Erna Meyer Dolls
by Barbara King
When I was five years old, I was given two little dolls, both dressed for a skiing holiday, one with lovely red wooden skis and another smaller doll with a perfect little sledge. I adored these little dolls and in my dolls house they were “the foreign visitors”. They survived many exciting outings into the garden during the snowy winters of my childhood!
It was to be another 40 years, before I found out any information concerning the little dolls (now packed away in a cardboard box). I spotted an article in a dolls house magazine, little dolls that looked just like mine, so out of the box they came, and I was then on a mission to find them some friends!
Toys were in short supply in Germany after the second world war and an enterprising young woman called Erna Meyer decided to make some little dolls from scraps for friends & family. Made from small pieces of fabric, wool and florist wire, they proved very popular and Meyer was soon persuaded to expand her range.
In 1950 they were exhibited at the Nuremberg toy fair and this exposure led to a much wider distribution, enabling Meyer to employ people outside of her home and to begin a cottage industry.
There was quite a selection of dolls to choose from, ranging from tiny babies to Chimney sweeps, all dressed exquisitely and with hand painted faces. The dolls are still made today and there is a large range to choose from. They are fairly easy to find on line, more readily available in the USA and of course in Germany. The vintage dolls are not always identified.
Their clothing and shoes are the best way to date them, as long as you know your fashions through the decades from the 1950s. The earliest dolls had cloth shoes with card soles, from the mid-60’s they changed to plastic shoes.
They make charming dolls house dolls, they are fully poseable and the range of designs means you can find a doll for almost any situation.