Wow! 25 years ago Disney released WCN’s favourite Disney film The Nightmare Before Christmas. The cult film from Tim Burton and has certainly stood the test of time to become of Disney’s best franchises and we would say has had some of best and coolest merchandise, collectibles and toys. With the Nightmare Before Christmas 25th Anniversary well underway, we take a look at what Jack Skellington, Oogie Boogie, Sally and team have on offer in the way of Nightmare Before Christmas 25th Anniversary Collectibles & Toys. Lets start with this fantastic figure by Jim Shore. The figure is called What a Wonderful Nightmare and blends Disney Magic with traditional folk art to create a great piece featuring Jack Skellington, Sally, Zero, Mayor, Lock, Shock, and Barrel. Two classic games Operation and Monopoly have been released in 25th Anniversary editions. Operate on Oogie Boogie in Operation and explore Jack’s Tower, Oogie Boogie’s Casino, Dr. Finkelstein’s Laboratory, and Sally’s Alley in Monopoly. Funko have released some excellent editions including Mystery Minis, Snow Globes, Plushies, a super deluxe vinyl figure of Jack Skellington with Zero, Vinyl, Pen Toppers and more! Some cracking Nightmare items. The collections feature all the main characters including Jack Skellington, Sally, Dr. Finklestein, the Mayor, Pumpkin King Jack, Lock, Shock, Barrel, and Scary Teddy. Funko have also released a number of anniversary Vinyl Pops as well. With the film covering both Halloween and Christmas there are of course some ornaments and tree toppers including Jack Skellington and Sally Legacy Sketchbook Ornament and a Jack Skellington Tree Topper showing Jack as Sandy Claws. There are also exclusive editions at the Disney Parks and various Disney worldwide stores. Ultimately it is all down to the movie itself and there are a number of special 25th DVD and Blu-Ray releases that will keep fans happy. A special thanks to Tim Burton and all involved for this wonderful film.
Collecting Communion Tokens and small Communion Tokens price guide. Communion tokens were round or oval in shape, and they were given to individuals who took communion in churches during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Presbyterian worship in Scotland is particularly associated with them, but they may also be found in England, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland. The Communion tokens were used to identify those who were entitled to receive Communion. The minister would give the person a token before giving them Communion. When Communion was being given, the individual would show the token to the Communion steward. There are a number of reasons why communion tokens were used. First, communion tokens ensured that only those who were members of the church and who had been properly instructed in the faith were able to receive Communion. This was important because Communion is a sacred act in which Christians partake of the body and blood of Christ. Second, communion tokens helped to prevent Communion from being taken by those who might not appreciate its significance or who might abuse it in some way. Finally, communion tokens served as a tangible reminder of an individual’s commitment to the Christian faith. Though communion tokens fell out of use in the 18th century, they remain an important part of Protestant and Calvinist history. Communion tokens remind us of the importance of maintaining a proper understanding of Communion and of our commitment to the Christian faith. They were also used as a means of identifying Communion members who had been away from the church for a period of time. They were also given to children when they were first admitted to communion. Often, these tokens would be made of metal or other durable materials and would be worn around the neck or on a keychain. The most common materials were metal, wood, and bone. In some cases, Communion Tokens were also made of other materials such as stone or glass. They could have holes in the centre and so could be strung together. Tokens were often engraved with a Christian symbol or the initials of the person who received the Communion Token. Communion tokens were collectibles even back then and people would try to get as many different ones as possible. There are many different types of communion tokens that can be found. Some have biblical scenes or symbols on them, while others have the name of the church or the year they were made. Messages on tokens would include biblical quotes such as ‘This Do In Remembrance of Me’ and ‘Let A Man Examine Himself’. Today, they are still collected by some people as a hobby and for the most part can be acquired fairly inexpensively.
