Our collection in the Toy Worlds Museum Basle features dolls from the heyday of doll manufacture between around 1870 and 1920. Artistic creations from almost every famous manufacturer, especially from the major strongholds in Germany and France, can be admired in the exhibition.
Dolls were not always intended as playthings. The first dolls served as cult or healing objects and were made of straw, clay, wood, plant fibres or bronze. The doll has had its modern-day meaning and been commercially manufactured since the 15th century. Germany is considered to be its cradle. From 1820 to 1930, the Thuringian Forest was home to a thriving toy and doll industry. The factories based in Sonneberg and Waltershausen led the world in their production. Initially, the dolls’ heads were made of wood, wax or papier mâché and later of porcelain or its more sophisticated variant, biscuit porcelain.