|Effanbee's Darling "Dy-Dee"|
One 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.
Of 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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The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2009 no award presented
2010 Helen Kish
2011 no award presented
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.