The baby doll is dressed in her long christening robe, with sash and close lace cap. The face is infantile in expression, with blue eyes, and blond hair “banged” over the forehead. These cost from 75 cents up to $30, and in some cases are provided with a full layette, nursery basket, etc. Sometimes the French nurse doll is added to hold the baby, and is arrayed in cap, apron, and snowy kerchief in true French fashion. Next the choice is for the new Japanese dolls, chubby and short, with slanting eyes and shaved heads. The smallest size, scarcely a finger in length, is 50 cents undressed. It is a good study in costume for girls to dress these in true Japanese style.
The English rag dolls are most prized, because they can not be broken, and a child has not strength enough to tear them; they cost from 40 cents up to $10 each. The indestructible wooden dolls are jointed in every limb, and assume beautiful attitudes; with layettes, they are $6. Doll heads, with pretty features and something very like real hair, begin at $1. Wax heads, with elaborately arranged coiffures of black, blond, or bonny brown hair and blue eyes with natural lashes, are $10. Boys' heads, with short curled hair, and of a fine wax or of composition resembling wax, are shown in large sizes for $4.50.
Fine bisque dolls are from $5 to $30; the latter are dressed in silk, with lace trimmings, in the latest style. Wax dolls as large as a child of three years are marked $100, but will give a child very little more pleasure than those sold for a single dollar. It is not the size and intrinsic value that should be considered, but mothers should select natural-looking dolls, with shapely limbs and pretty features, for their little girls' pets, to give them right ideas of form and expression.
The dressed dolls represent Centennial characters this winter , and Martha Washington, in powdered hair and fichu, is seen again and again. Different national costumes are also seen, and even the peasant dress of different provinces, such as Normandy, Alsace, Lorraine, etc. One odd whim is a doll dressed as a widow in deep mourning, with widow's cap and crape veil. Then there are school-girl and sailor-boy dolls, and the pretty Madame Angot dress is on whole rows of dolls, while near these are negresses in gaudy head kerchief and sleeves rolled up as if for washing day; here, too, are invalid dolls in flannel dressing-gowns, while others swing in a hammock, and still others are dressed in evening costumes, with train, flowers, fan, and elaborate full-dress attire.
Dolls Clothing & Accessories
The belongings for dolls consist of everything a lady wears or uses in her house. You can buy separately every article of dolls' clothing, such as furs, corsets, fans, bustles, traveling dresses, trained dresses, Cashmere shawls, Balmoral skirts of stylish cardinal color, eyeglasses, lace sets, opera glasses, combs, brushes, powder-boxes with puff, striped stockings, and so on through the list. Saratoga trunks are provided to carry them. The doll houses are open in front, and beautifully furnished, showing parlor and dining-room down stairs, and chambers up stairs, and the prices vary from $5 to $75. The dressing bureaus for dolls begin with sizes large enough for a small girl to use, and cost $12.50. These have marble tops, French plate mirrors, and brass or nickel knobs. There are perfect buffets of miniature size, with marble top and mirror back, and all in the popular East Lake style, for $6. Washstands of the same style are $2.75. Silver-plated tea sets handsome enough to be displayed on the buffet are $6.50. New laundry sets, with wash-tub and patent wringer attached, clothes-horse, pail, and ironing table, are $1.50. The china and porcelain dishes are prettily decorated, and cheaper than formerly.
Mechanical Christmas Toys:
The mechanical toys imported from Paris are the finest ever brought to this country. The figures are beautiful and correctly costumed, and the motion is perfect. One of these is the Vintager, a peasant, in properdress, pushing a barrow laden with grapes, while a basket is in his hand and another strapped on his back; when wound up, he moves about the floor for several minutes. Another is a lady in a basket phaeton, which is rapidly driven by a postilion, who cracks his whip with vim and most natural motion. The Saucy Milkmaid is propelled rapidly about the room, shaking her head and patting her cow, while the cow munches oats and moos contentedly. The Drunken Muleteer applies the bottle to his mouth with one hand, and holds on to the mule with the other. The Murderous Zouave dashes around the room furiously, snapping a pistol toward the right, then to the left, in most reckless fashion.
A lady, with fan and eyeglass, promenades in state; a monkey, in cap and bell beats a cymbal and rides a velocipede; and various other mechanical toys are seen, but the most remarkable of all is a sedan-chair elegantly fitted up, and ornamented with gilt and porcelain medallions, while inside is a lady dressed in the Pompadour style, with powdered hair, patches, and costume of pink and white satin. She turns her head and fans gracefully as she is borne along by two bearers, slow-stepping and stately, in Louis Quatorze costumes, powdered wigs, and lace jabots. This rare toy is marked $100. Among smaller mechanical toys is a new gymnast, who walks a rope with his head down, and, returning, holds on by his hands, which he moves most naturally one over the other: price $4. The Negro Preacher is a grotesque mechanical toy that amuses all: price $8. Others represent Mother Hubbard churning, the jubilee trapezists, giant dancers, etc.
