Most doll collectors may be looking for bisque and porcelain for their antiques collection. Common materials also used in vintage dolls apart from the two were composition, fabric, ceramic, plastic, and vinyl. However, German manufacturers produced metal-headed dolls in the early 1900s and these were mostly made in Nossen Saxony. The dolls’ heads were fabricated from sheet metal that was stamped and then molded. The sections are welded together and the final figure was then painted.
Doll makers may have started using metal for doll heads due to the brittle nature of bisque and porcelain. The dolls may still have a different body material, but the replacement metal doll heads didn’t break easily at all. Some may have metal heads but with bodies and legs in articulated composition. Other manufacturers of metal-headed dolls were Buschow & Beck (1890 to 1930), A. Viscer & Co., Juno di Karl Standfuss (1898 to 1930) and Alfred Heller. However, the metal head doll made by Giebeler-Falk was an aluminum metal head phonograph doll. The company produced dolls in the United States from 1918 to 1921 under the Gie-fa brand.
German doll makers generally used the Minerva brand which is distinguished by the symbol of a helmet above its name. In the United States, George Borgfeldt and Louis Wolf have distributed these Minerva branded metal head dolls which are also found in Sears catalogs. There were also other doll makers who used these German metal doll heads such as Horsman. Yet the only thing separating the Giebeler-Falk doll company was that their doll heads were made in the United States instead of having them manufactured somewhere else. Their dolls may have aluminum heads, but these were on wooden or composition bodies. However, their dolls were of good quality and did not break easily.
A famous aluminum doll from Giebeler-Falk was called “Primadonna” and had a turntable on her head that could play 3.5-inch records. The mechanism on her body can be wrapped around the back and typically these dolls measured 25 to 30 inches tall. Today, these antiques can be collected by fans and enthusiasts of mechanical or automated toys. These vintage antiques with phonographs and metal heads are hot items for antique collectors due to their technology and material. For sure, these dolls are hard to find in their good condition, but anyone who owns one will have a wonderful piece of technology and history in his collection.
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