Effanbee is the name of a doll manufacturing company and the dolls are often referred to as “Effanbees”.
The Effanbee Company of New York has been producing beautiful lifelike dolls since 1910. The name Effanbee was created when the two founders combined the first letters of their last names, Mr. Fleischaker and Mr. Baum, sounded out as “F and B”. The early models in their line of dolls were made of composition. Effanbee was one of the first companies to use this material, rather than bisque or porcelain, for the doll’s head. Composition is made by mixing glue and sawdust and then molding it into the desired shape. It hardens to a durable material with a slight gloss that can then be painted. Many doll companies had used this composition material for the legs and arms but used porcelain for the face. Likewise, composition is too dense to use for the entire doll and the doll would be too heavy. So the head, legs and arms are molded from composition but the torso of the doll is made of a lighter material such as cotton stuffing and rags.
Effanbee was also the first company to make a doll in proportions to a real child with the popular Patsy doll, produced in 1928. This doll was designed to look like a 3 year old child; while most other dolls of this time had adult proportions and appearances. This was also the first line of dolls that had names of their own. Patsy not only had family members but she was also the first doll to come with her own wardrobe options. In 1933, Effanbee produced the Dy-Dee Doll. This doll was made of mostly rubber and could “drink” when fed through its mouth. The liquid would follow a small tube to the doll’s rear where it could then “wet” itself on demand (done so by removing a small plug). Although the new “drink & wet itself” Dy-Dee Doll was controversial, it became one of Effanbee’s all-time best-selling dolls.
In the 1940’s, plastic was introduced into doll making. This was a cheaper medium that was more durable and looked more realistic. In 1980, vinyl was introduced as the new medium and continues to be used today. Effanbee dolls are still available and made by the Tonner Doll Company of New York. The brand new Doll Room at The PAST Antiques Marketplace features hundreds of dolls and bears, including a selection of Effanbee dolls. Click on a photo below to view it larger and visit The PAST Antiques on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles.
Check back next week for a new Trivia Tuesday!