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!


  1. Hello Flo!
    I love your new FAO Schwarz Catalog!! I wish I could find my large scale Kitchen in it. There is a label on the bottom of the kitchen so I know it was a Schwarz product. Does your catalogue have any kichens in it? I'll post a picture on my site of the one I'm hoping to find someday in their catalogue. If should run across it I'd love to know so I can date it. I enjoy checking your site...feel welcome to do the same. Thanks, Louise

  2. Hi Louise! No large scale kitchen in the Schwarz catalog...sorry! I know Zillner lists quite a few unnamed maker sets of furniture in her books that were purchased at Schwarz, but a quick look-thru this evening didn't turn up anything. I check your site every morning and have been delighted that you post almost daily! Keep it up! Very much enjoyed! I also do not understand why your blog doesn't come up in my list of blogs I follow. I deleted you and then added again (plus 2 others) and you are still not there. Technically challenged! I'll figure it out eventually. Cheers! Flo

  3. Hello Florine,your post are very interesting, I liked much to see the Swiss chalet, I am doing one also, and very I am deluded with my new project.Thanks for follow my blog.
    Minikisses from Spain.Sonia

  4. Hi Sonia! I love the miniatures you make! One of the Swiss chalet dollhouses that FAO Schwarz sold in the 1950-60's can be found at I thought you would seeing this one if you haven't already discovered it. Enjoy! Florine

  5. Hi Florine, I think I just figured out how to update the list of blogs I follow myself, so I'll pass on what I did: on my blog page, right at the bottom of 'My Blog List' (and also at the bottom of 'Blog Archive' and 'Tags' etc), there is a Tools symbol. When you click it, you can edit your blog list - add, delete, show thumbnail photos, first sentence, etc. So maybe you have the same?

  6. Hi Florine, very interesting post! The Strombecker house is gorgeous, I so would have loved having it! Thank you for sharing and for following my blog, so I found yours!

  7. You wondered about the maker of the bedroom set. It looks very similar to the 1:12 Grand Rapids sets that I have.

  8. I have a 1930 F.A.O. Schwartz doll house. It is fully furnished but some of the furniture needs repair. Most of it is in great condition. The house is old and has moved around but overall in good condition. My siter and I are looking to find a buyer for it. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Anonymous:

      I saw your post from March 2012 & I know this is a long shot but was wondering if you ever sold your FAO Schwarz peasant dollhouse. I have been looking for one for quite a while. Please let me know by replying to this or email me at Thank you

  9. Hi Anonymous...I am very interested in your dollhouse and have friends that probably would also be interested. Will you send a picture of your doll house to me at and maybe together we can find a good home for your little house! Florine

  10. On doing a research for out Crailsheimer blog, I stumbled on catalogue pictures of the same Swiss chalet you have on your banner... and in your FAO Schwarz 1937 catalogue. It seems that FAO sold Swiss chalets with slight different design from the 30s to the 60s... If I understand well yours in the banner is from mid 60s... I have a picture of the 1951, 1954 and 1959 one (I suppose the balcony design and the facade ornements probably help to date them as well as the dolls they were sold with...). The 1951 is very different from the 1937 one.... From 1954 to 1959, the design of the chalet and balcony seems unchanged (the Caco family is slightly different - with the addition of a baby in 1959 ; And in 1959 you have the additional choice of a Caco family in "peasant" clothes - well rather Alpine clothes...).

  11. Hi, just dropping by to look at the modern doll house shown in the 1937 F.A.O. Schwartz catalog that you have pictured. I just picked an identical one up at a local trash and treasure sale (in not awful, but restorable condition) and thought you might be interested to know it is plainly marked Schoenhut. Thanks for sharing the pictures, now I know exactly what it should look more guessing..