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Dolls' Houses
Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern.
Plus furniture and accessories.

Issue 31 (October 2019)

The Smallest in the World

By Claire Quick

(Following on from my earlier article: Tiny Things and the Queen of the Needle)

There are numerous things in the world that bear the claim of being “the smallest in the world “. But the world moves on and we now know that even the atom no longer represents the smallest unit of matter and is made up of particles called quarks and leptons.

Did you know that the smallest person in the world measures 22 inches? That’s about the height of a larger Triang dolls’ house!

But these are things of nature and were meant that way.

So, my journey collecting “the smallest” began years ago with a visit to Bartlett Antique Centre in Bath. There, in the basement, is a wonderful shop that sells all manner of vintage and antique toys, dolls and other lovely things. I purchased a wooden egg with a tiny wooden doll inside - a Grödnertal - and written on the egg was “The smallest doll in the world”. I was hooked.

Tiny wooden eggs with tiny wooden Grödnertal doll

“The Smallest Doll in the World”

Over the years, I have found more pieces that claimed to be the “smallest “. Perhaps they were at the time.

Many were made not in a dolls’ house sense but just for the sheer fun, novelty or amazement.

Fun and novelty items - Smallest in the World

Fun and Novelty "Smallest in the World"

“Smallest” still seems to be very popular in the modern world, which includes an Etch A Sketch and a Rubik’s cube. Not actually the smallest by any means, but the smallest known working versions.

"World’s Smallest” Working Etch A Sketch and Rubik's Cube

“World’s Smallest” Working Etch A Sketch and Rubik's Cube

So, what makes something so small truly amazing?

There is a man called Willard Wigan. He makes the most incredibly tiny scenes inside the eye of a needle or on the top of a pin. The most recent creation of his that I’ve seen was a baby inside a hair plucked from his head! But he works in laboratory conditions, with very special tools and microscopes to be able to produce these works of art. They are probably the smallest things created by man.

But of course our passion is the dolls’ house world, where everything is small.

Some things are a lot smaller than others and I have in my possession some things that are truly small and amazing to me:

Tiny Stitched Animals - Probably Chinese

Tiny Stitched Animals - Probably Chinese

Hand-made, some without the use of specialist equipment.

Tiniest Painted Japanese Kokeshi Dolls Next to a Grain of Rice

Tiniest Painted Japanese Kokeshi Dolls Next to a Grain of Rice

Tiny mandolin in box - even the box is a work of art.

Tiny mandolin in box - even the box is a work of art.

Tiny Thimbles. - One Sneeze and They're Gone!

Thimbles. Two of the Tiniest Things I Own. Literally, One Sneeze and They're Gone!

I think these really do live up to the claim of being “the smallest in the world”.

That is, of course, until something smaller comes along……

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