Tuesday, April 28, 2009

VERO (DDR) 1960s bungalow

I have had this house for just over a year, but have only just put it together. It came in its original box, with an instructional diagram:

"Zerlegbar" means it can be taken apart. Of course, it has to be put together before it can be taken apart. The box also says 'Absolut Standfestigkeit durch Schraubverbindung" - roughly: 'complete stability due to screw fastening'. I don't know about that - I think you need to be an octopus with hands and eyes on each tentacle to screw this together. I managed, but I have to admit that the plugs into which I was supposed to be screwing the screws came out of the holes in the walls and became firmly attached to the screws, so in effect my house has metal plug joints. Oh well - here it is:

Definitely worth trying to be an octopus.

(The box also says 'Washable surfaces'. I agree about the roof and floor, but I'm not sure about the wallpaper or the artificial grass.)

Until this weekend, I thought this house dated to the 1950s. I think that's what the auction on German ebay said, and it looked like it to me. However, I was looking through the Puppenhausmuseum website trying to identify the furniture, and found a similar, though two-storey house, with an identical box, dated to 1968-70:

This house has a name - Seeblick, 'Seaview', unlike the bungalow. But they have many identical features, and were most likely made at the same period.

The Puppenhausmuseum site is a wonderful source of information (as well as being very enjoyable to look through). Another page gives some information about VERO, describing a house as made by "Moritz Gottschalk innerhalb von VERO (Vereinigte Olbernauer Spielwarenfabriken VEB" - 'Maurice Gottschalk within VERO (United Toy Factories of Olbernhau POI [People's Own Industry])'. So VERO stands for Vereinigte Olbernhauer.
Olbernhau is in the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains) region of Germany, in what used to be East Germany, close to the Czech border. This is an area well known for its wooden toys. I found some more information about VERO on German Wikipedia, which lists the companies that at different times formed part of VERO (including a wax flower factory, construction toy firms and a musical toy firm, although Gottschalk is not mentioned). It seems that VERO was founded in 1966, although of course many of the firms which combined to form VERO were operating long before this.

So, back to my house. There are only two rooms, which I have furnished as a bedroom:

and a living room:

The red and yellow chairs, the fireplace, and the two little three-legged stools in the bedroom came with the house. So did several pieces of country-style wooden furniture painted with hearts and flowers, which I think may also be made by VERO. Also, there were seven little plastic and rubber people (mostly Ari), whom I have callously dispossessed. Two of my Erna Meyer dolls now live here.

All the other furniture is German, but bought separately from the house.

(I apologise for the flash in these photos. This house stands under the table which holds the Bodo Hennig Bodensee, and doesn't get much natural light.)

I was lucky enough to find the bedroom furniture with its original box, and with the bedding (though whether that is original or made by a former owner, I'm not sure). The box is lovely,

but very uninformative, unless the numbers stamped on the side mean something to somebody:

So I have no idea who made this beautiful furniture.

The living room furniture, apart from the two red and yellow chairs, also came as a set (including the clock and plant stand with pots), but without a box, so again, I don't know the maker.

The tea set I bought on US ebay; most of the ornaments are costume jewellery brooches bought on various ebays.

The glass doors in each room slide open to a long patio:

One end is roofed, and has a bed of flowers:

Here's a view through the open living room sliding glass doors:

(These poor dolls are rather faded on their fronts, but still lovely.)

As well as a chess table and one chair (from Sweden), there is also a swing seat on the patio - what in German is known as a "Hollywood swing":

As you can see, along the top of the glass doors and at each end the house is faced with wood veneer:

The VERO mark appears on this end:

(And clearly, 'Made in Germany' does not always indicate that the item so marked dates from before WWII, as is sometimes thought. This house definitely post-dates the division of Germany, but does not state which Germany it comes from on the house or box.)

There is also a (torn) paper label on the side of the box, which no doubt gives information about the production run:

Now a couple of PSs -
PS 1. - The box for the house has some writing on it. The writing on the side is clear:

"Präger Verkauft". Now, my German-English dictionary, and an online one I found, both say that Präger means 'coiner'. However, I suspect that it means 'lay-by' here (or, as I believe they say in the US, 'lay-away') - in other words, a deposit has been paid and the balance will be paid. Perhaps a German reader could let me know?
- Oese has suggested that this is probably the name of the person who bought it - thank you Oese!
So, 'Präger, Sold' - and the top of the box tells us:

As part of this writing was eaten away, I played around with the image, and I think it says "Präger bis Mittwoch" - 'Präger till Wednesday'. So the house was probably first owned by a family called Präger - so I will call my Erna Meyer couple Mr & Mrs Präger (or Praeger in English).

