Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Alt, Beck, and Gottschalck Porcelain Dolls

Established in Nauendorf Thuringia region of Germany in 1854, the Alt, Beck & Gottschalck (ABG) Doll Company operated their own porcelain factory.  The company was also known as Porzellanfabrik von Alt.  Their porcelain doll heads were manufactured around the 1860 to 1880 and the company started to export these to the United States from 1882 up until 1930 when its operations halted.  The company was best known for its china shoulder head and bisque head dolls used in their character, baby, lady, and china dolls series.  They supplied these to various companies such as Bergmann and Borgfeldt.  The kid doll bodies supplied to these companies were the Wagner and Zetzsche.

The company’s kid or cloth body dolls had shoulder head on it while its lower limbs were made of bisque.  Their child dolls also had swivel heads and full jointed composition bodies.  On the other hand, the baby dolls had composition bent limb bodies in 5 separate pieces.  The typical dolls had painted or glass eyes and were either wigged with human hair or mohair.  The China dolls were observed to have been made around the 1880’s to the early part of 1900.  The toddler or baby dolls were found to have been manufactured around the 1920’s while the lady dolls were produced from the 1880’s to the 1890’s.

It had been recorded by several doll reference materials that the company had around 50 mold numbers bearing the digits between 639 and 1304.  Nonetheless, these mold numbers were also found on other doll manufacturers’ creations such as the Simon & Halbig.  There have been several reproduction molds created by doll craftsmen of the present but usually these new ones have smoother texture than the old bisque materials.
Some of Alt, Beck, and Gottschalck dolls are as follow:

1)      Shoulder Head China Doll (1880) – These China dolls measured 16 to 28 inches tall and had kid cloth doll bodies with bisque or cloth limbs or a combination of both.  The dolls also wore wigs yet some had molded hair, painted facial features, closed or open mouth, pierced ears, and either glass or painted eyes.  The mold numbers were: 784, 880, 882, 1000, 1008, 1028, 1046, 1056, 1112, 1142, 1210, and 1214.

2)      Child Doll – It usually measured 14 to 36 inches tall and had bisque socket doll head on wooden or composition jointed doll body.  The doll also had sleep glass eyes and had mohair wig.  Doll mold numbers were: 630, 911, 938, 989, 1326, 1357, 1358, 1359, 1361, 1362, and 1367.

3)      Toddler or Baby Doll – These dolls usually measured 10 to 30 inches tall and had multi-part body with bent limbs, bisque socket head, sleep glass eyes, and with an opened mouth showing its teeth and tongue.  Mold numbers were: 1321, 1322, 1329, 1352, and 1361.

4)      Girl Doll (1911) – The bisque jointed doll measured 5 to 8 inches tall and had painted open mouth, inset or sleep eyes, and chubby body. 

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