1964 room box "Gerda" made by Häfner & Krullmann, West-Germany
The firm Häfner and Krullmann was founded in 1933 in Leopoldshöhe, North Rhine-Westphalia, and has since been one of the most important employers in the small town. They began with producing celluloid needed for the fabrication of combs and other hair decoration articles. In 1952 they started with injection moulding for the toy industry and by 1957 they advertised plastic dolls furniture of their own production.
You can find the firm’s history timeline on their website: http://www.hafner-spools.com/de/spulen_behaelter_technische_teile.html
The dolls furniture can easily be confused with early Modella furniture but it is even more rare. At first different scales were available but by 1961 they were made only in 1:20.
1962 their first plastic dolls house – “a modern dolls bungalow” - was patented and put on the market. One year later the house was slightly changed and featured a swimming pool instead of a small fountain in front:
From "Das Spielzeug" 1963
They claimed a patent for the take-apart dolls house because it was easy to assemble, light and yet very stable. The advantage of small and light shipping boxes which take only one tenth of store room is emphasized in the ad above. They also pointed out their matching furniture for living room, kitchen and bed room.
Some photos of the assembling process are shown next:
The construction of their room box “Gerda” of 1964 was very similar:
“Build up: 72 x 26 x 22 cm - Fold up in the box: 49 x 27 x 5 cm - Easy and firm construction by 12 screws!”
The cardboard box for the "Gerda" room-box
My furnished room box with mostly Crailsheimer items and...
...a transparent plastic door in striking orange.
The bungalow of 1963 has the same door with a matching fanlight:
There are some wonderful enclosed plastic details like this clock on the wall,
the coloured transparent window in the living room (photo taken from the back),
or the picture next to it:
I think it shows a scene from the fairy tale Cinderella.
My kitchen’s cupboards are of poor quality but they come as near to the original equipment as possible.
The Crailsheimer kitchen was sold in the same year and is smaller than the usual 1:12 scale.
1964 Karstadt mail order catalogue
All wall imprints imitate wallpaper, the kitchen pattern is shown above.
On the cardboard box is a photo of the room box furnished with Häfner and Krullmann furniture.
Wonderful pastel colours and exquisite 50s design – very seldom have I seen those items. But on the left you see a small green flower stand – the one thing I found in my collection, I always thought it belonged to an apartment of Barbie.
So I will add it to the room box immediately – the one and only original Häfner and Krullmann item!
This room box may well mark the end of the plastic toy production of the firm – lasting only about 7 years – because I could not find any later advertisement.
Two collectors who I know personally have the same room box, each furnished differently of course:
Jörg Bohn’s version with mid-60s Modella furniture in 1:12 scale and
the version from the collection of Anna Setz (see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/diepuppenstubensammlerin/sets/72157624933182805/), which is quite similar to mine with Modella armchairs and sofa and a 1:12 Crailsheimer kitchen.