Ps 2. I bought another set of living room furniture, never removed from its box:

The chairs are very similar, but have metal legs, so this set is probably by a different manufacturer. It has more information on the box, with the name Keller on the lid:

and a label on the side, with the name Dregeno and an image of a leaping deer in front of a pine tree, as well as the recommended retail price of 9.20 DM (presumably?):

There is also a name, D. Mansfeld, stamped under the box, which I imagine could be the name of the seller / shop, or possibly the person who checked the contents (although they would more likely have a number or initials, I would have thought):

I haven't heard of either Keller or Dregeno before, and know nothing about them. I have been tempted to remove the furniture - I love the newspaper holder! - but for a house this small, it's not worth it.

PS 3. I bought this house on German ebay from another seller who went to some trouble to send this to me, with the usual story of incorrect quotes, and then 'oh dear, sorry, too big for the mail'. When this happens, I am happy to pay more to actually get the house (I don't see why the seller should have to pay the extra when the post office has misquoted - it's happened several times, in several different countries - just one of those things when buying a large item). I really appreciate sellers who take some effort to find a means of shipping the house I've bought. So, thank you, Limpeter!


  1. Hello Rebecca,
    reading this post was a challenge for me! So much words I do not know!. But it was funny to find some words in my own language.

    I think "Präger verkauft" means, that a person with name Präger buyed this item and comes later to pick it up.

    EVP means "Empfohlener Verkaufspreis" - suggested retail price. If the house is from DDR, it is not DM, but Mark (Mark der DDR).

    I hope I could help you more, tomorrow I will ask my very good english speaking daughter.

    Enjoy your house!
    I will try to read

  2. You find so many great houses! I love the glass walls and the swedish chair!
    I think it's great that you go to so much trouble to find out the dating and origin of your houses! Makes your blog not just fun to read, but educational as well! I don't know much about other houses than the ones in 1:16th scale, and haven't heard of any houses in that scale from Germany.

  3. Thank you, Oese! It didn't occur to me that Präger was someone's a name, although I hoped to know who first owned it - and now I do!
    I should have just said Mark - thankyou for pointing out it was not DM in the DDR. But maybe it was sold in the BRD, who knows?
    I am sorry you found some of the words difficult. I had to use a dictionary for some of the German words - and then of course I don't know common usage, like whether Präger was a person or a thing. But I am sure your English is better than my German.
    Thank you again!

  4. Thank you, Pubdoll!
    Mm, interesting - Germany did make houses and furniture in other scales before WWII, but not so much afterwards, I think - although Erna Meyer dolls came in several scales, so you'd think there would have been houses for them to live in. I guess maybe the typical German playrooms / dolls rooms (Puppenstuben) were sometimes smaller.

  5. Mansfeld is a town in Saxonia, formaly "DDR". I guess, that the factory was in Mansfeld, but I don't know what the D. means.


  6. Thank you again, Oese, for sorting out my muddles - I thought Präger was a thing, and Mansfeld was a person's name!
    Now I have looked up Dregeno in German Wikipedia - it is an abbreviation, like VERO, this time for Genossenschaft der Drechsler, Bildhauer, Holz- und Spielwarenhersteller - and it was based in Seiffen, which is very close to Olbernhau, and quite a long way from Mansfeld. So there is another mystery!

  7. This theme is not my best, but I guess, that Mansfeld could be a "Produktionsstätte", which means the place of production. A factory may have had several places of production in different towns, like the german companys nowadays produces in several countries. But it is also possible, that it is a mystery ;-)

  8. *Whimper* I sooo have to get in your will somehow...


  9. Hello,

    have a look at this page:


    Greetings Heiko

  10. wonderful Bungalow Rebecca & I love the furnishings, they really work well.
    Nice find!
    Lizzie x

  11. Thank you, Heiko! I had not noticed that Vero house. There are so many in the puppenhausmuseum site, every time I look I notice something new.

  12. Hi Lizzie,
    Thanks! I bought the furnishings just because I loved them, and was lucky that the colours go so well with the house.
    Thanks for looking through my blog -
    cheers, Rebecca

  13. Now I need to steal 2 houses from you! sigh.

  14. EVP = Einzelhandelsverkaufspreis oder/or Endverbraucherpreis
    and not ''Empfohlener Verkaufspreis''.
    There were no suggestions in the DDR, only obligations, prescriptions and instructions.