Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Wonderful Dolls Of The Milton Bradley Company

The Milton Bradley Company was founded in 1860. Milton was a popular American industrialist and inventor who created the color wheel and the zoetrope. He was born in Maine, in 1836, and moved out to Massachusetts when he was 19 years old. HE became a draftsman for Wason Car Manufacturing Company and created drawings for locomotive cars. He then learned about lithograph in this company and later on established his own lithograph business. At the age of 24, Milton founded the company and soon created the board game, “The Checkered Game of Life”. The game was a hit but production halted during the Civil War. However, Milton saw the opportunity of entertaining bored soldiers by creating game kits for the troops such as checkers, dominoes, backgammon, and chess. The company was known for its board games and educational toys until. In 1920, the company acquired the McLoughlin Brothers, Inc. which was the largest manufacturer of paper dolls in the US at that time. The McLoughlin Bros. company was found in 1828 and was popular for its printing technology using engraved wooden and metal blocks in creating their paper dolls. The best selling paper dolls were the Lottie Love, Jenny June, and the Dottie Dimple. The production of mechanical paper dolls were continued by the Milton Bradley Company but ceased production during World War II. In December 1951, the trademark for the McLoughlin Bros. was sold to Julius Kushner which is another toy manufacturer. However, Milton Bradley continued manufacturing other dolls with another division in 1954 that focused on doll production. The dolls came in different costumes and they had several doll series such as the Boudoir dolls, Southern Belle dolls, Stockinette dolls, Cloth dolls, Victorian dolls, Big-eyed dolls, and the Living dolls. They also had mod dolls in the 1960’s that were sporting cropped haircuts and fashionable period clothing. Most of these dolls were sold in catalogues and were made of a wire frame covered in foam or soft composition body. The facial features on these dolls were painted and their legs were long and thin. The synthetic long and silky wigs on these dolls were also typically done with sausage curls and they stood on wooden or plastic doll stands. Some of the doll names that were on these catalogues were Karen, Jody, Tricia, Stacy, Melissa, and Kate. The Bradley doll division manufactured these dolls until 1984 when Milton Bradley Company was bought by Hasbro which discontinued the line.

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