Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fabulous Fab


Colgate-Palmolive Fab doll

A few months back I got a big lot of doll clothes in a trunk with two dolls. One of the dolls is an unmarked "big eyes" Ginger type wearing the Fab Picture doll pink taffeta dress. She has several tagged Ginger outfits as well as untagged 8 inch doll clothes. One pink gingham dress in the lot was larger than all the other clothing. I was cleaning all the clothes but hadn't looked closely at the two dolls. I assumed this blond doll was a Ginny knock-off like Mindy. I thought maybe the large dress was a baby doll outfit that got mixed in with the other clothes by mistake.

The doll is 9 inches tall.

As I began cleaning the dolls I realized the blond doll was much larger than Ginger. I measured and found her height is 9 inches. She was a mystery to me, as she is a pin-hip walker but has the Fortune Pam peg-shaped arm hooks, and then of course due to her unusual size. I got out my Stover Small Dolls of the 40s and 50s book and looked up the Fortune dolls, but nothing matched. Then I looked at the Virga Lucy dolls and saw Virga did make a 9 inch doll, but that one has the Lucy face and C-shaped arm hooks. Because of the taffeta dress, which I recognized as an advertising premium, I looked at the advertising section and found the doll must be the Colgate-Palmolive Fab 9-inch doll.


Photos of the Fab dolls from the Stover book

The Fab 9 inch toddler doll was produced "exclusively for Colgate-Palmolive" from 1955-1958. Girls could send in Fab detergent box tops and $1.00 for each doll. Some dolls came in stapled-on taffeta clothing, but some wore pink cotton dresses. I'm sure this dress, which was the only one in the lot large enough for Fab, is the original. It fits her perfectly and came with just a safety pin fastener. I added a snap closure and grosgrain ribbon sash. This family must have been loyal Fab customers, because besides the Ginger Picture Doll and dress I recognize some of the outfits as additional premiums. Girls could get a wedding set, cotton dress and straw hat, and sleep set for 8-inch dolls for 50 cents per outfit plus box tops. This little girl or her mother ordered the 9 inch doll and also got the Picture Doll and all the outfits. Then they bought several tagged Ginger fashions as well. The Ginger set will be coming soon to my store.


The Fab doll

The hair is marked by the rubber band.

Maybe this little girl wasn't really all that interested in her Fab dolls, because both are absolutely pristine. This doll has a mark on her hair and the sides of her face where the rubber band that held her hair in place remained until it stained her. Her hair is still in its perfect style and her paint has no play wear. There was a small factory flaw on one thigh, a space in the seam where the plastic didn't meet. I repaired it with epoxy.

I repaired a seam split in the leg.

Fab was also still wearing her original shoes. At first I thought these were replacements because they seem small for her, but I recognize them from the photos in the Stover book. Colgate evidently didn't feel like making special large shoes for their larger doll. I found the taffeta panties that appear to be hers in the clothing lot. Maybe the original owner was like my little girl; she says her favorite American Girl doll is Kaya, but she rarely plays with her so Kaya still has her wrist tag attached and everything. Perhaps these dolls were so precious they were carefully kept by their young owner, or maybe she had so many dolls the detergent dolls were less popular.


The underclothes and shoes

To hide the faint rubber band marks on the hair and face I made Fab a hat. I trimmed an unused vintage hat with new vintage-look floral decorations.

Her paint is perfect.

The dress has a spot on the hem.

I gave Fab a new hat and sash.

The doll's walker works.
Now that she's all cleaned up and dressed, the Fab Doll looks incredibly new. It's really hard to believe she was made in 1958 or earlier! Her walker works well. I tagged her with my own tag and gave her a new hair net to keep her perfect flip in place. Fab's friend, the Ginger Picture Doll, will be coming soon, and both are included in my "Vet Bill Sale" now going on in Atelier Mandaline. As I mentioned in my last post, our vet bill for one dog was $800 and our other dog ended up getting sick as well and cost an additional $130 to treat. Both are doing well now, thankfully, but we do have the bills coming soon.


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