Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Doll Creations Of Muriel Joseph George

The doll company called Josef Dolls was established in the late 1940’s by its founder Muriel Joseph George in California.  She did not first start as a doll maker but she was known as a jewelry maker with her company, Muriel of California.  She used Lucite to make her jewelry, however during World War II the material was hard to purchase and so she started using ceramics for her work.  This would then inspire her to make figurines and molded the ceramics to shapes of animals, children, fairies, and angels.

After the war, Muriel expanded her pottery venture and ordered labels for it with a print “Joseph”.  But this did not go as planned since the labels that came back had the print “Josef” instead.  Since she could not wait for a batch of label with the correct name imprinted on it, Muriel continued to use the misspelled labels forever changed the company name.  Muriel’s dolls and figurines became popular that the Japanese doll makers started to copy her some of her work around the 1950’s.  However, the knock-offs were of poor quality.  

She was upset about the fact that people would think that her creations have deteriorated in quality.  This then prompted her to put so much detail in her pieces that caused her items to be priced high.  It also became a deterrent factor for people to purchase her creations since these were not affordable as before.  In 1954, she met George Good who would then become her business partner after he convinced her to outsource the production of her dolls in Japan.  The company’s name was then changed to George-Good Corporation.  After initially overseeing the production in Japan, Muriel went back to the United States and focused on designing her new doll series.

After several years of hard work, Muriel decided to retire in the late 1980’s for which George bought her shares and continued the production of her dolls.  In 1985, George sold the company to Applause Incorporated which subsequently changed its name to Dakin.  The dolls are still manufactured until today but these dolls are now produced in Hong Kong.  Muriel’s early batch of dolls had the markings of M.J. George.  Thus, for collectors who are looking for vintage Josef pieces, look for the mark “Josef Originals” and the letter C inside a circle at the bottom of the item.  Other markings are on a black oval sticker with gold borders and letterings on it.  Later pieces would normally have the mark Made in Japan.

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