I only discovered Oiva Toikka recently when visiting a glass gallery in Chester (Pyramid Glass) which had a display Birds by Toikka and was immediately struck with the design, colour, variety and ingenuity of the birds. This feature focuses on the Birds by Toikka but I hope to feature further articles on his other glass designs, other work and a Birds by Toikka price guide. Oiva Toikka (1931-2019) was born in Viipurin maalaiskunta, the rural municipality surrounding then-Finnish Vyborg, now part of Russia. He became renowned for his designs for glassware, but he initially started in ceramics training at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and his career started at the art department at Arabia. Toikka was given the honorary title of Professor of the Arts by the state of Finland. His imaginative, rich and bold glass art is a departure from mainstream Nordic design. Toikka’s individual style is also evident in the utility objects he creates as they often deviate from the traditional clean-lined puritanism of Finnish design aesthetics. In addition to glass, his artistic activities cover staging, fashion design and plastic interior design elements. (Source iittala.com) Birds by Toikka He started designing in glass in the 1960s and his designs include Kastehelmi (1964) and Flora from the 1960s and the Pioni and Krouvi collections from the 1970s. Although it is for his hand blown glass birds which first appeared in 1972 that he is most well known. He carried on designing until his death and his legacy is a portfolio of more than 500 birds. The first birds were created by Oiva Toikka and the glassblowers of the Nuutajärvi Glass Factory in 1972. (Did you know? The Nuutajärvi Glass Factory is the oldest in Finland being established in 1793). iittala Toikka Flycatcher The first bird design was the Flycatcher, appearing in different colour variations. The most rare of the Flycatchers are those that have gradient coloring. Part of Nuutajärvi’s 1972 collection, two versions of the Flycatcher (Sieppo) were produced: one with a leg, and one without. The variation of vivid colors made these birds very appealing to collectors. The birds from the period bear the signature “Oiva.” Over 300 species have been created, some of them more enduring in production than others. Each bird is a unique individual, signed with the artist’s name – it is the tangible product of skilled artisanship. The passing of time enhances the value of these art objects. That is why Iittala Birds are cherished and valued gifts and irresistible to collectors around the world, from Finland to the United States and from Central Europe all the way to Japan. Birds featured in the collection include: Purple Finch, Arctic Tern, barn owl, mandarin duck, Western Meadowlark, and many others. The collection included annual editions, limited editions, special editions and later included glass eggs. Toikka Catcher 215 Anniversary Bird Other Work Another example of his creativity is represented by the pieces designed for the Me Too collection by Magis – the same collection which also includes the sympathetic Puppy and the colourful Trioli children’s chair created by Eero Aarnio – as the rocking chair Dodo and the coat rack Paradise Tree. Toikka enjoyed success, too, in other creative outlets. He worked as a stage and costume designer, generally with Finnish director Lisbeth Landefort [fi], whose autobiography he illustrated. In his later years, he was also associated with productions by the Finnish National Theatre and the Finnish National Opera. He has also occasionally contributed textile designs to the Marimekko collections. Toikka’s awards include the Lunning Prize in 1970, Finnish State Award for Crafts and Design in 1975, Pro Finlandia Medal in 1980, Kaj Franck Design Prize in 1992, Finland Prize in 2000 and Prins Eugen Medal in 2001. Reference Oiva Toikka at Finnish Design Shop Toikka Bird Guide at glassbirds.com Oiva Toikka at Wikipedia Toikka Special Archive Collection at Pyramid Glass Chester iittala.com
Often referred to as a “Pioneer for the Modern Movement”, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a talented architect, artist and interior designer.
