Bobblehead Dolls: A Brief History
A bobblehead doll is a collectible toy which is often referred to as a
nodder, wobbler, or bobbing head doll. The head of the bobblehead is often
larger than the rest of the body and connected with a hook or spring.
The spring or hook allows the head to bobble with just a light touch.
Bobblehead dolls are often constructed with a wide range of figures,
such as athletes. However, baseball players are the main types of
athletes who are utilized in the bobblehead designs. Bobblehead dolls
acquire their designs form breakfast cereal mascots, authors and
noble-prize winners. Sporting events sometimes hand out bobblehead
dolls as a promotion with the purchase of a ticket at the gate.
A Brief History of Bobblehead Dolls
The earliest bobblehead doll was thought to have been designed in the
year 1842 for the short story “The Overcoat”. The neck of the main
character was referred to as “like the necks of plaster cats which wag
their heads.” Modern day bobbleheads made their first appearance in the
1950s. By the 1960s, bobblehead dolls were being produced by major
league baseball organizations. Bobblehead dolls were created to
represent all baseball teams and were all designed with similar cherubic
That same year, the World Series brought specific baseball bobbleheads
like Mickey Mantel, Willie Mays, Roger Maris and Roberto Clemente.
However, all of the dolls were designed with the same face. The next
decade brought product material switching to ceramic instead of
papier-mache. The ceramic figures were than produced for all other
sports and cartoon created characters. The Beatles bobblehead dolls are
the most famous bobbling dolls of all time and were also created in
this era. The Beatles bobble-doll set is the most valuable collection on
the market today. Bobblehead dolls declined in the 1970s and it took
twenty years before bobbleheads would reappear back into society.
The main product material was changed once again to plastic instead of
ceramic. The material change provided manufactures the ability to lower
their processing costs, which made it possible to produce bobblehead
dolls in limited quantities for viable collectors. In 1999, the San
Francisco Giants were the first baseball team ever to distribute over
thirty-five thousand nodding dolls that resembled Willie Mays. Today
bobblehead dolls are iconic figures which are collected by children and
adults all across the nation.