Home Antique/Vintage Dolls Effanbee's Darling "Dy-Dee"
Effanbee's Darling "Dy-Dee"
Saturday, 01 November 2008 00:00
The story of the Effanbee Doll Co. and its founders, Bernard Fleischaker and Hugo Baum, is quite a success story. They were not dollmakers, just businessmen taking a risk. Much of their positive outcome can be attributed to research and new ideas. They studied the market, found what was popular and then added their own creations.

dy-dee1946One of their most popular “inventions” was their “Dy-Dee” doll. The darling was introduced in 1933, and the first examples had rubber bodies and rubberized composition heads. The doll could be fed through her open mouth. Tubing ran from the mouth to her buttocks where a plug allowed her to wet on demand.

Controversial? Of course, it was. Some adults described the doll as offensive, but many admired the realistic baby. She became one of the best-selling dolls ever and played a major role in the Effanbee Doll Co.’s success.

The doll was offered for sale through the Montgomery Ward catalogs as well as retail stores. They literally sold by the truckloads. Every little “mama” in the land wanted one.

The early dolls had molded hair and molded ears, but by 1940 Effanbee added applied rubber ears. These are quite distinctive, making Dy-Dee dolls easy to spot and identify. Molded hair could still be found, but by the ’40s some models had lamb’s curly wool wigs.

Following Effanbee’s success, other companies began producing their own versions of drink-and-wet dolls. Collectors recognize the names of Ideal’s “Betsy Wetsy” and American Character’s “Tiny Tears.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Fleischaker and Mr. Baum expanded their drink-and-wet doll line until the Dy-Dee family had multiple members. Sizes and names differentiated the dolls. The 9-inch was “Dy-Dee-Wee” and the 11-inch “Dy-Dee-Ette.” “Dy-Dee-Kin” was 13 inches while “Dy-Dee-Baby” was 15 inches. Other names in the line were “Dy-Dee-Kins,” “Dy-Dee-Jane,” “Dy-Dee-Louise” and “Dy-Dee-Ellen.” The largest size produced was 20-inch “Dy-Dee-Lou.”

Competition among manufacturers continued to bring changes. The Dy-Dee bodies were updated and made of longer lasting materials. The early rubber bodies are very hard to find; many of them melted or disintegrated through time. The very early heads have no markings, and collectors often don’t recognize them. Other innovations include dolls that would cry when a pacifier was inserted in their mouths, and a bubble pipe in some of the special layette sets allowed blowing bubbles with the squeeze of a tummy.

dy-dee1933Of all the drink-and-wet dolls, Dy-Dee had the most accessories available for separate purchase. There was clothing of all types. There was a deluxe bathinette featured in the 1946 Effanbee catalog. There was also a diaper can complete with clothesline, clothes­pins and soap for dirty laundry.

As special as Dy-Dee dolls were, American Character Co.’s Tiny Tears became more popular during the 1950s. Although no longer the most sought-after drink-and-wet baby, Dy-Dee continued in the Effanbee line throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s.

In 1984 Effanbee honored the Dy-Dee doll with a 50th anniversary commemorative edition. Collectors could pick from two models, both made in vinyl and dressed in the famous Dy-Dee basic outfits. One version had the old caracul-type hair and the other’s hair was molded. The limited editions were introduced during the summer and available until October 31.

In 2002 Robert Tonner of Tonner Doll Co. purchased Effanbee Doll Co. and has since reproduced some of the popular vintage dolls that made Effanbee one of America’s longest success stories. Once again there were Dy-Dee dolls on the market. “Dy-Dee Baby Holiday Sweetie” came in time for Christmas 2005 and a limited edition of 500 “Dy-Dee Babies” with layettes was available in 2006.

The Internet has helped with the search for Dy-Dee, whether looking for vintage or new. She is not hard to find. Don’t forget to look for Dy-Dee extras such as books, clothes, bubble pipes, trunks, paper dolls and sewing patterns.


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I am looking for a mold 1 blonde haired dydee baby and a 9 inch mold 1 dydee wee doll. Anyone who may have any info on either please email me . Thank You !
Susan Dunn , March 08, 2014
To Gayle Richter, who posted a request for DyDee Ellen 11" doll on Oct 19. I think I may have what you're looking for. Send an e-mail address and I'll send some photos.
Virginia , November 16, 2011
I'm looking for 11" Dy-dee Ellen. She would have been from 1940's. drink and wet, with sleeping eyes, composition head, rubber body. If any one has a picture please email it to me or help me to find my
Ellen. Thanks
Gayle Richter , October 19, 2011
I was wondering how to repair or if one can replace the head of they dy dee baby. It is a molded head with the molded hair and rubber ears. There is a crack spreading from the neck to the base of the skull.

Tammy Forrest , January 26, 2011
I have an effanbee 20" baby doll 1960 with a cryer in her back. She is fully jointed and I believe made out of rubber. She has blond rooted hair with the top section of her her being almost like a ponytail. All of the hair is short except for this long junk. Her hair has never been cut. She is my original doll and came in a yellow snow suit. Her lips are red and she drinks and wet. Any idea who she is. Thanks for your help, Marylou
Marylou , August 14, 2010
I am trying to get some information about an Effenbee doll that I grew up with. She has a trunk trimmed in blue with blue flowers painted on the front, 3 outfits, 1 pink dress..1 blue &white checker with white sleeves and white apron..& 1 blue dress trimmed in white with a flower print apron, a straw hat, blonde hair blue eyes and is circa 1979 possible model number 1279. She came with fabric sandles, but one is now missing, any information would be appriciated...I do not know what this doll is named.
Alicia Harvey , May 21, 2010
I have a book named "Aunt Patsy tells a Story" that i am trying to sell.
nancy bednarz , September 11, 2009 | url
I am looking for a Dy-Dee with head mold 1 in decent shape,any size. If anyone has one please email me as I am looking to buy one. Thanks.
Sherrie Schoon , August 29, 2009

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