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Italian dolls by QUERZOLA

Greetings, dear readers, today we go  in Italy! We are looking for where the dolls grow from.

Oh, and I tortured my Italian friends about those dolls. They all wrote me that they’ve seen these dolls, but they don’t know anything about their production. So I had to dig through a lot of different sites dedicated to dolls produced by Querzola. I admit it wasn’t easy, as if there was a company and left us nothing to remember except doll images from different websites and blogs.

So, in 1950 in Savenna (Bologna) was founded and worked a small company producing children’s toys “QUERZOLA MARIO DI S.LAZZARO”.

In 1955 Mario Guerzola received a patent for the production of dolls, the following year he received the same patent in France.

The brand logo is an oak tree surrounded by MQ initials. Oak with a reference to the last name. Oak is Latin for Quercus.

The company has only been producing dolls for 10 years. According to collectors, dolls produced by the company were not of high quality and most of them were made in souvenir version. Beautiful dolls in national costumes were taken away to their countries by tourists. Now you can buy them in perfect condition in different markets, because they were not made for games.

I only have three company representatives. In my opinion, the most recent period. They are no longer celluloid, but plastic.

For children’s games were produced dolls with a soft body. Within 10 years, were released small dolls in cute suits about 9 cm tall and a little bigger dolls.

In the Italian press in the late 70’s flashed an advertising campaign that the company Querzola sold in Italy “GOOD EGGS”, under license from the British company Pedigree, these were the ancestors of the current Kinder surprises.

In Italy, there is a tradition of having a baby in the house and decorating the house with flowers of a newborn. What is not offered in the form of jewelry and gifts on such a day. There were plastic key chain dolls like this – boy and girl. And such trinkets were often given to guests.

Souvenir production of the company did not pass over attention and one of the main characters of Italian literature Pinocchio. As one of my friends wrote to me, such dolls lived in many Italian families with children.

I also liked the change face doll. It’s a wonderful and easy to implement idea for those who create dolls for kids.

What makes these dolls so cute for today’s collectors? I think they’re their sleeping eyes. It’s impossible not to admire their bright colors.

In addition to dolls of different sizes, the company surprised children with game sets, it was possible to imagine a doll by a doctor or a villager.

The dolls were not only sold individually, but you could buy a whole set.

We open the box… and there’s the girls in a row.

This is the story of a company whose dolls were seen by everyone, but few people know about it.

Now only little dolls in bright outfits with amazing eyes do not let us forget about 10 years of company work.

Thank you for finishing my slightly sad story. Write it down if you have any pretty girls like that.

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German Dolls from TeBu.

The stories of most German dolls companies are similar to one another. Almost all of them started to produce dolls from composite, then switched to celluloid, which was prohibited in wartime.
In the 50-60s, dolls were made of rubber and vinyl.

Each story had the same ending. Companies would close down and the dolls would become collectibles.

In one of my previous posts I wrote about the Ari company, whose dolls are experiencing a second birth, adding to puppet collections around the world.

My new story is about TeBu dolls. I have no doubt that they are also popular among fans of German dolls.

So we go back to Germany to the village of Wallendorf in Saxony-Anhalt.

Not to be confused with Wallendorf, Thuringia. This town has given the world amazing porcelain. Later, this town became the birthplace of a large puppet factory.

In this village, the Theodor Buschbaum Factory of TEBU started its work in 1859. The first dolls were made of ceramic and had on their backs this trademark with the number that indicated the model of the doll.

The company specialized in the manufacture of small dolls, dolls for doll houses – from composite, celluloid, but over time, “TeBu” began to produce rubber dolls and puppies, mainly in the form of composite dolls – many live such puppies from childhood.

There is very little detailed data about that time, but you can find images of old TeBu dolls from those years.

Already today, the company existed in the GDR as an independent enterprise (most dolls are marked), but since 1963 it has also had state subordination (VEB).

In 1964, TeBU dolls were claimed only in rubber version. The name and description of the company and even the logo indicate “TeBU, unbreakable dolls”.

