Hello, Dolly Friends! I hope this finds each of you and yours doing well. Today is April 1st. Hopefully spring and warmer weather is around the corner here in Illinois. Has the weather been nice where you live? Personally, I am ready to get out in the yard and play in the dirt.
I have been doing research for this blog post for several days now. I’ve always been fascinated by Madame Alexander and her doll company. Out of curiosity, I thought I would do some research on another doll company. This month we are going to talk briefly (and yes, it will be brief because there isn’t a lot of information out there) about Uneeda Doll Company. Grab your coffee and put your feet up and join me for just a few minutes. “Let’s talk dolls!”
The Uneeda Doll Company has existed in one form or another for over a hundred years. The company initially made cloth and composition dolls. They are best known for the vinyl dolls produced in the 1950s and ’60s, including Dollikin, Wishnik trolls, Pee Wees, and Miss Suzette.
The company was founded in New York City in 1917. They were one of many firms that saw an opportunity during WWI to fill the void left when German dolls became unfashionable, and then unavailable. Uneeda manufactured mama dolls with composition heads, as well as other styles of composition and cloth dolls. Business was good, and in 1927, the company moved to larger quarters.
Uneeda’s golden age began in the mid-1950s with an era of innovation. They produced a line of baby dolls that could move and make sounds when squeezed. Dollikin was a high-heeled glamour doll with multiple joints that could assume many different positions. They also copied best-selling dolls by other manufacturers. Tiny Teen was a knockoff of Ideal’s Little Miss Revlon, and Toddles copied Ideal’s Patti Playpal.
In the 1960s, Uneeda began outsourcing the manufacture of its dolls to Hong Kong and other countries. The New York factory was still used for assembling and packaging some of the larger dolls. The Company’s biggest success came with its Wishnik trolls, which debuted in 1964. They were made in a large range of styles and sizes. Wishnik was the company’s most recognized brand for the next three decades. Do any of you remember having these little trolls with their big noses and long, brightly colored hair? I just remembered that I learned to braid hair by practicing on one of these. (LOL!) In 1996, Uneeda lost the right to make Wishniks after the copyright was restored to the heirs of the designer, Thomas Dam. That same year, the company, which had been named Uneeda Doll Co., Inc. was reorganized as Uneeda Doll Co. Ltd. It changed ownership several times in the next twenty years.
Briefly, the Uneeda Story:
For over 100 years, the Uneeda Doll Company has been putting smiles on children’s faces with its lovable dolls. With its mission of making children happy, Uneeda Doll has been manufacturing dolls with excellence and efficiency since 1917. Their well-made dolls include baby dolls, fashion dolls, soft infant dolls, walkers, electronically functioning dolls, accessories and outfits, gift sets, and infant learning and play toys.
Uneeda Doll Company was founded in 1917 as stated earlier. The company produced dolls that were “well-made and reasonably priced.” In the 1930s, Uneeda Doll was advertising over 400 doll models from 14 to 28 inches tall. In 1939, the company even created a Rita Hayworth doll as Carmen. It was a 14″ doll with a fully jointed body, long lashes, smokey eye shadow and a red mohair wig. Over the years, other types of dolls were included. Later Uneeda was known as the Tony Toy Company of Hong Kong. Uneeda Dolls are often unmarked or marked with Uneeda inside a diamond, U or UN or (later dolls) with Tony Toy Co Hong Kong, in the marking. In 1991, the company closed.
The Uneeda motto was “A Uneeda Doll is a gift to be treasured.”
Now granted, I’m primarily a Madame Alexander or and Ideal doll lover, so looking through my doll collection, I could find very few Uneeda Dolls. I have included photos of my Uneeda Dolls to share with you. Do you have many Uneeda Dolls? If you would like, please reach out to me on my IG account and share photos of your Uneeda Dolls.
I told you when I started writing this that it would be short and sweet. At any rate, my Baby Dollikin Dolls are some of my favorites. They are a nice size and have wonderful flexibility.
When we get together again, it will be warmer weather! Flowers will be blooming and I can make doll photos outside! YAY!!! Until then, stay safe, stay well, and above all be kind. Thanks for being here with me!