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Hard Plastic Dolls

 Hard plastic dolls were made for a short period after the Second World War from a material based on cellulose acetate. The most prolific doll makers were Pedigree, Roddy, BND, Palitoy and Rosebud. Many companies tried different combinations of materials to achieve their desired effects. They made claims such as indestructable, not crazing, won't shatter.Unfortunately cellulose acetate does eventually start to break down and the doll will start to have a strong vinegary smell and the plastic starts to look wizened and wrinkly.This is often described as doll virus.If your doll starts to deteriorate it will get progressively worse.To my knowledge there is no way to reverse this deterioration, once it has started.

Companies often used the moulds from their pre-war products, so early dolls resembled the pre-war composition dolls. They would often share moulds in order to meet production targets which is why there is often a lot of similarity between different manufacturers.

Most companies marked their dolls on the back of the neck or body.If dolls were made for specific shops they were only marked on the box or were given specific names. They were just marked Made in England.However dolls can usually be identified from their features.

The basic manufacturing process consisted of the plastic material being poured into moulds which had been design ed by the doll artist and made in two halves. The molten plastic was then left to solidify ,under heat, for the time needed to build up the required thickness. The surplus was then poured off and the remaining layer was heated to cure the plastic. After curing the mould was cooled with water and the moulding was removed. The hollow parts were then trimmed, hooks and other attachments were fixed in place and the two halves were sealed. They were coloured and painted before eyes were insertd, wigs applied and the parts strung together. The fact that parts were inserted before joining halves together can make problems in replacing them.On some models, for example, there is no way a voice box can be removed and replaced without opening up and resealing the body. 

The beauty of collecting these dolls lies in the fact that most collectors will remember from their own childhood, there are plenty available so prices aren't high and they are mostly durable,providing that they have been kept in the appropriate atmospheric conditions,ie.not dark damp,or in direct sunlight. They will be around for a long time.