Ewald Dahlskog (1894-1950) was a Swedish designer who has become known for his ceramic, glass work, pottery designs and his work in public buildings. His work is often minimalist and inspired by natural forms, which can be seen in his use of simple curves and muted colors. Dahlskog’s pieces are both beautiful and functional, and have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. Ewald Dahlskog’s studied at Konstfack (University of Arts, Crafts and Designwork) from 1908 to 1912 and from 1913 to 1917 at the Royal Art Academy in Stockholm. His work is deeply rooted in Swedish design traditions, which he combines with a modern sensibility. His pieces are both elegant and functional, and often incorporate natural forms into their design. Dahlskog’s use of simple curves and muted colors give his work a calming, tranquil feeling. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world, and he is considered one of Sweden’s leading ceramicists. Ewald Dahlskog at the Kosta Boda factory Ewald Dahlskog worked at Swedish glassworks Orrefors Kosta Boda from 1926 to 1929, where he was an artistic assistant, during which time he radically transformed the production of art glass, using cut decoration in a new vigorous modern aesthetic. Whilst at Kosta he had joint exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York city. He has designed many of the glassware pieces that are produced by the factory, and his work often reflects nature in its designs. His pieces often incorporate elements such as leaves and vines, and he strives to create shapes that are both organic and elegant. Ewald Dahlskog at the Bo Fajans factory After leaving Kosta, Dahlskog moved on to work at the Bo Fajans factory (Boberg Fajansfabrik AB in Gävle) in 1929. He remained at Bo Fajans for 21 years until his death in 1950. At Bo Fajans he continued to innovate creating high-quality ceramics in geometric designs inspired by nature. His work at Bo Fajans is considered to be some of his best, and his pieces are highly sought after by collectors. Dahlskog’s designs are often inspired by nature, and he strives to create shapes that are both organic and elegant. At the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition, his designs were described as ‘functionalist’. The vases displayed showed highly ribbed surfaces reminiscent of electrcial transformers. The Scandinavian design philosophy was internationally recognized at the Exhibition. They were shown in London in 1931 and had a great influence on British designer Keith Murray (Keith Murray Designs for Life). As well as being a versatile designer Dahlskog is famed for his artistically designed inlays in public buildings, such as the 1924-1926 built Stockholm Konserthuset and the silent film palace and later revue theater Chinateatern 1926-1928 directly at Berzelii Park in the Norrmalm district was built in the center of the Swedish capital. His work has won many awards, and his pieces are collected by museums and private individuals all over the world. Related Ewald Dahlskog items on ebay Bowl at Met Museum
January 1940 – Britain was at war with Germany. War had actually been declared in September of the previous year, but it was during the 1940s that the effects were to hit home, changing many people’s lives forever. Food rationing began on January 8th, with meat, sugar and butter the first foods to be affected, but as the war took hold more and more shortages became apparent. 1940 saw people restricted to 4oz bacon, 2 oz butter, 2 oz tea, a shilling’s worth of meat (a pork chop and a couple of sausages), 8 oz sugar, 2 oz jam and 1 oz of cheese. People were encouraged to ‘Dig For Victory’ by transforming their flower gardens into vegetable patches, and recipes appeared which used non-rationed products in so-called appetising dishes. Women were urged to ‘Make Do And Mend’ by unravelling woollens and re-knitting them, cutting-down adult garments for youngsters and transforming pillowcases and sheets into underwear. Parachute silk was sometimes obtainable, and in 1941 a Utility Mark, which looked like a pie with a slice taken out of it, appeared on products to indicate they passed government regulations regarding quality and restrictions. No unnecessary trims and embroidery were permitted, even on baby clothing. As items such as stockings became unavailable, young women resorted to staining their legs with gravy browning and getting a friend to draw a seam line down the back with an eyebrow pencil. They prayed that not only would the friend have a steady hand, they would not get caught in the rain. The British faced grim times – huddling in an air-raid shelter while bombs rained down was no joke – while London Underground stations were also pressed into service with many people spending their nights there, safe if uncomfortable. However, it wasn’t all gloom and doom, and a great cameraderie developed, especially amongst Londoners who bore much of the brunt of the onslaught. The younger people, especially, deemed it a great adventure, and would think nothing of racing along the streets while shrapnel rained down, dodging from one doorway to another. My mother and aunts seemed to be out dancing every night, partying with the soldiers on leave – perhaps a release from the horrors they witnessed and uncertainty they faced. No-one ever knew if their brother or boyfriend was going to be the next soldier killed, or if their family would be eradicated by a direct hit from a bomb on the house. In 1944 the terrifying Doodlebugs droned overhead; when the buzzing stopped, there was fifteen seconds to escape before they exploded. Many premises were taken over for munitions work, including doll factories such as Pedigree and Palitoy, and young women would be employed to make aircraft parts or guns; all women under sixty were required to undertake some form of war work. Sometimes, their skin turned yellow with the chemicals they came in contact with, and they were encouraged to use make-up to form a barrier on the skin. Headscarves became fashionable – they were a necessity in the factories to pro tect hair from machinery – as did wedge-heeled shoes with cork soles; leather was scarce, but the cork proved durable. Skirts were worn shorter as fabric was rationed, but hair was often kept long with plenty of curls, as women strove to retain their femininity. Thousands of ‘Land Girls’ worked on farms, and for the first time wore trousers, a freedom which women were reluctant to relinquish after the War. Of course, countless women joined the services and worked alongside their male counterparts in the war zones. Although Britons had to adapt to a more frugal way of life, they were still able to visit the cinema or theatre, and music played a vital part in keeping up morale. Dance halls throbbed to swing music; the American Glenn Miller band was a huge hit with numbers such as ‘In The Mood’, and a crazy dance called the Jitterbug literally swept girls off their feet. Forties’s films and shows included Oklahoma, Casablanca, Bambi, Dumbo, Pinocchio, Easter Parade, The Red Shoes and Brief Encounter. ‘Gone With the Wind’, released the year before, won eight Academy Awards in 1940. Radio programmes such as ‘ITMA’ and ‘Music While You Work’ kept the people in Britain entertained, while in Russia, Prokofiev’s stunning new ballet, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, was premiered. As so many factories had been requisitioned, dolls were not particularly easy to find, and those which were available tended to be of composition or pottery, often cheaply made and with homely faces. Nevertheless, these were the dolls which comforted children through the air-raids, and went with them when they were evacuated. Dolls were also made from cloth, or knitted from old garments, while Norah Wellings made mascot dolls, donating a percentage of the proceeds to servicemen’s organisations. After the War, plastics began to be used by toy companies, and by the late 1940s were becoming increasingly popular. Pioneering developments were made at this time by companies such as Palitoy, Rosebud, Roddy and Pedigree, while Mormit produced a innovative soft plastic doll with detachable limbs for easy drying. Although composition dolls were still manufactured, it was obvious that plastics was the medium which people wanted; these new dolls were lightweight, washable, virtually unbreakable, warmer to hold, and pretty, as the modelling was finer. Other developments included ‘Beauty Skin’, a kapok-filled rubbery plastic patented by Pedigree. After the war, people became a little resentful when goods and clothing were exported rather than being sold ‘off ration’. Christian Dior introduced his ‘New Look, with longer skirts, as there was now no need to conserve fabric, but in Britain, clothes and fabric were still rationed, and would be till the end of the decade. Britain in the late 1940s was feeling a bit jaded, and something new was needed. It came in the 1950s, with a new queen, a futuristic exhibition and a phenomenon known as a ‘teenager’.
In the seventeenth century the Weald area of Kent gave rise to a simple form of pottery based on the red surface-clay found locally. The pottery became known as Wrotham Pottery. Although centred on the village of Wrotham, similar pottery wares were produced by a number of surrounding villages. The initial primitive nature of the pottery can be based on the lack or resources provided from the landscape. The Weald of the 17th Century was a combination of bare heathland and forests, with little farmland. Pictured: A Wrotham Slipware Initialled and dated TYG 1717 – Of globular form applied with twin double loop handle, sprigged with panels of flowers and fleur-de-lys and prunts, decorated with cream coloured slip on a brown ground, dated 1717, sprigged with a panel initialled PC 5½ in. (14 cm.) high. Sold at Christies for £5,000 ($7,955) on 3rd November 2011. Image Copyright Christies. The pottery was therefore simple and practical. It was not until the appearance of slipware that the pottery started to have decoration added. The growth of decorated housewares meant that there was a move to more ambitious objects and not just utilitarian wares. There is evidence that certain potters made objects to order. Pictured: A Wrotham Slipware Initialled Four-Handled Tyg Circa 1630, Initialled Il And Mc, Il Probably For John Livermore – Applied with double loop handles with trailing ropetwists below double bun knops, sprigged with initialled panels and flowerheads in cream on a dark brown ground impressed with scattered star ornament 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm.) high. Sold at Christies for £6,000 ($9,456) on 3rd November 2011. Image Copyright Christies. The Wrotham Pottery was made by hand or wheel using the local coarse red clay, a lead-glaze was then applied before firing. Decoration was added in the form of lines of dots using slip. This was applied by tube and patterned by the potter. The pale yellow colour of this contrasted with the red and browns of the clay. Pictured: A Wrotham Slipware Initialled And Dated Four-Handled Tyg 1643, Perhaps Thomas Ifield – Of tapering cylindrical form, with double loop handles, applied with ropetwist and studs, sprigged with cream-coloured slip on pale-brown ground with a rectangular panel dated 1643 sprigged with an oak leaf, fleur-de-lys, goats and a mask among dot-ornament and raspberry prunts 5 5/8 in. (14.3 cm.) high. Sold at Christies for £7,250 ($11,535) on 3rd November 2011. Image Copyright Christies. Many of the potters left their initials on the slipware pads on the pieces. There is little known on the majority of potters but the research that has been carried out suggests strong family ties. Names such as Richardson, Hubble, Livermore and Ifield appear to be some of the most prominent potter families. Most of the surviving Wrotham Pottery pieces are now some 300- 350 years old and due to the fragile nature of the pieces only a hundred or so items are thought to exist. Fine examples can sell for many thousands of pounds.
