Original U.S. WWII Era US Army Corporal Composition Doll by Freundlich Novelty Corp
Original Item: Only One Available. This is a fantastic example of a homefront WWII era children’s novelty toy of a US Soldier in uniform. Not too many of these composition dolls show up in today’s market due to how fragile the materials become with age, making this a fantastic offering. The paint and uniform is still in good order as is the stitching. The left sleeve has two chevrons identifying this as being a Corporal.
A composition doll is a doll made partially or wholly out of composition, a composite material composed of sawdust, glue, and other materials such as cornstarch, resin and wood flour. The first composition dolls were made in the 19th century.
Composite dolls were marketed as unbreakable, compared to earlier more fragile dolls. However, over time the composite material deteriorated, leaving many older dolls with small cracks and flaked surfaces. Some dolls were given a protective coating of varnish to delay deterioration.
We believe the doll was manufactured by Freundlich Novelty Corp. There are no markings that can back this up, but after comparing it with dozens of nearly identical dolls that are known to have been produced by this company, we do believe that this was made by them as well. It measures approximately 25 inches in overall length.
Ralph Freundlich began his career in the doll business with the Jeanette Doll Company from 1923-29. He was an officer of the company for at least part of that time. Freundlich also had his firm, the Silver Doll Company, making composition mama dolls, from 1923-24. When he left Jeanette, he started Ralph A. Freundlich, Inc. in New York City.
The company made composition dolls of medium quality, with lots of personality and novelty appeal.
In 1932, Freundlich had trouble with the law after averting a strike at the factory by entering into an agreement with the union, then refusing to comply with terms which his company had agreed. The company moved its manufacturing plant to Clinton, Massachusetts, in 1934, but the New York Supreme Court ruled that Freundlich could not avoid its legal obligations to the union that way.
The company’s promotional material boasted that the Clinton plant was “the largest doll factory in the world.” They employed as many as 600 people at one time and had home workers to sew doll clothing as well.
In the 1940s, the company was known as Freundlich Novelty Corp.
After a fire destroyed the factory in 1945, the company declared bankruptcy and its assets were sold. Ralph A. Freundlich died in June of that year.
A lovely example that comes more than ready for further research and display.
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