Monday, November 20, 2023

Dimestore Wood Dollhouse Furniture, ca. 1940s

Chunky wood dollhouse furniture, sold mostly in dimestores during the 1940s, is highly collectable.  If you, like me, are curious about who made these pieces in your collection, this new book by Patty Cooper will help you identify them. 

This is a companion book to Patty's Nancy Forbes and Donna Lee Dollhouse Furniture  and covers the smaller, lesser known companies that sold the inexpensive wood dollhouse furniture at the dimestores beloved by children of that era. 

You are probably familiar with Wanner, often referred to as Grand Rapids, 
and can usually identify it....but can you identify Barbara Jean, Mary Frances, Spartan, Tag-Line or the others found in this remarkable book? 

Wanner made several variations of each piece of furniture manufactured, you will find many of them here.  Japanese copies of Wanner, made in the same era, are often found  identified as Wanner. Patty points out the differences in the two productions.  

Did you know Miniaform, well known for their Art Deco style wire legs dollhouse furniture, also made furniture similar to Wanner? 

The Mary Frances line, made of plywood and similar to Wanner, also made a Deluxe line of furniture, flocked or decorated.    

Tag-Line! I have a Tag-Line dresser and now want a complete dollhouse full!    

This highly detailed and informative book on wood dollhouse furniture, made in the 1940s and sold in dimestores, joins Patty Cooper's seventeen other books on dollhouse furniture, all available at Patty Cooper on                       

Monday, September 11, 2023

Keeping Up With the Joneses

* indicates there is more information at the end of the post

This is the Joneses house, a 1936 Rich Toys Tudor. 
But don't tell the Joneses it's a dollhouse, 
because they think it's a real house. *1


And these are the Joneses....
Gerald, Marilyn, Teddy (Theodore), and Butch (Gerald, Jr). 
And of course the dog, Lester (Lestershire).  
They are Caco dolls from Germany. *2

This is the back of the Joneses house, with living room,
 kitchen and dining room on the first floor
and two bedrooms and bath on the second floor.
A stairwell connects the two floors.
Then there is an attic apartment with no access.

 On the first floor we find the living room, 
entry hall, kitchen and dining room.

The living room is furnished with Strombecker DeLuxe 
living room furniture in 1" scale from 1935-36. 

The fireplace is not original to the house; 
it is new construction still featured on Ebay. 
I liked that it had stone similar to the outside of the house.


The stairwell between the living room and kitchen....
open the front door and right up the stairs! 
No feng shui here.

Marilyn's first try at antiquing, and my first try at 
straightening a 100 year old flower stand. Fail, Fail.

   The kitchen opens at the back of the stairwell.
This room is furnished with 1" scale 
Strombecker Modern Kitchen furniture from 1938.*3 

One exception is the refrigerator from Strombecker in 1955. 
Another is the hutch, a new product which closely resembles 
the hutch sold with the 1931-33 Stombecker kitchen.
A third is the small cabinet with the red counter that was made in Chicago exclusively for Marshall Field and Company. 

The dining room has 1" scale Strombecker Modern
Furniture from 1938.

The fireplace is orginal to this house 
but was attached to the wall in the living room. 
I added the fire box and hearth.

Located on the second floor are two bedrooms and a bath. 

 The bedroom set is a 1" scale Strombecker 
DeLuxe Bed Room from 1935-36 , all in walnut.

The lamps on the dresser are also from 1935-36. 

The chaise in the corner is unidentified.


The stairwell is between the two bedrooms.
I like to add portraits of the family that live in my dollhouses, 
like this one of Butch and Teddy.*4

Opening off the right side of the stairwell 
is the room that Butch and Teddy share. 
In the bedroom are Schoenhut beds from 1928 
and a German dresser from the same period.

The German dresser is similar to the one produced 
by Schoenhut in 1928, but larger in size. 
The Schoenhut beds came with the original pink print mattresses. 
This model of Schoenhut bed measures 5¼" long, 
while the almost identical German bed 
made in the same era measures 6½" long. 

The bathroom is found to the right of the middle bedroom. This colorful Strombecker bath furniture was part of the 1931-33 production line. 
It is referred to as colorful, swirled, or embellished
....having gold swirls over the green paint. 

I added the circular shower curtain and rod to the bathtub
to cover up my mismatched tiled wallpaper. Mea culpa.

Marilyn has added a cozy lounging nook to the bath area
with a Stuart Perfume Novelty "Sa-Chaise" for seating.*5

In the attic space is a 4 room apartment that houses the parents of Gerald Jones. 
Alas, there is no connecting staircase to the apartment.
 Good thing they are just dollhouse dolls.

The bright yellow and green kitchen, 
where Grams makes her chocolate chip cookies, 
has a German table and chair set from 1940s,

 a Strombecker sink from 1931-33, 
a Schoenhut Dining Room small buffet from 1930, 
and a Strombecker fridge and stove from 
the Deluxe Kitchen of 1935-36.
And Polly the parrot.

Strombecker end tables and radio, German red-stain sewing stand 
and sofas and chair with a European vibe.*6

In Furnished Dollhouses 1880s-1980s by Zillner and Cooper, 
the same desk chair is identified as being very similar
 to pieces thought to be made by Gottschalk. *7

A German dresser from the 1920-30s is found in the bedroom. 
The bed is unidentified.

Grandad's chair is labeled Scott, while 
Gram's chair was made by Dixie Doll Chair Co. 

The tub and surround is Menasha Woodenware
from 1934-36.*8

The sink, medicine cabinet and toilet 
were produced by Strombecker from 1931-33.

The window casings in this dollhouse are removable. They came in the form of four individual pieces of wood that sloted into the open window space. The silk-screened insert was sloted into narrow groves in the side pieces. One reason why several of the pieces were missing with this house.

and now, when you least expect it, a silly story....





Meanwhile in the unaccessable attic....

Hmmm, did we miss a whiff of something between 
boozing and munchies.....

Say goodbye to the Joneses.

Additional information:  

1. This large dollhouse, produced by Rich Toys in 1936,
measures 40½ wide, 16" deep (17½" including front porch),
24½" tall at peak of roof (chimney 28½"). It originally sold for $18.70, a high price for a dollhouse during the Great Depression years. 

2.  German Caco dolls: approximate production dates, 
Dad: 1958, Mom: 1955, Boys: 1945-51

3.  There are 7 interior doors in this house; one of the original doors is missing.

4.  The stairs in Rich houses of 1935-36 were made of thin metal. By 1938 the stairs were made of wood with metal (wire) handrails.

5.  The seat of the "Sa-Chaise" in the bathroom lifted to show an area for Stuart Perfume bottles or sewing notions. 

6. I had one of the sofas and planned to use it in this house then discovered a set of sofa, chair, desk and desk chair on Ebay. The chair/sofas have the design of 1920s European pieces, and suprisingly, the color is not unusual for that period. It is in perfect conditon, but I have not been able to identify this set.

7. I found the chair referred to in Moritz Gottschalk  Dollhouses - Doll Rooms - Kitchens - Stores - Furniture 1892-1931 listed under 1909. 

8.  The electric type heater and waste basket (listed as a hamper) was introduced by Strombecker in 1935 with their ¾ scale bath furniture. The scale appeared in 1938 with the Strombecker New Modern Furniture bath set.

The information on the Strombecker and Schoenhut dollhouse furniture in this post comes from The Complete Guide to StromBecker Dollhouses & Furniture 1931-61 and Schoenhut Dollhouse Furniture 1928-1934, both by Patty Cooper, and published on 

Information on Caco dollhouse dolls was found on the blog