According to various sources, “Tebu” was nationalized in 1968 or 1972, judging by some reports it happened in 1972, when there was a wave of nationalization and, according to some German sites, 1972 was the beginning of “socialist spring”. Thus, starting from 1972, the factory changed its name and ceased to be independent. That’s when it was called VEB Kleinpuppen.

Dolls and nappies are no longer marked, which makes identification a bit difficult. And if you look at the faces of some German dolls, you can easily make a mistake in the authorship. It seems sometimes that they borrowed from each other a mold of doll faces.

But still, there’s one thing you can’t go wrong with. The boys’ hair has a special look. I think it’s more beautifully shaped.

In the catalogue of 1979 there is already a name of the concern “VEB Kleinpuppen Lichte”, and “TeBu” is no more. Considering that there were several factories in the same community and the population there is only about 2000, we can assume that “VEB Kleinpuppen Lichte” is the successor of “TeBu”. But the new concern included several brands of dolls.

VEB Kleinpuppen , Lichte is the “Little Dolls” factory (national enterprise) in the community of Lichte (Thuringia). It is part of the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district.

The factory existed until 1985, no further information is available.

Two representatives of this company live in my collection. A little boy and a little taller nappy. I don’t know what to do with him yet) The previous owner marked him with ink or green)

If anybody knows how to fix these time stamps, I’d be happy to.

Now I feel like I already had a little poop. I know his face a lot. How about you?

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Ari dolls, history and a second youth.

I did a little research about German plastic vintage dolls in Instagram and I can say with confidence that vinyl dolls ARI occupy an honorable first place there, but the most interesting thing that surprised me is the mad popularity of dolls in Korea and Japan.

My story will be somewhat long, but the little ARI dolls deserve such close attention.

A few facts about ARI miniature dolls.

1. Birth of the company.

Production was a family affair. The company grew out of a handicraft industry founded by August Riedeler Joanna’s wife.
ARI, short for August Riedeler GmbH & Co. KG., according to the official version, was founded in 1864, but at first it had nothing to do with dolls.

In those early years, all the dolls were made of porcelain, because the commercial advisor August Riedeler (son of the founder) worked in 1864 in Constantinople with the local ruler as a porcelain manufacturer. But when the riots broke out there, he moved to Grobreitbach in 1872 to produce porcelain in his own country (this year is listed in the old-style stamp as the year the company was founded).

His wife owned a small toy shop at the time, where they sold nappies in baptismal dresses, wooden horses from their own workshop and other toys.

Also in 1872, his son, Carl Riedeler, joined the company. The factory itself produced small dolls and porcelain doll heads, as well as children’s sets.

In 1892, the company expanded and by 1895 produced: doll heads, swimmers, swivel dolls, rag dolls.

In 1913 the company was renamed into Porzellanfabrik Garsitz, the registered owners: commercial advisor August Riedeler, Rudolf Roehler, Carl Riedeler.

In 1930, part of the company moved to Konigsee. Production was rapidly gaining momentum – during this period, the Woolworth chain of department stores alone supplied up to a million ARI sponge cake dolls annually. In addition to its own puppets, the company also traded Schildkrot, as it owned the rights to sell them in Thuringia for over 40 years, until 1945. As a rule, ARI used to dress and decorate small turtle dolls in beautiful sets.



In 1936, the company was taken over by Carl Riedeler, the son of the company’s founder.

Dolls marking.

Now collectors know how to mark ARI pupae. It is a triangle with the letters ARI inside, but for ARI dolls of the early period, it was not a triangle we are used to, but a heart (though with a triangle inside). There was another mark engraved on the head with a chest plate and a simple mark like “AR 6”. And if we look closely at the stamps on the ceramic nails, the triangle will see only two letters “AR”.

After the end of the Second World War, the factory was in the eastern zone and had coal problems for the production stoves, so that further production of porcelain dolls was impossible – and Mr. Steinmann (son-in-law of August Riedeler) was tasked with creating unbreakable dolls. As a result of numerous experiments, the first plastic (vinyl) doll was born. PVC waste was used for this purpose. Production began immediately. The production of rubber dolls was probably started at or around the same time.

