and the freezer compartment move; the ice tray and shelves in the fridge are removable; and, best of all, a built in tank behind the sink allows the faucets to have running water...well, at least drop by drop! The refrigerator came equipped with ice tray with cube grid, a white painted bottle of milk and packages of butter, eggs and cheese. I'm lucky to have 3 of the items even though the butter has lost its wrapper.

The stove came with 3 ivory pans; I have the small sauce pan and the frying pan. The burner lid slides down behind the burners with much difficulty; my stove has a piece broken out at that point.

The sink came equipped with scaled packages of soap, soap powder and a sink stopper. Turn the faucets and water comes out! Not exactly, Donovan explained that water flow operated by gravity whether the faucets were "on" or "off". And since my sink didn't come with a stopper and I couldn't find a replacement item, I had lots of fun taking the next picture!
And here is a picture of that original kitchen set that got me started .... next to this super BIG set that must have delighted a lot of small girls back in 1948!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Keystone of Boston cottage

Keystone of Boston made some great dollhouses! This little cottage was probably made around 1940, as the style of roof falls between the late 1930's solid colored roof with printed shingles and the variegated colored shingles of the late 1940's houses. If you can't tell from the picture, this roof has embossed shingles...the only one of my 20 different Keystone houses with this type of roof. This house was new in the box when I received it, so it is in pristine condition for a 70 year old house. And, just like items we buy in the 21st century, the pre-drilled holes didn't line up!

A floating wall divides the two spaces; but there is plenty of room for Gramma Wuensche to read, crochet, and cook lunch for her grandkids when they visit! All the furniture is smaller size Strombecker with the exception of the bookcase made by the Kage Company.

The vanity holds items by Dolly Dear and the bureau has a lovely scarf made by my new eBay friend, Amy Korn. Yes, moms and grandmoms used dresser scarfs in the 1940's!

Gramma Wuensche has antimacassars on the backs of her sofa and chair....are you old enough to remember when everyone used these? She has the cookies ready on the table and is warming milk for the hot chocolate!

If you want to see more of my Keystone of Boston dollhouses (and this one before Gramma Wuensche moved in), visit my squidoo websites See my vintage Keystone of Boston dollhouses!
and My vintage American dollhouses .

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dollhouses from 1937 FAO Schwarz Christmas Catalog

Great gift in the mail yesterday....another gift from myself!! This time it was a 1937 Christmas catalog from the famous New York toy store F.A.O. Schwarz! Of course I went straight to the dollhouse section and found these lovely old houses. The Swiss Chalet is similar to the one they sold in the 1960s that is often seen on eBay. This house sold for $26.50 completely furnished with three dolls and "a typical group of peasant hand decorated furniture." It measured 23" wide, 13.5" deep, and 16"high and was "a perfect model of the picturesque Swiss home, even to the stones on the roof".

Oh, wouldn't I love to have this modern doll house! Strombecker's art deco furniture made in the 1930's would look great inside. This is listed as a new departure in dollhouses, "venetian blinds, bay window, terrace with gay awning, built-in kitchen cabinet, stove and sink." The outside was "cheerful cream with gay orange trim". This five room house had 5 electric lights and the interior walls were decorated. Unfurnished it sold for $11.95, but for $28.50 you could get it "completely furnished in every detail," plus a doll family.

This house was one of their own designs. It was listed as "a true colonial type house with removable front. The first and second floor is connnected with stairway and contains the kitchen, hall, living and dining room combined, bath room, nursery and bedroom. The exterior is painted white with green trim and measures 30 x 13 x 26". All rooms are wall papered except the bath and kitchen which have painted walls with tile effect. The eleven windows are fitted with drapes or curtains and the house is electrically lighted." Unfurnished this house sold for $28; "very elaborately furnished with Doll family" it sold for $60.

I had a hard time finding 11 windows in this house until I realized it was built English style, with removable front panel, and that there were also windows in the back wall of the house. Some days, being a blonde and a senior is a double whammy for me.

These dollies had composition heads and flexible rubber bodies and limbs. This group, consisting of parents (5"), boy, girl, and maid, sold for $3.50.

This family, who could afford a maid AND a cook AND a dog, sold for $4.50.

