You know what else September means, aside from back to school? It’s when our first meeting of the new term is after our summer break! So come join us, guests are welcome, and we’d love to have you. The meeting is Sunday, September 22nd, same time and place (and if you don’t know when/where that is, it’s on our home page). Come early and you can order yourself something to eat if you would like, just come before 1pm to do that, please. We’ll have some fun, see what everyone brings for Show & Tell, and catch up with other members! Hope to see everyone there! And for those of you debating if you should come or not — come on, you know you want to!
It’s that time of year again – back to school! So let’s get in the spirit of learning, and having a little history lesson by checking out this video of 19th Century dolls, featuring both expensive and inexpensive dolls of that time period. The video deems them creepy, and also features the Thomas Edison Talking Doll from the last post, including more recordings. As a collector, I found it more interesting than anything else, but you can decide for yourself whether they are creepy or not!
With all the modern technology used today for all sorts of toys, let’s take a look back at one of the first dolls that used any kind of technology. The first ever talking doll, created by Thomas Edison. The doll made use of his recently created phonograph, and they began creating them in 1888, using some women’s and girl’s voices – which, technically, makes them the first ever recording artists. It was the first toy that was made to talk, and also the first recorded-audio product designed, manufactured, and sold for home entertainment. The problem, however, was that in 1890, when the dolls first came out, reciting parts of nursery rhymes when you cranked the handle on the back of the doll…may have come across a little more creepy sounding than intended. Children found them to be a little hard to operate, and given the time period, also rather expensive (undressed – $10, dressed – $12 to 20, depending on outfit). Needless to say, the dolls were only in product for about six weeks. Despite it’s short lived production, making it a bit of a flop, it was also a great step forward and a milestone innovation in the toy world.
The dolls are very rare, with some sitting in museums, and others owned by collectors. The sad fact to these dolls, is that given their age, they sat silently for years, as it was feared that an attempt to play the recording would damage it, as it became fragile with age. However, a government laboratory developed a way to play them, without any risk of ruining them. The method used has been able to recreate the recordings, which you can hear one here:
Here are an assortment of pictures of Edison’s short lived talking dolls.
Mattel has released some new dolls as part of their Barbie Fashionistas line, and I’m sure it’s making some kids very happy, along with some collectors! There are three dolls as part of the newest wave of Fashionistas that feature dolls with disabilities. Two feature two different Barbies in a wheelchair, which comes with it’s own ramp to ensure Barbie’s house, or anywhere else, is wheelchair accessible. The third is a Barbie with a prosthetic leg, which can also be removed to see where the leg and prosthetic meet. Mattel has already become more including, featuring different body sizes, an wide array of skin tones and all sorts of different hair, and now they have begun including dolls with disabilities. This is not the first Barbie in a wheelchair they have released, however it’s the first to include it’s own ramp. Some did not like that the previous one’s chair was a little too wide to fit through the doorways of Barbie’s house. It is, however, the first Barbie with a prosthetic.
A while back, there was a same-sex couple, who, after searching for a Barbie wedding set to gift their niece, was unable to find one that properly represented them…so they made their own! Along with a picture of their custom wedding set, the couple also tweeted Mattel, asking them to consider making same-sex wedding set dolls, to represent more couples in the world today. Here is the couple, along with the wedding set they put together, and with what they wrote to Mattel.