Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ardee: plastic dollhouse furniture from 1946.... with a modern flair!

This is a Rich Toys dollhouse from the early 1950s. Bench seats on the porch, the fence post with lantern, blue shutters with  red roofs and porch make it an attractive little dollhouse. 

I have furnished it with Ardee Plastics' modern design furniture made in 1946. Ardee Plastics, Inc., one of the  early manufacturers of plastic dollhouse furniture, made their products from Lumarith, a product of Celanese Plastics Corporation. Their furniture, along with the early plastic furniture marketed under the Jaydon name, has had a tendency to warp. An interesting article about Lumarith, made of cellulose acetate, told that with time this plastic broke down, giving off a telltale vinegar smell. 

This  four room dollhouse was a very nice size for children to furnish and play with. Ardee did not make kitchen appliances or bath furniture....I substituted Plasco products for these areas. 

With the exception of the unique design of the sofa and chair, Ardee furniture is very plain with no working parts. The "mahogany" parts of these pieces have a decorative ribbing design. 

You notice the warping in the sway of the fireplace mantel and the lean of the floor lamp. (The smoking stand is a Renwal product.) 

I love the shape of the sofas!  If you think my curtains drape nicely, it is because they are made from a picture of drapes printed on index card and "hung" on a bamboo skewer painted gold. 

The table and chairs are a bit larger in scale than the rest of the Ardee furniture...and made in a design popular in the late 1940s. You can see the ribbed design in the table top, buffet top and chair seats.

The only Ardee piece in the bathroom is the vanity on the right. The drawer design is printed on the cabinet, as are the bricks on the fireplace and the doors on the buffet.  

Furniture for the bedroom includes a vanity, chest of drawers, bookcase, chair, night stand and table lamp. A vanity bench was also made but I donated mine to a worthy cause....another dollhouse collector! Actually, Myrtle said she would cut me if I didn't give it to her.

The Ardee bed came with a cardboard bedspread...this original spread is in fairly good condition at seventy years old.   

Pieces of furniture in my collection include:

The dining room furniture consisted of 
a table, two to four chairs and a buffet.

The style of this chair and sofa would go as well in 
an art deco house as in a mid-century modern home. 

I added the fire insert. 
I do not know if one was originally included.

Fancy pulls were printed on the chest of drawers. 
The drawers did not open.

Notice the similarity in the vanity drawers and this night stand table. The bases of the lamps are unusually shaped.

A very modern bookshelf....also made in one-half size. 

The bed was made with the head and foot the same height.

I am lucky to have found original bedspreads in both pink and blue. I do not know if other color spreads were produced.

Furniture was also produced in other colors. 
Here is a medium blue chair and a very rare pink bed
courtesy of Patty Cooper.  

Myrtle has the chair in this lovely shade of blue....
along with the vanity bench.

Here is the half-size book shelf and the elusive coffee table.

If you have other Ardee dollhouse furniture 
or pieces produced in other colors, please share with me at  I would love to add them to this you credit for being the lucky owner, 
of course! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Lookin' for a home.....just lookin' for a home.....

I was constructed, probably by a loving dad or granddad, in the 1930s in Wisconsin where I now live, just outside of Milwaukee. 

In the 1960s I came to live with a little girl named Mary Eileen. Her mother redecorated me just a bit....adding some pretty seashell papers in the bathroom and a lovely mauve paper in the bedroom. Mom also made some carpets for the bedroom and living room. 

 In these pictures you can see that Mary Eileen has removed the carpets and my fine hardwood floors are showing.

I still have the wonderful 1930 era floors in my bathroom and kitchen. Isn't the "linoleum" design in the bathroom and the kitchen "tile" great!

Check out my door with doorknob and the nice molding forming the door frame....and a closer view of the original "linoleum". 

My roof is painted blue,  my backside is rather plain....

...but my gables have formed eaves and blue half-timbering with a stucco effect in between the timbering. 

My front gable is similar, but with added corbels in blue and ivory.

Mary Eileen has decided that it is time for another little girl to enjoy my like the old song about the boll weevil, I'm lookin' for a home....just lookin' for a home. 

This stately old lady is made of wood and fiberboard....possibly masonite.  She stands 31" high and is 28½” wide.  Front to back she measures 19½” deep.  She needs some TLC but overall is still a handsome house. 

She is much too large and heavy to ship, so Mary Eileen is hoping that someone in the Wisconsin area would like her to live with them. Now that can be a little girl....or an older "girl" who loves and collects dollhouses and will cherish her the same way the family of Mary Eileen has cherished her for the last 80 plus years.  

You may contact Mary Eileen at meswart (at) sbcglobal (dot) 

Mary Eileen has discovered that this house first belonged to twin girls who were born in 1912. That would put this house being constructed around 1920. It then passed to her first cousin-once-removed, and then to Mary Eileen.  
If you recognize the maker of this wonderful old house, Mary Eileen would love to hear from you. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

A NEW book on Kage Dollhouse furniture now available!!

