Manhattan Dollhouse discount dollhouses and miniatures

Dollhouse History

In America when we hear the term dollhouse we think of a small house for children to play with. However, there is much more to it and history tells us that they were original designed for adults and children of privilege. It is sometimes referred to as a miniature house, toy house, toy home or as the English refer to it as a dolls' house or dollhouse. A dollhouse can delight both the adult as well as the child. Children and adults feel special when receiving or planning their fantasy house.

Cabinet House

Dollhouses as we know them began in Europe in the 1600's when they were referred to as "Baby Houses”. Or "Cabinet Houses". They were made up of several detailed cabinets which displayed household items created on a miniature scale. These displays did not focus on the architectural design of a home but on the way people lived at that time. They showed detailed household , routines with servants, kitchen settings, boudoirs, etc. the most common scale today is one inch to a foot, whereas earlier were dependent on the architectural scale. These were carefully designed and of course only the upper class could afford to have them built.

As time went on, factories were built to manufacturer toys which included dollhouses and their furnishings. The furnishings were known as dollhouse miniatures. And a standard scale for one inch to foot was a commonplace. Germany was the leader of dollhouse makers prior to Word War 1. These houses were shipped throughout Central Europe as well as England and even to the America's. As the Industrial revolution expanded the folding dollhouse came in vogue. The McLoughlin Company around 1894) in New York City produced dollhouses that had four rooms which children could share in their play games. It was placed on a table over a turntable so all children could play in each room. They also manufactured other dollhouses which were listed in Montgomery Ward's catalogue. Since Germany needed their resources to fuel the( war, dollhouse manufacturing was expanded to different countries. the new companies included Bliss, “The Toy furniture shop of Providence, Rhode Island, Roger Williams Toys, Tootsietoy which was advertised in the Sears, Roebuck catalogue of 1923, Schoenhut and the Wisconsin Toy Co. Japanese companies followed by recreated the original German Designs.

Queen Mary's Dollhouse

In 1924 Sir Edwin Lutyens designed Queen Mary's Dollhouse. This house included electricity, a water system, gold leaf etchings,, a grandfather clock including Chimes, original paintings, marble tiled floors, hand carved ceilings, and two elevators.

Queen Mary's Dollhouse Library

After World War 2, dollhouses which were mass produced in the US were usually made of plastic and sheet metal. In the 1970's a miniature movement began. There was a renewed interest in wooden dollhouses which have beautiful archecticultural interiors and exterior design. The miniature furnishings are now more elaborate which can include electricity, custom designed furnishings, outdoor scenes, hand painted porcelain, inlaid wood, crown moldings, silk wall coverings, real life looking dolls and ringing door bells. Today's dollhouses are both designed for children and the adult collector who takes pride in designing their miniature house. Many museums display one of a kind or historical dollhouses. Please see our link page for a dollhouse museum listing..

As well as buying finished dollhouses or dollhouse kits, some adults commission dollhouse builders to recreate their homes in miniature or custom design a special room. These projects are designed to scale and the furnishings are either custom or mass produced. Please call us if you are interested in such a project. It is a wonderful gift and a lifetime of joy.

Today, there are also dollhouses that are on a half inch s as well as a three quarter inch scale. Our houses from Real Good Toys, the House that Jack Built, Greenleaf dollhouses are all 1:12. The Swedish Company Lundby, not currently imported into the US, makes a 1:18 (3/4 inch scale) house and Real Good Toys also manufacturers 1:48 (1/2 inch scale) as well as a "play scale" (1/6 inch scale) to accommodate a Barbie and other fashion dolls.

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