Dominion Toy Manudacturing Company and the return of Armand Marseille

The Dominion Toy Manufacturing Company, a new Canadian doll manufacturer, was established in Toronto in 1911. It produced a very nice composition fully ball-jointed doll, but with a composition head, not bisque. Dominion provided Eaton's with the Eaton Beauties for 1915, but the sleep eyes were not glass and the composition heads not as beautiful as the bisque. The Eaton Beauties became available again in 1924 when they could be imported from Germany.

The Schoenhut all-wood dolls made in the United States were featured in the 1917 catalogue and priced at $4.50, enough to buy a week's groceries in 1917! Japan tried to fill the void by supplying bisque headed dolls with Caucasian features, but none were used as Eato Beauties.

In 1922, the catalogue showed an "Eaton's Special Doll" made by SFBJ in France, marked S.F.B.J./60/PARIS. Many collectors today believe their S.F.B.J. dolls are Eaton Beauties, but the dolls were never called Eaton Beauty in the catalogue.

Eaton's fall-and-winter catalogue for 1923-24 included a "Miss Canada Doll." She was all composition, fully ball jointed and 18 inches [45.72 cm] tall. She was dressed in a red felt coat with white woolly cuffs, collar, and matching hat at a price of $2.95.

The Eaton Beauty by Armand Marseille with her identifying ribbon, chemise, socks, and shoes, was back in the 1924-25 fall-and-winter catalogue. Her 21-inch [53.34-cm] body was fully jointed composition and her glass sleep eyes had real eyelashes. The doll cost $1.50 and was also labelled as an "Eatonia" doll, indicating an excellent value. By the 1920s, the popularity of the Eaton's Beauty doll was remarkable and little girls throughout Canada were putting it on their Santa Claus wish list.

Other department stores introduced their own beauty dolls. The 1910-11 Hudson's Bay Company catalogue showed a doll with a bisque shoulderhead and leather body with a ribbon labelled Western Beauty. Another doll was found wearing a green ribbon with Hudson's Bay printed on it. Simpson's 1927 catalogue featured a doll called a Simpson's Princess doll. A lovely 30-inch [76.2-cm] Armand Marseille has surfaced with a red ribbon marked Canadian Beauty. Lovely as these dolls were, they were never as popular as the Eaton's Beauty dolls.

From 1925 to 1927 the Beauties were made by Armand Marseille, but the 1927-28 catalogue showed a Cuno & Otto Dressel doll. The 22-, 24- and 27-inch [55.88-, 60.96-, and 65.58-cm] dolls wore the Princess slip for the first time and the new, short bobbed hair that was fashionable at the time.

In the 1928-29 catalogue, a 21-inch [53.34-cm] doll was shown with a ribbon identifying her as an Eatonia doll. She was only a dollar while the same sized Beauties cost $1.50. Because most families had very little disposable income at the time, many parents bought this less expensive doll and told their daughters it was an Eaton's Beauty. The doll was offered again in 1931.

With the Depression in full swing by 1934-35, the Eaton Beauty, again made by Armand Marseille, had only a five-piece composition body and painted bisque head. The painted bisque was not washable so the price was lowered to $1.39 and a replacement head was available for 39 cents. Many people did not have cars at this time and most of the Christmas shopping was done from catalogues.
by Evelyn Robson Strahlendorf

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