To many people, the thought of ‘royal commemoratives’ conjures up a vision of rows upon rows of ceramic mugs, each bearing a royal crest, or, maybe, a picture of the queen. But it doesn’t have to be like that. I’ve collected royal memorabilia for many years, and go out of my way to seek out the quirky, often slightly disrespectful pieces! I look around for cheaper royal commemoratives too; things like eggcups, keyrings, tins, cards, hankies, scarves, mascots, jigsaw puzzles and cruets. Much of this tends to be referred to as ‘kitsch’ – but let’s face it, part of the fun of any royal or patriotic event is the plethora of bunting, stickers, flags, posters, badges and other colourful items which normally we wouldn’t give house room to. And maybe that is the key, because as nearly all of this stuff is soon discarded, you find that after a few years it starts to become collectable, often worth more than the few pence or pounds you originally paid. These cheap and cheerful collectables are the kind of items which tend to end up in charity shops and boot sales, and might not look much; yet when they are grouped together, maybe in a bookshelf or on a side table, they can make an amusing and eye-catching focal point. A major royal occasion will spawn all kinds of ephemera, so it’s worth looking out for patriotic paper napkins, tablecloths, plastic hats, programmes, toy windmills, periscopes, chocolate wrappers, souvenir grocery packets and much else. I’ve accumulated foil milk bottle tops from the Investiture of Prince Charles in 1969, paper napkins from the 1977 Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and an interesting thin cardboard box, which originally contained cupcakes, celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. This box is printed with a ‘Corgi Racin’ Game’, a colourful design of corgis and a finishing post. The idea was to cut out the corgis, glue them to coins and then flick them along the table to the finish. Almost certainly the majority of these boxes would have been thrown out when the cakes were eaten, so packaging such as this makes an interesting find. Other cheap and cheerful items often discarded after the event include pencils, tins, rulers, badges, notebooks, children’s paint boxes and pens. I have a pretty baby’s bib printed with pictures of Princess Diana and Prince Charles, issued for their 1981 wedding, presumably to prevent tots getting jelly all over their party frocks at the street parties which were held all over Britain on the big day. Also in my collection is a super 1980s’ stand-up cardboard Sarah Ferguson, with a note pad attached. She is drawn as a caricature, dressed in a ski suit and sporting a ‘hello, sailor’ badge as a reference to Prince Andrew. Another unusual piece is a royal family set of wooden stacking dolls I snapped up recently at a bootsale for £5. This super piece shows the Queen, while nestling inside is Charles, inside him is Diana, inside her is Fergie, who contains a tiny Andrew. One of my favourite royal commemoratives is quite recent, making its appearance last year. It’s a set of ‘wind-up royals’. Made by Paladone, the box contains four clockwork characters – the Queen, Price Phillip, Prince Charles and Camilla – and the idea is just to wind them up and see who moves the fastest. They stomp along, regally waving to us lesser mortals as they go, and the first one to reach the finishing line gets to rule the country! With character faces and colourful costumes, this hilarious, colourful plastic set of royal people is worth every penny of the £10 or so which they cost, and they are available from various gift and novelty shops. Commemorative headscarves and handkerchiefs can be bought cheaply, and these are frequently very attractive, bearing pictures of the royal coach, the processional route, soldiers and members of the royal family. Usually they are found unused as they would have been intended as souvenirs rather than functional items, which is just as well, because many fabric items used non-fast colour dyes. Don’t wash them unless it is really necessary, especially if they are silk, or you might end up with a crumpled, sorry-looking object in which all of the colours have run. I’ve often seen these scarves and hankies, still in pristine condition, for £10 or under. Mascots are sometimes sold for royal occasions. At one time they consisted of small celluloid dolls, dressed in red, white and blue ribbons, which could be pinned to a coat or a dress. Nowadays, mascots are more likely to be small red, white & blue teddy bears or character animals. Other slightly more permanent souvenirs include jigsaw puzzles and moneyboxes. Small metal crown-shaped moneyboxes appeared in 1953 to commemorate