Living room furniture was sold individually at prices ranging from 15 cents for the ottoman to $5 for the piano with a music box. The couch sold for 50 cents, the bookcases 85 cents apiece; the radio was $1 unless you wanted it with a music box, then you had to pay $2.50 for it. The bear rug could be had for $1. Maker is not listed but most of it looks like the Strombecker furniture sold at that time.

Bedroom pieces ranged from 50 cents for the walnut bedside table to $1.75 for the bed with bedding. The walnut chest of drawers sold for $1.25, the vanity with bench for $1.50. Does anyone know the maker of this furniture?

The kitchen furniture is Strombecker in the 1":1 ' size. The "gas range" (with a closeable lid), sink, and refrigerator all sold for 45 cents apiece; the curtain was 40 cents. The table and chairs made of maple sold for 25 cents (table) and 15 cents each (chairs).

The Chippendale dining room was a little more pricey. I think most of the pieces were made by Tynietoy. The Swell Front Sideboard sold for $3, the overmantle mirror was an additional 75 cents. The Sheraton table was $1.20 with the chairs being $1.15; if you wanted an armchair you had to pay $1.65. Cupboards could be had for $3 and the Persian rug for $1.

This little house was another FAO Schwarz design....painted white with a slanted green roof, fully wallpapered and wired for electricity. Listed as "The Four Rooms" , it sold unfurnished for $12. The same four rooms furnished "as if by an interior decorator with complete set of furniture, curtains and draperies also doll family, of parents, children and maid" sold for $32. FAO Schwarz advertized "this arrangement has its advantages for the light housekeeper, there is but a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and combination dining and living room" cute!

The bathroom and bedroom furnitue is by Strombecker in the 1": 1 foot size.

The living room dining room combination and the kitchen also house Strombecker furniture.

If there is anything you would like to see from this wonderful old catalog, just let me know!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Tudor dollhouse by Rich Toys

In American Dollhouses and Furniture of the 20th Century, Dian Zillner lists several characteristics of the early dollhouses made by The Rich Toy Manufacturing Company which fit this little house....doorbell, front chimney, metal shutters (similar to the Keystone houses but smaller), interior walls and floors without graphics, solid color roof (Keystones houses had silk-screened shingles).
This house arrived with one cream colored metal shutter; I've recreated the acetate window panes found in other Rich Toys home of this same period (1935-1939) , but hope to add something in cream at a later date.
This house also arrived falling apart! The gypsum board/masonite of the 1930's is soft and flaky; I had to replace the second floor and add a piece underneath the first floor. I took the liberty of creating a bathroom for this house at the same time, but I forgot to add flowers in the window boxes!

This house is filled with furniture made by The Kage Company from 1938 to 1948. I have always been fascinated with the living room furniture that is upholstered in small printed fabrics; several designs of chairs and sofas were made. Although mine are not originals, Kage also produced beds with spreads and pillows. The dressing table and chair pictured below retain their original fabrics. Kage made several designs of the kitchen pieces...and the cutest little fireplaces! The only functioning piece is the desk/secretary which has a drop-down writing surface.

Brightly painted wooden books grace the bookcase, while short pieces of small branches are used as logs in the log basket. (That's a Toncross fireplace in the living room.) This wall clock still has its' decorative decals, most haven't survived with the decals intact. A Renwal mom and dad live in this house with their twin daughters....such a stern looking family!

Older pieces of Kage furniture featured round dowels for legs on the kitchen and dining room pieces. At a later date, Kage started using turned legs. The designs are considered 3/4":1' in size; some of the earlier kitchen tables/chairs are so short I use them as children's furniture!

Kage did not produce bathroom furniture. This bath furniture is the Nancy Forbes line from 1945 and also an original coiled braid rug from the same era.

Check out that chest-on-chest in the corner... and the reading lamp by the chair....really cute! The area rugs in the living room and both bedrooms are vintage 40's-50's upholstery samples. Those of you old enough will remember how scratchy they were to sit on.

Here is a close up of the little dressing table and vanity stool with the original fabric...and a close up of the adorable fireplace. Well, I think it is adorable!

The Renwal twins have plenty of dollies to play with in the room they share, but they don't look very happy.