Kage Dollhouse Furniture 1938-1948 by Patty Cooper and George Mundorf  has forty pages and over 120 color photos documenting the style changes of this company from depression era Art Deco through the more cozy traditional style popular during World War II. Kage furniture is still findable and perfect for furnishing vintage dollhouses such as Rich or Keystone.

The Kage book is available through The Blurb Bookstore for $33.59 plus shipping. A preview of this book is available on their website.

If you would prefer to pay by check, this book can be purchased directly from Patty for $34.00 including first class mail.  Please include your name and address with a check to: Patty Cooper, 3237 Garden Drive, Knoxville, TN 37918. If you have questions, please email Patty at

Patty Cooper has done it again...and this time she brought George Mundorf with her! They have produced a wonderful resource book on the popular Kage dollhouse furniture that so many of us love. From the early large furniture called "Modernette Miniatures" to the later cozy upholstered pieces for which Kage is so beloved, Patty and George have provided scores of samples ...and I guarantee you will want all of them in your collection! New pieces rarely seen are included...a table top radio, a baby scale, table lamps and vases. Wonderful room settings and a history of the Kage Company complete this great resource book. 

This new dollhouse furniture resource book joins Patty's previous book on Schoenhut dollhouse furniture as a must have for the serious collector of the wonderful American dollhouse furniture produced from the late 1920s through the 1940s. And more good news as they also plan resource books on Strombecker, Menasha, Miniaform, Converse, DeLuxe and Lincoln. Thank you Patty and George!

A link to the purchase information has been added to the Pages column for quick access.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

My little Trixytoy dollhouse from 1928

This is my small Trixytoy dollhouse made by the Durrel Company 
in Boston, Massachuesetts in the late 1920s. 
It is made of heavy cardboard and still in great shape 
for a cardboard house approximately 88 years old. 
The roof was originally red but has faded to tan.

Mine is a one room house with opening door 
and 4 windows that still retain the original cellophane windows. 
I made a stand alone wall divider 
to give this grandma a bit of privacy.

Here is grandma's bedroom.

The dresser, chair, lamps, bed and bedside table are Strombecker from the early 1940s.

Grandma's comfy chair was made by Kage, 1938-48.

 Grandma loves her open living room kitchen combo. 

Grandma likes to relax on her sofa and listen to her favorite radio programs on her radio. 
The sofa, chair, radio and end table are Strombecker from the mid 1940s. 

Tweety, her little red bird, is kept in the kitchen 
because he likes to spread his birdseed everywhere! 
The sink, stove and table and chairs are from 
Strombecker's 1934 production line. 
The fridge is Kage, 1938-48. 

Grandma does think this is her "Home Sweet Home"!

This is a two room model house also made by Trixytoy. 

...advertised in the 1928 Sears catalog for $1.29 
and included Tootsietoy furniture. 

The Durrel Company also made Trixytoy furniture for their houses. This is the kitchen set, made in half inch to one foot scale, from four layers of cardboard glued together. 

The dining room set....
two tables, 4 chairs, sideboard and server were made.

Trixytoy living room set.

This add for my little house appeared in a 1920s toy flyer 
issued by J F Colson & Co in St. Charles, Illinois. 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Barton Tudor furniture in a 1934 Triang No. 24

This is my 1934 Triang #24 dollhouse filled with  Barton's Tudor furniture.

I call it my Greyhound Special because it came to Houston from New York on a Greyhound bus....and was at the downtown bus depot for a month before the Greyhound employees decided it belonged to me. 

Labeled No. 41 from 1934-36, this second largest in the 40s series of Triang dolls houses was renamed No.24 in 1937, according to the Tri-ang Dolls Houses Database, Vol.2, 1930-1941 found on Dolls Houses Past and Present e-magazine. 

This is how my house looked when I received it 5 years ago...shredded shutters, pencil marks everywhere and missing needed attention... 

but it still had it's Triangtois emblem on the back!

I repainted the exterior of the house and then rubbed a golden oak stain on the surface, wiping it off before it dried. The stain helps to give an aged patina to the paint. Would you believe the paint sample matched the original color exactly?

The previous owner painted the roof red, covering most of the embossed shingles. I liked the vintage look.  I used an embossing stylus and straight edge to enhance the shape of the shingles. 

I painted the cardboard half-timbering a dark brown and then gently sanded to give an aged wood effect.

The base was painted a darker green....both my shutters and base turned out darker than the original. That happens sometimes.  

I made the chimneys, and because I love the look of chimney pots, I added the pots to the chimneys for this rather plain little house.

This is what I used for my chimney pots...cutting them down to the size I needed.

I removed the windows and cleaned them but did not add the strips of paper or cloth these Triang windows usually have. I may at some later date.

