Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Marx dollhouse


Happy March! March is Marx Dollhouse month. I will be showing this house and my 1960's Imagination House by Marx.

According to McKendry in History of Dollhouses steel houses began to come out around 1948. See  They were lighter and had intricate lithographed illustrations. They came flat with tabs that fit into slots and then bent back to hold the walls together after assembly.

The Marx Company began with Colonials and spread to Split levels, Ranch houses and even a model with a bomb shelter in the 1960's. That model did not sell too well... It is considered rare today and valuable. I bid on one several years and stopped at $699.00 It had giant rust spots too!

 Here is the livingroom from my Colonial. Notice the traditional furnishings and bright colors.

In contrast to the brightly colored room, the people of the set are monochromatic. Attention is paid to detail in clothing, hair and accessories reflecting the times. The Mothers are smoking cigarettes and the Fathers have pipes. The little girl dolls are shown drying the dishes and the boys have baseball mitts! Such simple role models.

( 3/3/11 update: Ok the doll hacker in me want to switch it and make the little girl playing catch and the boy drying dishes.)

                                              Cool hi fi!

The dolls come across as bland. There is no dressing or changing them. Up close the children are adorable, but you have to look closely to notice. The mass produced plastic does not allow for individuality. The furniture is nicely detailed too though also monochromatic . The role of the player is to set up rather than to create and impress himself on the dollhouse. It is a toy to arrange.

Marx made steel Farms with barns, "Western sets" featuring Cowboys and Indians, WWII sets and Civil War sets. The people of these sets were "figures" more than dollies and started the action figure genre.

I have the Western set and will need to dig it out of the attic to show you.

You can see several versions of these Marx steel dollhouses on US ebay. Because the steel was sturdy the dollhouses survived play. Being fairly recent in dollhouse history  (60 years old, that is young in dollhouse time) they can be found commonly at garage sales. Finally, being mass produced  they are plentiful so are easy to collect. Need I mention again that Martha Stewart magazine featured them last month in an article about collecting? We are getting so trendy.

Here are 4, to show you the variety, that are listed on US ebay today, 3/2/11. They are ending at various times so if you are interested look them up by the ebay item #. Let me know what you think, C

item # 390288280953         Love the pond and the carport.

item #  270712732165                      So long and low.

and  #180633379190
                               Love the awnings and the garage with sundeck!

item# 370487478590           Cool brickwork and there are many more!

My rule of thumb for collecting dollhouses is only 1 from each genre. I have the  early 1950's Colonial and the late 1960's plastic Imagination house, and that's it for me from Marx. Otherwise I would  never be able to stop.

I had this house out and blogged about if it was "modern" on my design blog people made interesting comments if you want to see them. It is before the minimodernista post. C

How do you organize your collection? C

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