Caco Doll Ladies - Keeping up with the Fashions
I have been collecting Caco dollhouse dolls for many years, and I find fascinating, the variety and long tradition of their posable dolls. I am always looking for models or prototypes of doll houses, doll furntiture or dolls in old magazines. Caco's women dolls represent the mother of a model dolls' house family, and their faces, hairstyles and clothing changed over the years to reflect changes in fashionable styles for housewives and mothers. Here I present a survey of Caco ladies and their real-life counterparts as they appeared in women's magazines and fashion catalogues.
"CaHo“ was the trademark of the German company Canzler & Hoffmann, which began around 1930 to make flexible dollhouse dolls with composition heads, flat metal hands, long narrow metal shoes and molded hair. The body of the dolls was wrapped with flesh-coloured thread.
Left: two ladies from the beginning of the 1930s, with flat black shoes, hairstyle with waves. Right: lady from the end of the decade, now with brown shoes in a more round form, and a new hairstyle.
From a knitting magazine of 1936.
By WWII they advertised 200 differently dressed flexible dolls. During the war production stopped.
In 1950, the company exhibited at the Nürnberg Toy Fair, and in 1951 they were advertising again. At first they used the old trademark “CaHo”. The photo in the ad of 1951 shows dolls with plastic wrapped limbs and a new more upswept hair style of the woman. The metal hands were bent and had a separated thumb.
Left: Post-war Caho/Caco doll. Right: 1951 mother in a spelling book
The trademark was changed to "Caco“ as one of the owners – Canzler – had moved the firm from communist East Germany to Coburg in West Germany. “Ca” for Canzler and “co” for Coburg. The other owner – Hoffmann – died in the 50s.
Again the dolls changed their appearance: the plastic wrap was substituted by the soft cotton thread of the pre-war time, the dolls were taller, and the head was remolded. The women still had shoes without heels.
1951 - 1952
Red jackets, black skirts. Left, in 1951; right, in 1952
1952, Der neue Schnitt (The new cut)
Skirts became longer and full skirts came in.
Left: 1956 'Gabriele' - 'The Car Secretary'. Right: 1954 'Schöpflin' Katalog
Right: 1959 'Otto' catalogue
Artwork on a Caco box from the 1950s
Caco women dolls were also available with a wig.
Right: 1959 'Brigitte'
Left: Narrow black skirts were also popular at this time - here teamed with bright print aprons. Right: 1957 'Constanze'.
While full skirts remained fashionable, and pullovers provided warmth.
Left: 1958 'Knittax': Elegance at home. Right: 1958 - knitting another pullover.
Even aprons followed the fashions. Right: 1952 'Vobachs Neue Moden'
Around 1960, the women’s metal shoes got heels – making them look more elegant, but meaning they could hardly stand on their own any more.
Left: From a 1961 Caco ad - a new fashion. Right: 1960 Film und Frau
Right: 1957 Brigitte: Mother of the Bride fashions
Lightweight coats for summer visiting.
Left: 1959 'Otto' catalogue. Right: 1950s 'Schöpflin' catalogue.
1961 - 1964
Left: 1961 - 1963 - 1964 (left to right) - Caco ladies' faces and hairstyles change, but full skirts remain fashionable. Right: 1959 'Otto' catalogue - skirts.
Left: The earlier composition head (left) was given a new hairstyle and a narrower shape of face (right). The dolls’ hands were made of plastic instead of metal. Right: 1959 'Otto' catalogue - hairstyle from the cover.
Left: The dolls mostly had high heels, but some still came with flat shoes, as with this 1961 lady with the new head and hairstyle. Right: 1959 'Gminder' - bright stripes are cheerful for the summer
Left: Day, work and night attire ... Right: 1958 - elegant dressing gowns
Another change to the dolls' heads was more important: now the head was made of plastic; the hairstyle was very similar. The modern material gave the dolls a completely new look.
1952 - 1964
These four dolls show the changes from 1952 to 1964:
- 1952 composition head, metal hands, metal flat shoes
- 1961 metal high heel shoes
- 1962/63 new composition head form, longer face and new hair style, plastic hands
- 1964 plastic head with new face but similar hair style
1963 - 1964
The plastic heads often came with wigs, giving a softer look.
Left: 1963 'Quelle' catalogue. Right: 1961 'Brigitte'.
The suit appears, with tight skirts, open jackets - and lots of hairspray, even a beehive hairdo.
Left: 1964 'Film und Frau'. Right: 1963 'Australian Women's Weekly'.
Above and below: More tailored suits - and matching hats, too.
Above right: 1963 'Quelle' catalogue. Below right: 1963 'Constanze'
Left and Centre: A new decade, a new fashion and new fabric: stretch knit trouser suits, and leggings. Right: 1971Caco ad.
1972 'Quelle' catalogue
Left: Red and white print dresses 1959-1970. Right: 1972 'Quelle' catalogue: short sleeved and long sleeved patterned dresses.
Left: Dresses of the 1970s. Right: 1970 'Manufrance' catalogue: short sleeved blue & white and red & white print dresses
The artwork on the Caco boxes reflects the changed dress styles ....
Some changes were made to the dolls in the mid 1970s: instead of metal shoes, only plastic was now used for the shoes, hands and head. The dolls became smaller, but the same head shape was used for 10 years (and for two or three more years to come).
Left: In the mid 1970s came another new fashion - maxi dresses and maxi skirts. Right: 1972 'Quelle' catalogue
Trouser suits continued to be popular and the Caco ladies adopted fashionable colours like orange, lime green, pink, purple, yellow, and large bright prints...
Left: ...even for mowingthe lawn! (1975 ad). Right: 1972 'Quelle' catalogue
Left: After about 1978, the women had a new, rounder face - the pre-1978 heads are seen on the left, and the post-1978 heads on the right. Right: With wigs.
When dark brown corduroy was in .... Right: 1981 Quelle catalogue.
Left: Some 1980s fashions: checks and tartans were popular, flowery prints and lace added a feminine touch, while blue jeans and slacks were comfortable... Right: 1980 'Australian Women's Weekly' (AWW)
Left: 3 dolls from a 1993 Caco catalogue. Almost identical fashions appear in a 1987 catalogue, too. Right: 1980 'Australian Women's Weekly'.
Left: A striped knitted dress, tartan dress and trousers. Centre: 1980 'Australian Women's Weekly'. Right: 1981 'Australian Women's Weekly'.
Left: A checked dress with coat and hat for winter, flowery print dress for summer. Centre and Right: 1980 'Australian Women's Weekly'.
More tartan - and lacy collars with bows. (Dolls from 1993 catalogue, also shown in a 1987 catalogue.)
1981 'Australian Women's Weekly'
Left: Blouse with puffy sleeves & a bib yoke with ruffled edging (1987, 1993 Caco catalogues). Right: 1981 'Australian Women's Weekly'.
Left and Centre: Pant suits and polo neck pullovers (1987 & 1993 Caco catalogues). Right: 1981 'Australian Women's Weekly'
I hope you have enjoyed this survey of women's fashions as worn by Caco dolls. You can see more about my Caco collection on my website diepuppenstubensammlerin. The Fritz Canzler GmbH firm is still producing Caco dolls today, and you can see the current fashions in the 2012 catalogue on their website, as well as other catalogues from the 1980s and 1990s.
Apart from my own photos there are contributions from “Sammlung Borbeck” and “Sammlung Anna Setz”. The fashion photos are from various old magazines and catalogues.