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Bobblehead Dolls: A Brief History

Posted by Bryan on 7/10/2012 to We Bobble
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 faces.

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.
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