In 1972, the company employed approximately 1200 people, producing 55,000 vinyl dolls daily, which were exported to all corners of the world. In the same year, 1972, the company was nationalized. Probably during this period it was called Konigseer Puppen.
Since 1981, Konigsee has been part of VEB Kombinat Spielwaren Sonneberg, along with 19 others, as VEB Puppenfabrik Konigsee.

2. Cost.

These were inexpensive, charming little dolls and nappies. Their faces, lips and shoes were often hand-painted and their limbs were mobile. The outfits were naive (often of poor quality), and among the popular figures were Bavarian costumes by ARI, Red Riding Hood and merry sailors. They also had accessories such as furniture, toys and tea sets.

3. Family life.

The Ari pupa can be bought as a family. In 1950s, there was an announcement in which Ari shows a typical ARI family. Parents, two children, a family, a nanny and a housekeeper! The addition of a housekeeper is surprising, as they were sold in Socialist East Germany.

4. World exports.

Ari’s dolls were sold all over the world. By 1964, the company produced 30,000/40,000 puppets per day; 90 per cent of them were exported to the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, South Africa, Iraq and the United Arab Republic. ARI was one of the top ten largest companies in East Germany.

5. Post-war history of the company.

In 1946, ARI’s creative director, Oscar Olzner, opened a factory in West Germany. The new factory was headed by Erich Dittman. Dittman produced Edie’s pupae.

With the help of ARI’s own equipment and materials, which was stolen, Dittmann started manufacturing ‘Edi’ dolls at the Genienau villa in Melem near Bonn. Dittman owned the entire factory – but then lost it to the bankruptcy of his other two companies. Herr Dittman cheated his director, as he in turn cheated Riddler and in the autumn of 1960 the factory was taken off the books, and Dittman’s private assets were forcibly sold from the auction.

The little dolls made their new creators a fortune.

Horst Steinmann, Riedeler’s grandson, remained director of the Ari Puppet Factory in Königsee, Thuringia, even after 1972. He returned his company after the coup, but the financial difficulties were very high. By 1994, he managed to revive production despite the abolition of subsidies and the lack of bank loans. He visited numerous exhibitions and fairs in the USA, Korea and Taiwan. So Puppet Factory A. Riedeler GmbH & Co. KG Konigsee returned to the world markets. But not everything was returned, plastic dolls from Southeast Asia were leading the markets.

The salvation was the company’s own model archive. The porcelain dolls were made according to ancient patterns.

The company tried to revive its own history by creating “reproductions” of porcelain dolls, but it was too little and too late …

Two years later, due to the drop in sales, the company had to declare bankruptcy. In May 1999, the factory in Koenigsee was destroyed, including a furnace filled with plaster forms to order.

In January 1999, Uwe Stenmann’s son tried to revive the company and produced garden gnomes, but this did not help. The last batch of 400 small dolls and puppets were the last ARI porcelain dolls ever made by Horst Uwe’s son, ARI-Dolls-Uwe Steinmann.


The popularity of ARI collecting – for doll houses and for photographing in Instagram – has led to a sharp increase in their prices. They can be found on eBay and with private collectors.
As for all the time of the company’s work, dolls were made in huge quantities, it is still possible to find Ari dolls.
And even if you don’t find the cherished triangle on the back of the doll, you will be able to understand that the ARI doll is in front of you. The faces of dolls are very easy to determine.

                      ***How my doll***
This doll model hasn’t changed in years. The approximate age of the dolls can only be determined by the clothes and materials used.

New dresses for her are already at the new owners’ house.

The production was in operation until the beginning of this century and is currently closed. But there are still a lot of ARI dolls and nappies in private collections and in museums in different countries, where they still remember and love large and small, plastic, ceramic, porcelain and rubber nappies from Konigsee.

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