What a treasure! This uncut cloth “Little Red Riding Hood” doll dates from 1892. She is so beautiful with her stunning red cape and blonde curls!
This cloth doll was made by Arnold Print Works of North Adams, MA. The website, Through the Eyes of a Child, describes the company’s history and the history of cloth toys.
Advances in printing are directly tied to advances in the doll world. Scraps from the printing industry were the beginnings of papier mache dolls in the early 19th century. The advent of lithography printing a design on fabric was a natural extension to printing on paper. In the late 1800s, the main design was printed and then the fabric was hand colored. This printed fabric was then sold by the yard, often with printed instructions and sewing lines indicated on the fabric.
With continued advances in printing, the early 20th century found the entire doll printed on the fabric. While dome of the dolls included darts for three dimensional effects, most were designed to be cut and then sewn to form a pillow like doll.
The Arnold Printworks was based in North Adams, Massachusetts. It printed cut and sew dolls from the 1890s through the 1910s. Ceilia and Charity Smith, sisters in law from Ithica New York, designed many of the dolls and animals printed by Arnold Printworks and later Cocheco. The sisters patented many of their designs. Their designs included a stitch jointed cloth doll printed on cotton with chromolithographed face. Their dolls were sold in the US as well as Britain and Germany.
The cloth printed by the Arnold Printworks was tinted with oil color. Directions for the sewing included a round base for the foot to include a cardboard reinforcement to allow the doll to stand.
The Arnold Printworks is noted for printing play dolls such as the 7 inch Palmer Cox Brownies on a yard of fabric for 20 cents in 1892. Pickaninny, Little Red Ridinghood, Pitti Sing and Our Little Soldiers were also printed in 1892. The Columbian Sailor of the 1892 Exhibition was patented in January 31 1893. The Improved Foot Life Sized doll was printed in 1909, a jointed rag doll was printed in 1911 and a Gibson Girl doll was printed in 1912.
Marketing and dolls, like printing and dolls, are also a natural fit. The Arnold Printworks printed such famous advertising dolls as Aunt Jemima and Rastas, the cream of wheat chef. Marketing dolls were printed from 1905 through the 1950s.
This cloth doll is currently available for sale! Check out my Ebay auctions at the top of the page!