Kindergarten Christmas Toys:
Weaving and braiding materials are provided in boxes, and pretty plates are shown for the designs; each box is 75 cents. Sticks for laying patterns are in other boxes. Drawing boxes have slates and pencils, with illustrations that are simple, and easily teach the first principles of drawing in a manner that is as fascinating as play to the child. Embroidery designs are in boxes for girls. Color boxes, from 75 cents up to $5, have paints that are not poisonous, and are mounted on an easel, while the cover of the box has a pretty picture to be copied.
Antique Toys For Boys:
For the boys are zoological gardens, copying the London Zoo-zoo, with animals, trees, birds, etc.: price $18. Parlor rifles, guns, and pistols, with darts or slugs propelled by compressed air, cost from $10 to $12 for rifles, and from $1 to $5 for smaller pieces. Tool cheats of various sizes and different implements are from 26 cents up to $10. The complete scroll sawyer is an interesting toy for boys, and costs from $2.25 to $3. For little fellows is the new game of sliced birds; when the letters spelling the name of the bird are arranged, a picture of the bird is also disclosed: price 60 cents. Three-story warehouses, furnished with bales, bundles, hogsheads, etc., cost from $2.50 to $8. The new ten-pins are polished and colored red, white, and blue, and cost from 75 cents to $2 a set. New parlor billiards are from $6 to $12.
Military forts, furnished with cannon, soldiers, etc., are from $2.50 upward. Target matches are from $1 to $5. Hunting and soldier sets, in new designs, with jockey or military cap, knapsack, and all complete, and large enough for boys from two to ten years old, are from $3.50 upward. Toy stores, groceries, stables, and shops are from $2 up. Locomotives are wound up so that they move swiftly about the room, and the newest have whistles added: price $3. The new shadow lantern has figures turned by the heat of the candle, which throw shadows on the paper sides: price $2.50. A new toy is a large horse to be propelled from behind; the skin is natural, the form fine, and the motion easy: price $5 to $10.
Velocipedes are in especial favor this winter, as there seems to be a revival of the first fancy for them. Very good ones can be bought for $4.75. The springing-horse is the favorite hobby-horse, instead of rocking-horses. The display of wagons includes trucks, drays, express wagons, and lumber wagons, laden with bales, boxes, barrels, and bundles: prices from $1 to $14. If there are horses in them, they have natural skins, and the same is true of all the animal toys that meet with favor; and natural voices are also given them, as the cows moo, bears growl, and kittens mew. Horns of polished brass are shown of most fanciful shapes, and trumpets and drums are in abundance. New sets of blocks represent menageries with wooden animals of good shape and color; others teach architecture in beautiful and correct designs; and still others represent “Heroes of '76.” Boxes filled with jugglers' tricks cost from $2.50 to $18. Fine steam-engines that throw water by steam are $5. The Centennial printing presses print rapidly, and are fitted completely: price $6 and upward.
The new Centennial building blocks make all the main buildings of the Centennial; designs in color on paper are furnished, and the price is $1.75. Children's picture rolls have picture lessons for each day of the month: price $1.25. A camel of perfect shape, and mounted with a saddle and all necessary trappings, is one of the new toys that please children. Chanticleer, with natural feathers, crows when drawn along: price $8.
Roly-polies for babies are in most comical and most fanciful shapes, and it is impossible to turn them over; musical chimes are also shown for babies; and there are new straw rattles, of the colored Japanese straw, for 25 cents, and many grotesque figures of men and of animals in these gaily colored straws.
A new and ingenious toy is the Enchanted Table, which is a box with paper figures and a glass cover. When the cover is rubbed by a pad, electricity is excited, and the little people are set in motion and dance furiously, as if bewitched; this is also known as the Bewitched People, and costs $1.25.
Punch-and-Judy shows remain in favor with children of all ages. The little theatre with dressed figures sometimes costs $50, but very simple ones are only $1, while a very nice one costs $5. One of the most interesting musical toys is a caged bird of beautiful blue plumage, and clear, sweet notes. This costs $75 and is called the American Bird, because it is the first of these elaborate musical toys that has been made in this country.
[Title image from Library of
Congress, LCUSZC41956; Stereoview images courtesy of Elizabeth McDowell]