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Doll Collector Glossary

Here are some frequently used terms and words associated with collecting dolls

ADTOCOLITE. Light, smooth-textured composition used by Aetna Doll and Toy Company. 


ALABASTER. Fine-grained sulphate of lime that was ideal for carving. Also used by doll-makers to describe heads cast in plaster of paris. 


ALL-BISQUE. Used only when the complete doll is made of bisque. 


ALL-PUPIL EYES. Dark brown, irisless eyes. 


ALMOND-EYED. Dark, almond-shaped fixed eyes used by Jumeau. Dolls with this type of eyes usually have "early" ball-jointed bodies. 


ALPHABET DOLLS. Fabric bodies, printed with letters of the alphabet. China heads.


APPLIED EARS. Ears attached separately after the molding of the heads. Used on quality dolls. 


ARMATURE. Inner frame of wire, metal or wood. 


ART DOLLS. Can refer to children's dolls designed by artists or to adult, boudoir-type dolls made in stylized manner. 

BABYLAND RAG DOLLS. Made by Horsman with painted faces but sometimes used to 

describe any doll of similar type. 

BACMAN's BABY. Any doll sold by a travelling salesman. 

BALD HEADS. Dolls with smooth, fully-molded heads. 

BEBE. Child-like doll with double-jointed or leather body.

BEBE BAISER. Kissing doll. 

BEBE DE CHANT. Singing doll. 

BEBE TETEUR. Feeding doll. 

BELTON TYPE. Bald-headed, French bisque doll. Small holes in crown, possibly for attaching wig or for stringing. 


BENT-LIMBED BODY. Baby-type body in sitting position. 

BERLIN TYPE. Molded porcelain shoulder heads with soft pink glaze.

BIEDERMEIER. Porcelain dolls with a round black spot on pate. Used by German collectors to refer to any glazed porcelain dolls. Other collectors describe any dolls made between 1805 and 1840 as Biedermeier. 


BISKOLINE. Self-colored substance similar to celluloid. 

BISQUE. Unglazed porcelain.

BLACK SPOT. Porcelain dolls with black spot on pate.

BLONDE BISQUE TYPE. Used to describe pink-tinted, unglazed heads with molded hair and shoulder plate.


BLOWN EYES. Glass eyes blown into round spheres.

BLUSHING. The soft color applied to the backs of dolls' hands and tops of feet. 

BONNET DOLLS. Those with molded hats or bonnets.

BOUDOIR DOLLS. Term to describe lady-dolls made in early twentieth century as mascots for adults.


BREVETE. Patented. 

BROTTEIG. Mixture of dark meal, rye meal and glue water, used to make a modeling substance. Often used for detail on wooden heads made around 1800.

BUST HEADS. American term for shoulder heads. 

BUTTERFLY DOLLS. Molded head-dress in the form of butterflies. 

CANDYSTORE DOLLS. American term for cheap all-bisques in small sizes. 

CARRIAGE DOLLS. Very small dolls in leather cases to amuse on journeys. 

CARRIAGE TRADE. Quality dolls sold to the wealthy. 

CARTOON DOLLS. Bisque or composition figures made in imitation of cartoon characters of twentieth century. 


CHARACTER DOLLS. First made by Marion Kaulitz in Munich, but now used mainly to describe bisque-headed dolls with realistic expressions made after 1909. 

CHILD DOLL. Double-jointed or leather-bodied little girl dolls. 

CHINA HEAD. American term for glazed porcelain, shoulder-headed dolls. 

CHINA LIMO. Lower arms and legs of porcelain. 

CLOVER LEAF. Has leaves of this type molded as a head-dress.

CODY JUMEAU. Long-faced doll with two-tone mouth. Once thought to have been specially made to honor Buffalo Bill Cody when he visited Paris in 1887. He returned to America with a doll of this type for his daughters. 


COLUMBIAN DOLLS. Painted rag. American, circa 1900. 

COMPOSITION. Can refer to any mixture of wood or paper pulp with glue as binder. Papier Mâché is sometimes included. 

COQUETTE TYPE. Has large, sideways-glancing eyes. Painted or glass. 

CORSET BODY. Fabric of body printed with a corset. 

CRECHE FIGURES. Made for use in Christmas cribs. 

CUPIDS. All-bisque figures made in Germany. Similar to Kewpies, with sideways­ glancing eyes, but without wings or quiff. 

CUT-AWAY HEAD. Method of cutting bisque heads at the crown. Those cut well away at a sharp angle are more highly thought of. 

DAIRI HINA. Japanese Girls' Festival dolls. Emperor and Empress. 

DECAL EYES. Often of metal given a transfer-type film. 

DEP. - Deponiert (German) or Depose (French). Indicates a registered design or trade-mark. 


DOLL-FACED. The typical smiling little girl face.


