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KRPENE_LUTKE_FILC_I_ZICA_CA._1850From times gone by when people made their own clothes, the leftover fabric or scraps of fabric did not go to waste. Most of the scrap fabric was used to stuff a large quilt or pillow or it was used to make an apron. But the scraps from those projects were often used to make a child's doll. A child would often get a rag doll as a gift perhaps once or twice in her childhood life.KRPENA_LUTKAThey were very plain and simple with stuffed arms, legs, body, and head. But still, they had no face or hair. They were  functional toys that could be carried around and played with endlessly, patched up, and played with again. One of the most famous American doll makers was Izannah F. Walker, who patented her unique fabric-stiffening techniques in 1873. This gave her creations the appearance of imported German porcelain dolls In Germany in 1877, Margaret Steiff founded the Steiff Company, which is now known for its teddy bears. During the company’s early days, its felt dolls portrayed a range of comical characters such as police officers, circus performers, and sailors. Soon people began to put hair, clothes, and faces on the rag dolls.

In the early 1900’s other popular rag dolls was two-headed Topsy Turvy dolls, Babyland Rag dolls. It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that rag dolls were mass-produced by American and British manufacturers, who printed the dolls’ features on flat fabric sheets and then cut, stitched, and stuffed the toys. At times, embellishments such as clothing or wigs from human hair or mohair were produced separately and added later.
Some companies chose to have the doll’s face and hair hand-painted with oil colors after the figure was put together.Emma E. Adams and her sister Marietta of Oswego, New York, gained notoriety at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 when the Columbian Exposition Commission named one of their creations—a doll with a handmade dress and red-white-and-blue ribbon sash—the Columbian Doll, the female personification of the United States.

The Columbians were some of the earliest patriotic dolls in the U.S., manufactured until 1910. Martha Chasemade in 1910, invented the waterproof, full-size Hospital Dolls, which were adult and baby figures used in medical training. KRPENA_LUTKA_1
When in1920s, European companies had mastered the production of high-quality rag dolls, often called “art dolls,” designed by artists and built by master craftspeople. Käthe Kruse, wife of sculptor Max Kruse, in Germany and Enrico and Elena Scavini, who founded Lenci in Italy, were among the most esteemed art-doll makers. Their creations were highly detailed, expressive, and life-like.

As commercially made rag dolls became more and more popular in the second half of the 19th century, companies started putting out “printed cloth dolls” or “cut-out cloth dolls.” These were sold as printed fabrics, often of celebrities or storybook characters, and the buyer then had to cut out, sew, and stuff the toys him or herself. As the chromolithographic process used to make the prints, ultimately ruined the fabrics, as well as normal wear-and-tear, very few of the printed cloth dolls made before 1900 have survived.