the coronation, and various tinplate pillar-box shaped types crop up from time to time, including one issued for the 1937 coronation of George VI. Jigsaw puzzles are always colourful; amongst my collection are some very attractive coronation versions, including one made from wood which shows a complete map of the coronation route, from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey. Don’t forget tins, some of the royal related ones are stunning, and apart from the usual tea caddies and biscuit tins, smaller tins can be found which contained peppermints, chocolate or other sweets, Years ago, my parents gave me the thermos flask they bought to celebrate the 1953 coronation. Made from bronze-coloured metal, it is printed with a portrait of the Queen, as well as a sketch of the royal coach in a procession. These flasks can still be found today for well under our shoestring limit, and it’s fun to imagine the tourists sipping tea from their royal flasks as they lined the processional route, waiting for the newly-crowned Queen to emerge form the abbey. Over the years Viewmaster handheld 3D screens have appeared with hundreds of different film reels and the company have often produced commemorative reels for royal occasions. […]
Pomp, Pre-Fabs And Poodles – Dolls in The 1950s by Sue Brewer Just as a black and white film explodes into technicolour, this decade dawned grey, but ended in dazzling colour. This eventful ten years gave young people more power that ever before, and propelled Britons into a completely new lifestyle. Though the war had ended five years previously, many goods were in short supply and some rationing was still in force. Bomb sites scarred many areas, and thousands dwelt in ‘pre-fabs’ – prefabricated buildings designed as emergency accommodation for those who had lost their homes during the bombing. Britain needed something to cheer her up, and the Festival Of Britain was a great start. Held in 1951, on London’s Southbank alongside the Thames, and dominated by the Dome of Discovery, it featured all that was new in design. Towering above the site was the Skylon, a delicately-shaped edifice which was illuminated at night, and which entranced me as a child. Millions of people thronged the festival, which spilled over into nearby Battersea Park. One of the great attractions there was the Guinness clock, a marvellous timepiece which featured toucans and other creatures popping out of windows and doors on the quarter-hour. Ideas seen at the exhibition gradually filtered through into people’s lives – geometrical designs were in vogue, bright colours, and, conversely, black and white patterns. The most famous 1950s ceramics’ range is probably ‘Homemaker’, which featured black and white drawings of coffee tables, cutlery, settees and lamps. Homemaker, designed by Enid Seeney, was made by Ridgway and sold in Woolworths stores throughout the country in the mid-fifties. Black pottery ‘African’ hands and figurines were in vogue, as was formica, spindly-legged furniture, coloured ‘atom’ knobs on small fixtures, ballet scenes on crockery, open-plan living, and poodles on everything! In 1953, patriotism was truly to the fore – Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in Westminster Abbey. Union Jacks fluttered from lamp posts, commemorative mugs were give to school children, and street parties were held throughout the country. Young and old sat down to enjoy cakes, sandwiches and jellies, and to raise a toast to her Majesty in tea or lemonade. People crowded the front rooms of those fortunate enough to own television sets to watch the beautiful young Queen ride in a fairytale coach along the Mall from the palace, and to see the Archbishop of Canterbury place the crown upon her head in Westminster Abbey. For one lady, Peggy Nisbet, the Coronation proved a career change when she was inspired to dress small dolls which were sold through the prestigious Harrods store. Little could she have known that those small dolls would be the start of a huge concern, which would go on to produce millions of Peggy Nisbet costume dolls over the next three decades. Naturally, other manufacturers jumped aboard the bandwagon, most notably Pedigree Toys, who issued an 14 inch hard plastic doll called Little Princess. Th is doll had blonde, curly hair, just like the toddler Princess Anne, and her outfit was designed by Norman Hartnell, the man responsible for the Coronation gown. Pedigree also issued a ‘Bonnie Charlie’ doll, presumably modelled on Prince Charles, and a slender, teen-type called Elizabeth. All these dolls are very much sought-after today by collectors. Hard plastic was extensively used in the world of doll manufacturing for much of the 1950s. Developed