DOLL'S-HOUSE FAMILY. Term to indicate a set of dolls that includes men-dolls with molded hair.

D.R.G.M. Deutsches Reichs Gebrauchsmuster. (Registered Design.)

DOUBLE-JOINTED. Parts of body pivot around a wooden ball.

DUTCH DOLLS. Corruption of German word Deutsch. Used loosely to describe all types of cheap, jointed, wooden dolls but in this book shoulder-headed type.

EARTHENWARE. Opaque body of common day.

ENIGMA. Once used as term to describe dolls now known as Motschmann type.

EYELETTED BODY. Limbs have sew holes that are protected by metal eyelets. Used on quality wax dolls.

FASHION DOLL. Outdated term used to describe French lady dolls of late nineteenth century. Correctly used as description for genuine mannequin figures.

FIBERLOID AND FIBROLAQUE. Unbreakable, composition-type substances.

FLANDERS BABY. Name sometimes given to jointed wooden dolls.

FLANGE NECKS. Necks that open out at lower edge to be held in place by cloth bodies.


FLAPPERS. 1920-type dolls with long, shapely legs. Especially used to refer to all­bisques of this type. 

FLIRTING EYES. Eyes that move from side to side. 

FLOCKED HAIR. Method of simulating hair on baby or boy dolls by coating head with glue and attaching powdered felt. 

FLOWER DOLLS. Porcelain heads with molded flowers forming hats.


FOLIE. Doll's head mounted on stick. The fabric costume conceals a squeaker. 

FORK HANDS. Describes fingers of early wooden dolls that are close together and stick-like. 


FORTUNE-TELLERS. Any type of doll that carries an assortment of written predictions. The leaves often form the skirt. 

"FRENCH" BISQUE. Late nineteenth-century doll-makers described any quality bisque in this way. 

FROZEN CHARLOTTES. Immobile figures of indeterminate sex. Usually white porcelain with black, or more rarely, yellow hair. 

GESSO. Fine plaster used to give a good surface for painting. 

GESLAND-TYPE BODY. Jointed wire body that was padded and covered with stockinette.


GIBSON GIRLS. Correctly bisque lady-dolls made by Kestner and based on portraits of C. D. Gibson. Name also commonly used to describe any lady-dolls of Edwardian period, whose features resemble those of the ladies in The Social Ladder by Charles Dana Gibson, printed in 1902.


GLAZE. The glass-like finish applied to earthenware and porcelain. Impervious to liquid and smooth to touch. 


GOFUN. Paste of powdered oyster shell and glue used on faces of Japanese dolls. 

GOO-GOO EYES. Unnatural, large round eyes, usually sideways glancing.

GOOGLIES. As above. Good examples have eyes that move by action of lever.


GOSHO-NINGYO. Japanese court or Palace dolls.


GUSSETED BODY. Leather body with insets at joints to allow for movement.


GUTTA-PERCHA. Rubber-type substance obtained from Malaya. 


GRÖDNERTALS. Jointed wooden dolls. Early nineteenth century. Usually have yellow or gilt combs in hair.


HALF DOLLS. Head and torso molded in one to waist. Fabric upper arms and legs.


HAPPIFATS. Based on drawings by Kate Jordan. Only the arms move. Made in Germany after 1914.


HARD PASTE PORCELAIN. True translucent porcelain made of kaolin, china clay and flux.

HEAD CONES. Tops bisque heads were left open to fit eye mechanisms and reduce weight. The gap was covered by head cones of cardboard or, in better dolls, cork. Kestner used plater cones. 


HOLZMASSE. Wood pulp. 

HOOF FEET. A stylized method of carving the feet of wooden dolls in the eighteenth century.

HOTTENTOTS. Black Kewpies made after 1913. 

IMMOBILES. All-bisques in fixed positions. No moving parts. 

INCASSABLE. Unbreakable, but used by many French makers to describe bébés. 

INTAGLIO. Incised. Used particularly to describe painted dolls' eyes with incised detail. 


lNTERCHANGEABLES. Refers usually to dolls with a choice of separate heads. 

IRIH BISQUE. Term used by American collectors to describe very thin sharp bisque. 

IRISLESS EYES. Pupil-less. 

JEWELLED HEAD. Shoulder head embedded with glass to give the effect of a necklace.

JNE. Junior. 

JOINTED BODY. Makers used term to describe any moving part, but now used by collectors to describe dolls with moving limbs. 

JUMPTNG JACK. Jointed figure of wood or card activated by pulling a string. 

KAISER BABY. Collectors jargon for Kammer and Reinhardt model '100', known to the firm as 'Baby'. 


KEWPIES. Designed by Rose O'Neill. Have small blue wings and starfish or 'webbed' hands. Hair in quiff 


KIDILINE. Imitation leather used in early twentieth century.

LONDON RAG DOLL (BABY). Wax dolls whose faces were covered by a layer of muslin. Nineteenth century. 