I recreated the shutters copying from the one good shutter on the lower left. Not an easy task since I am not technical enough to figure our Photoshop. Then I discovered that  Lee Higgins of Shed on the Pond had recreated them and made the shutters and several wall/floor papers available. Her site is an excellent source for collectors and sharing of methods to use when refurbishing Triang dolls houses. Here's a copy of my shutter if you wish to use it, but check out Shed on the Pond's shutter before you decide. 

This dolls house has four rooms with stairs leading to the top floor. 

 All the papers are original with the exception of the floor in the lower living area. I have covered it with Trevor's reproduction Triang floor paper that can be purchased on Dolls Houses Past and Present. Some of the papers have browned with age but I prefer my little houses in as original state as possible....unless I want to add something like chimney pots! 

All of the furniture in this house is part of the Tudor line made by A. Barton & Co. (TOYS) Ltd. from 1948-1977 .  I fell in love with this Tudor line of furniture the first time I saw it; and finding out that 42% of my DNA originates in UK might help explain that.  The cradle and chair in the nursery and the repainted Toncoss fireplace in the scullery are not part of the Barton collection. 

The information provided here regarding the Barton furniture comes from Bartons "Model Homes" by Marion Osborne, published in the UK about 1990.

...the living area...

This dresser was described as being sold at/or part of the collection at Pollock's Toy Museum . Mrs. Osborne tells us that the beading on the top is called ball and sausage (3 balls then 1 sausage) which Barton bought ready turned. Evidently their stock ran out and they were unable to buy more, so she was able to date pieces with ball and sausage beading prior to the mid 1950's.

These stately chairs, perhaps small monk's benches,  were not referenced in the Barton book, but came to me along with the monk's corner settle shown later.  

This is my favorite of the three Barton Tudor fireplaces in my collection.

The corner bench is a monk's settle/bench. 
The small bench perhaps a stool to be used close to the fireplace.

This half-round side table was not made after 1967.

This wonderful Tudor refectory table is shown 
with monk's benches and chairs with arm rests. 
More about the chairs later.

...the bedroom...

another wonderful Tudor fireplace made of plaster.

A half-round table with a wardrobe from a period style bedroom set that Barton included in their Tudor range. The other pieces in the set are shown later in this post. 

The four poster bed sold for 10/9 in 1957, draped it sold for 13/9. 
The small chest sold for 1/6. 

The corner cupboard with ball and sausage trim has interior shelves. 
I purchased this wonderful piece on ebay from Marion Osborne. 

This is Barton's Tudor tallboy that was included 
with the period style bedroom set.

The Barton pieces in this small room are the court cupboard 
and the last fireplace produced in the Tudor range.

...the scullery...

The Welsh bead and sausage trim 
but with stretchers connecting all four legs.

This Tudor piece was sold as the rug chest. 

The following pictures are close-ups of this 39 to 68 year old 
range of Barton Tudor dollhouse furniture. 

Refectory table, chairs with arm rests and monk's bench.


Monk's chairs

Tudor fireplace
Monk's settle/bench 

Half-round table

 Four poster bed with draping from 1971-76

Wardrobe and tallboy

Corner cupboard, arm-less chair and half-round table

Tudor fireplace 

 Court cupboard

Tudor fireplace, produced of plywood starting in 1972

Welsh dresser and rug chest

Additional pieces of the Tudor furniture range: 

 Sideboard and grandfather clock

Period style bedroom that came with the wardrobe and tallboy.
A straight chair was also part of this set.

Progression of chair's design according to Mrs. Osborne:  "The earlier chairs have very little carving or "turning" on the legs, also the     thickness  of the doweling stretcher between the front legs is also indicative of an early date."

Other interesting facts:
  • Not all the pieces are the same color...varying from a black to a deep brown. In questioning if this would help date the individual pieces, Mrs. Osbourne was told that the dying process was "a nasty job, trying to get the antique look and Bartons experimented with various dyes to get the effect. Originally they had girls dipping each item into a mixture of dark oak naptha stain, which took ages to dry and got everywhere. So it's probably a case of not working to exact amounts each time, or variations to the dye itself and the result is the difference in colour."
  • A brass fruit bowl and powder bowl with lid were sold as accessories for the Tudor range of furniture, probably by the same firm that made the brass knobs that are a hallmark of Barton furniture. Other accessories that have surfaced and attributed to being sold for the Tudor range of furniture are candlesticks, warming pan, plates, goblets and vases.
  • Three different four poster bed drapes are known to have been available...the first available from 1956, the second being available from 1966 to 1971, with the last the red with gold embroidery shown on my bed from 1971 to 1976.
  • Unstained light colored Tudor furniture sets were exclusive to Pollocks Toy Museum from 1968 for several years. A set was available on Ebay just this summer.