The Bobblehead Doll – A Cultural Icon

The bobblehead doll is a type of doll with its head (which is often oversized in comparison to its body) connected to its body by a spring, so that tapping the doll will cause the head to wobble らぶどーる . This type of doll is also known as a ‘bobbing head doll’, ‘wobbler’, or ‘nodder’. These dolls date back to ancient Japan and China, where they were made with flexible bamboo strips instead of springs. Today’s dolls are more directly descended from German ‘nodders’ dating from the late 18th century, which were made from ceramic or bisque, and ranged in height from about 6 to 8 inches. These dolls were popular in America until around 1930, when interest in them started to fade.

Modern bobblehead dolls first appeared in the 1950s, and were initially made of papier-mache, and then from ceramic. Although the ceramic dolls were popular, they were fairly expensive, and were considered mainly collectors’ items. Eventually, however, manufacturers started making the dolls from plastic, allowing for a cheaper manufacturing process, which made the dolls more affordable.

Early dolls were made to resemble animals and popular cultural characters, and were often used as advertising icons and automobile accessories (one very popular such doll was that of the dashboard ‘hula girl’). Around 1960 Japanese-made papier-mache ‘baseball’ bobbleheads began to be imported into America. These early pieces were generic figures representing teams and their mascots, rather than individual players. Typically, the dolls for all teams would look the same, except that they would be wearing the uniform for the particular team being depicted. During this time there were a few dolls made up to represent some of the more famous players of the day, but they differed from their respective team dolls only by the uniforms they wore. Unfortunately, few of these papier-mache dolls have survived without some sort of damage (usually cracking or chipping), although those that have survived in good condition are now valuable collectors’ items.

In the 1970s, bobbleheads were made of ceramic materials, and became popular for other sports, as well as for popular cultural and cartoon characters. However, by the mid-1970s, interest in the dolls had again died out, and very few new dolls were made for nearly two decades, when they became popular again.

In the 1990s, the dolls began to be made from plastic, which greatly reduced their cost, and facilitated the making of many variations of dolls to represent specific cultural figures and other notable people. After 2000, many different variations of the dolls began to appear, and a number of companies started to offer dolls that could be customized to the buyers’ specifications. Modern dolls that represent specific individuals closely resemble those individuals, even including such things as headbands, scars, tattoos, and hair styles.

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