LUSTRE. Decoration of pottery or porcelain by means of a thin film of metal. 

MADAME BOURGET DOLLS. Wooden dolls made in twentieth century in style of eighteenth century. 

MANIKIN. Lay figure of an artist or male doll used to display costume. 

MARGUERITE DOLLS. Porcelain shoulder heads with large daisies forming their hats. 


MAROTTE. Head or complete doll mounted on a musical box which is activated when stick on which parts are assembled is swung.


MASK FACE. Printed or moulded front of head fixed to stuffed fabric back. 

MATRYUSHKA. Nest of wooden dolls. Russian. 

MILLINERS MODEL. Term coined by Eleanor St George to describe papier mâché dolls of early nineteenth century, with moulded hair. 


MOTSCHMANN TYPE. Dolls made in Europe after 1851 in imitation of Japanese baby dolls. Fabric inserts allowed movement. 

MOULDED TEETH. Teeth moulded in one with the head rather than inserted as in cheaper dolls.

MOULDED TONGUE. Tongue that is either moulded in one with lower lip, as in an open-mouthed doll, or protruding slightly from an "open-closed" mouth. 

MOULDED YOKE. Decoration suggesting lace collars, etc., found on good bisque shoulder heads. 

MOVING MOUTH. Several dolls patented with moving teeth or lips.

MOVING HEADS. All-bisque dolls whose heads were fixed to immobile bodies by elastic.

MULTI-FACED DOLLS. Several faces that are turned by knob at the top of the head or by a stringing.

MULTI-WIGGED. A selection of wigs sometimes accompanied better-quality dolls.

NECKLACE DOLLS. Moulded necklace on shoulder plate.

NEEDLE-MOULDING. Modelling of features of cloth-faced dolls by small stitches.

NE PLUS ULTRA JOINTS. Patented in the United States by Sarah Robinson in 1882. Usually a rivet hip joint used on leather bodies, but sometimes also used at knee and elbow.

NETTLE CLOTH. Used by Käthe Kruse for waterproof dolls’ heads which were stuffed with deer hair and reinforced with metal.

NODDERS. Dolls whose heads nod on a pivot. Usually mantelpiece ornaments. 

OLD WHITES. American term for very white all-bisques usually with yellow hair. 

OPEN-CLOSED MOUTHS. Mouths that are modelled in the open position but have no entry into the head cavity.

PANDORAS. True mannequin dolls. Usually full or half life-size.

PANTIN. A Jumping Jack.

PAPERWEIGHT EYES. Term for good-quality, early, flat-backed type of eye.

PAPIER MÂCHÉ. Paper reduced to fibrous pulp, mixed with chalk and sand. Used by doll-collectors to refer to dolls of the "Milliners model" type.

PARCEL-POST BABIES. American term for celluloid dolls with cloth bodies.

PARIAN TYPE. White, unglazed porcelain as used for moulded shoulder heads.

PARISIENNES. French lady-dolls of the late nineteenth century.

PATE. The crown of the head.

PEDLAR. Dolls that sell from a tray or basket.

PEG-JOINTED. Can refer to pegs holding elastic for stringing or small, dowel-type jointing as used in Grödnertals or Wooden Tops.

PENNY WOODENS. Used here to describe mid-nineteenth-century dolls of similar quality to Grödnertals, but without the carved combs.

PET NAMES. Dolls that carry their name on the shoulder plate.

PIANO BABIES. Ornamental bisque figures, often immobile.

PIANO DOLLS. Small figures of wood or card with bristle legs, that appear to dance when piano keys are moved. Also known as Pigmées Musico Dancemanes.

PIGEON TOES. Usually refers to early nineteenth-century waxed dolls, with turned in toes, caused by the structure of their fabric bodies.

PINCUSHION HEADS. Ornamental half figures of bisque or porcelain. Could be fixed to pincushions, crumb brushes, vanity bags or lampshades.

PINK LUSTRE. Very delicate, uneven pink shading to basic white-glaze porcelain heads.

PORTRAIT DOLL. Head modelled on a known person, e.g. Lord Roberts or Sara Penfold. Erroneously used to describe a miscellany of bisque and porcelain heads that have a slight resemblance to beauties of period, e.g. Alexandra, Eugénie or Jenny Lind.

POUPARDS. Doll’s head mounted on stick. Musical movement or squeaker concealed under clothes. Also a swaddling baby of wood or composition.

POUPÉE. A lady-doll.

POUTIES. Usually refers to bisque-headed dolls with a pouting expression and close mouth.

PRE-COLOURED OR SELF-COLOURED BISQUE. Pink colouring in substance of bisque rather than applied. 

PRESEPIO. Christmas crib or crèche. 

PRINTED DOLLS. Refers to rag dolls bought in sheet form. 