during the war, it was enthusiastically embraced by toy makers, being light, colourful and cheap to produce. It rapidly replaced the older-style composition dolls, and many beauties were made during this time. Towards the end of the decade, however, an even more revolutionary product, soft vinyl, was introduced. Vinyl enabled the hair to be rooted directly into the head, and didn’t crack when it was dropped. Soon vinyl replaced the hard plastic, though for a time, dolls often sported vinyl heads on hard plastic bodies as the new machinery was expensive to install. Barbie, the most successful doll of all time, made her debut in America in 1959, created by Ruth Handler. This sophisticated curvy teen in her black and white striped bathing costume, was a sensation, though she was scarcely known in Britain until the 1970s. Girls in the United Kingdom were less mature than their American counterparts, and although teen dolls were gradually arriving, they were softer-featured and tended to wear the everyday fashions of the time – flared skirts, blouses, smart coats and dainty hats. Even in their early teens, girls still read ‘Girl’ comic, filled with colourful comic strip adventures featuring nurses, schoolgirls or ballet dancers – children were unsophisticated in those days. Palitoy issued a tie-in ‘Girl’ doll, who wore a white dress patterned with the logo of the comic. Her knickers and hair-ribbon bore the same motif while her belt had a plastic ‘Girl’ head as a buckle. At the beginning of the decade, teen girls dressed like their mothers, often wearing twin-sets and pearls, but as the fifties progressed, they rebelled. Permed hair gave way to ponytails, and skirts were full, often with layers of net or ‘paper nylon’ petticoats beneath. ‘Pedal-pusher’ trousers, which ended at mid-calf. were in vogue for a while, as were ‘sloppy Joe’ sweaters, but, on the whole, girls still had a very feminine look – the love-affair with blue denim was not, as yet, widespread. Music-wise, Rock ‘n’ Roll was in – Bill Haley and Elvis Presley were listened to on large 78 rpm records which broke when they were dropped. However, Britain had its own teen stars too, especially Tommy Steele who appeared on the ‘6.5 Special’ tv programme every Saturday, rocking to the music. Teddy Boys loved Rock ‘n’ Roll, and wore narrow drainpipe trousers, long jackets and winklepicker shoes, combing their hair into a quiff. Skiffle groups, who performed on guitars, washboards and broom handles affixed to tea-chests, were also extremely popular. As the decade progressed, television grew to play a large part in people’s lives; programmes were followed so avidly that […]
The Rollieflex TLR camera revolutionized photographic history by making high-quality photography more accessible to the general public. Prior to its release, cameras were bulky, expensive, and difficult to use, limiting their use to professional photographers or wealthy hobbyists. The Rollieflex’s simple design and affordable price made photography available to a much wider audience, sparking a lasting interest in the art form. The Rollieflex TLR camera was prototyped in 1927 and 1928 and first introduced in 1929 by the German company, Rollei. The TLR design (Twin Lens Reflex) was not new, but the Rollieflex was the first to offer high quality construction and a compact size. The Rollieflex quickly became popular with professional photographers and amateurs alike. Its simple design and rugged construction made it ideal for travel and outdoor photography. The Rollieflex remained in production until the early 1970s, when it was discontinued in favor of newer SLR models. Franke & Heidecke At the turn of the 20th century, Franke & Heidecke was one of the leading camera manufacturers in Germany. With a strong commitment to innovation and quality, they began to experiment with new types of cameras that could meet the growing demand for high-end photography equipment. One of their most successful designs was the Rollieflex TLR camera, which revolutionized the world of professional photography. Using cutting-edge technologies like precision gears and precise mechanics, Franke & Heidecke designed and built a sleek and sturdy camera that quickly gained the favor of professional photographers around the world. The Rolliefleix TLR camera offered a high level of control and flexibility, allowing photographers to capture stunning images with exceptional clarity and accuracy. It quickly became known as one of the most reliable, versatile, and effective cameras on the market, setting new standards for modern photography. Today, the Rollieflex is considered a classic camera, and its unique design continues to inspire photographers around the world.