How Old Were The Golden Girls In The First Episode A Fascinating History of the Doll’s House

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A Fascinating History of the Doll’s House

A dollhouse is more than just a toy for little girls. It is also a charming hobby that many adults enjoy. Dollhouses have gone through many changes in history. Yes, they have been here for a long time, way back to the golden age of Egyptian rulers and kings.

3000 BC: Ancient religious origins

Historians have not yet determined the exact moment in time when the first miniature house was built. However, history lessons tell us that it was about 5,000 years ago that the ancient Egyptians carved miniature wooden replicas of their dead pharaoh’s favorite possessions and placed them in the monarch’s tomb. These included servants, livestock, pets, furniture, ships, and the like. They were supposedly made to accompany the king in his afterlife.

1500-1600: Flashy toys for big boys

Members of high society got into collecting tiny replicas of various things as souvenirs from their travels abroad. Some of these were miniature carpets and tapestries, wooden furniture and blown sculptures. They displayed these miniature souvenirs in cabinet display cases built with the details of the house on the exterior by skilled artisans that they exclusively commissioned. Children were largely confined to these small houses and were forbidden to play with them. It was around the middle of the century that Albert V, Duke of Bavaria, commissioned a German craftsman to create a miniature model of his house, complete with miniature fittings and decorations. It was called a children’s house.

1600-1900: Teaching home economics

Women of the Victorian era saw the potential of using a doll’s house to teach young ladies proper housekeeping. However, only the daughters of the elite could get close to dollhouses, as their production was still very expensive at the time.

20Thursday A Century and Beyond: The Age of Mass Production

When Germany, the only player in the industry, finds itself in the throes of World War II, it must cut production and conserve its resources for the war. Other countries saw it as a new gateway to welcome them into the dollhouse business. Companies in the US, notably Bliss, Roger Williams Toys and Tootsietoy, and others in Japan, began producing dollhouses usually made of plastic and sheet metal. It wasn’t until the 1970s that there was a call for specially made wooden dollhouses with architectural details and elaborate furniture.

Prominent dollhouses throughout history

Many prominent miniature houses, such as the Queen Mary dollhouse commissioned by England’s King George V for his wife, have real working furnishings. It has real electricity to power the lights, plumbing for the bath and kitchen, a grandfather clock that chimes, miniature books and paintings by world-renowned writers and artists, and carpets and curtains that are exact replicas of those you’d find at Windsor Castle, just smaller. Other dollhouses worth mentioning are Thorne’s 68 miniature rooms on display at the Art Institute of Chicago, Titania’s palace at Egeskov Castle in Denmark, and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.

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