PUMPKIN HEAD. Also known as Squash Heads. Waxed composition with blonde moulded hair. Heads made in shallow, two-part moulds and consequently present a flattened appearance. 

RETRACTABLE TONGUE. Tongue pivots back into mouth when doll is laid down. 

ROBINSON JOINTS. Designed in the United States by Sarah Robinson 1883. Used on fabric and leather bodies. Each section was given 'ears' that fitted the part above. Rivets, pins or even stitches held the two together. Neatened by buttons or stiffened fabric washers.

ROOTED HAIR. Set into wax or plastic material, either singly or in tufts. Lashes, eyebrows and beards could all be treated similarly. 

RUPPRECHT DOLLS. Figures of Dutch origin dressed completely in fur. Were attendants to Santa Claus. 

SABULAS. Coined by Jo Gerken to describe early papier mâchés that were made in two-piece moulds and consisted of head and body to the knees.

SAND BABY. A doll whose head was weighted with sand. Made by Kathe Kruse. 

SCARF DOLLS. Moulded shoulder heads wearing a scarf or turban. 

SCHILLING JOINTS. Method of fixed wooden or composition arms to a body of leather or cloth. 1884. 

SCHUTZMARKE. Trade-mark. 

SEWING COMPANION. Dressed dolls whose costume is a holder for scissors, thread, etc.

S.G.D.G. (French). Without government guarantee. (Used in conjunction with BREVETÈ.

SHOULDER HEADS. Head and shoulder plate of same substance. Sewn or stuck to body. 

SKITTLE DOLL. Carved, one-piece wooden dolls of primitive type. Skittle-shaped. 

SLIT OR SPLIT HEADS. Usually refers to dolls of waxed composition with a slit cut along crown for insertion of wig. Some papier mâchés have hair similarly attached. 

SNOW BABIES. All-bisque figures wearing snow suits of grog. Can be wire-jointed, or, more usually, immobile.


SPECIAL. Mark found on bisque heads. Believed to refer to a special issue, perhaps for Christmas, etc. Used by several makers. 

SPOON HANDS. Embryonic hands where only the thumb is carved separately. 

SPRINGFIELD DOLLS. Jointed wooden dolls made in this area. 

STARFISH HANDS. Early twentieth century. Hands modelled to look almost webbed. As in Kewpies. 

STE. Society (French). 

STEUBER BODY. Boots and stockings form an integral part of the lower legs. 

STIFF-JOINTED. Arms and legs move only at shoulders and hip.

STIFF NECKS. Terms for dolls whose heads are moulded in one with body. Usually refers to all-bisques.

STRAIGHT-LIMBED BABY. Legs modelled almost straight so that the doll can stand.

STRINGING LOOPS. Bisque loops modelled in one with limbs for neater stringing of all-bisques. Some baby dolls made by Heubach have stringing loop on neck.

SWAYERS. Figurines that sway from side to side.

SWIVEL NECKS. Turn in socket at base.

SWIVEL PEGS. The top part of the arm or leg of a Grödnertal that fits into the torso and allows movement.

TAUFLING. Unchristened babies. Used to refer to several types of folk baby dolls.

TODDLER-TYPE BODY. Plump, double-jointed body, often with shaped things to fit neatly against body.


TELEPHONE DOLLS. Have large skirts to cover the telephone. Often given waxed plaster heads combined with bisque arms.

THUMB-SUCKER. German all-bisque with well-moulded hand. Thumb fits into open mouth. Some have rubber hands.

TOPSY-TURVY. Doll with head at top and bottom. Unwanted head covered by skirt.

UNIVERSAL JOINT. Patented in 1895 in the United States by Charles Fausel. Used on kid bodies, where a composition or china part has to swivel within a leather socket.

VAMPS. 1920, boudoir-type lady-dolls.

VENDORS. Any dolls that sell from booths, carts, etc.

WAX-POURED. Moulded heads made completely of wax.

WAXED. Heads of wood, plaster or composition coated with wax.

WHISTLING DOLLS. Mouth puckered into whistling expression. Appears to whistle when sound box in torso is squeezed.

WHISTLING TONGUE. A tongue that vibrates when the doll is moved.

WIMPERN. German for eyelashes. Found on Simon and Halbig heads probably intended for quality market.

WINKING DOLL. Made between 1910 and 1920. One eye closed. Smiling mouths.

WIRE-EYED. Eyes close by action of wire lever that protrudes from side of body or crotch. String sometimes attached to wire inside body. 

WOODEN KATES. Wooden dolls with black hair and undetailed made faces.

WOODEN TOPS. Cheap, jointed, wooden dolls with black hair made in Switzerland and Germany.

WOOD PULP. Sawdust mixed with a glue binder.

YEUX FIBRES. Good-quality eyes with a white-rayed iris.

Source: The Collector's History of Dolls by Constance Eileen King

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