Sunday, May 9, 2010

Some Art Deco dolls house furniture

As I have a few houses which date from the 20s and 30s, and are modern in style, I have acquired some pieces of vintage art deco furniture for them. I recently photographed some sets for a friend's article for DHPP, and I thought I'd show them here too.

The first two sets are American. The Wisconsin Toy Company showed this 'Moderne Bed Room Set' in their 1930s catalogue. It's 1/12th scale. (There is a chair with the set too, but I forgot to photograph it!)

This set is in the main bedroom of my Californian bungalow-style house (where you can see the chair from the set):

According to Zillner and Cooper's Antique and Collectible Dollhouses and Their Furnishings, the Wisconsin Toy Company was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, between 1921 and 1936. They made furniture in other styles as well - I also have their nursery set, which is in the nursery of the same house.

Another art deco style bedroom set I have is made by the Jaymar Specialty Company, started by Louis Marx's father Jacob and sister Rose in the 1920s. This set was sold in about 1933 as the Happy Hour Doll House furniture; it's 1/18th scale.

As you can see, here the shape of the furniture is fairly simple - it's the printed design which gives it an art deco touch. Zillner and Cooper's book also shows kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room Happy Hour furniture. Each set is a different colour - I'd especially like to have the red living room pieces, which also have a black art deco design on them.
UPDATE: Louise at Grandmas Attic has posted a picture of her houseful of Jaymar Happy Hour furniture! Wonderful - thank you, Louise!

This set is going in the kids' bedroom of my Triang 52, dating to 1939. This room needs more work, but looks like this at the moment:

This room also has some of my Jacqueline furniture, which I'll photograph for another post.

Also in the Triang 52 are some pieces I don't know the origin of. This chair and sofa are all metal, but the upper red surface feels like flocking or felt - I don't know how it's been done.

I also have a delightful little mirror and hanging clothes brush, with a raised art deco design in the metal:

Here they are in the house:

One day I'll make some curtains for this house!


  1. Thanks for sharing these wonderful pieces. The Wisconsin set is fabulous! I love the pyramid vanity! And the red flocked Triang 52 pieces are marvelous as well. Very stylish.

  2. Way Cool! That deco is so extraordinary! CM

  3. very unusual bedroom design, wonderful mirrors and tags with the birds - I think furnishing the 30s is much more difficult than the 50s...

  4. As you already know, I love art deco and you have bought some really nice items there, especially the yellow bedroom set and the red sofa and chair!
    I love the little painting next to the mirror and clothes brush too!

  5. Great post and usefull information. I've been antiquing in Wisconsin before and hope to go again and will certainly keep my eyes out for these pices. I would really like to find the Happy Hour items because of the smaller scale.

  6. Awww, these Happy Hour furniture are so nice! So simple made but also very cool! I´m like to look into your houses with the furniture in it, but it´s so useful to see them seperate, to see all details! The tiny clothes brush is amazing, too! Lovely post!


  7. Hi Callsmall, glad you like them! Of course, the Wisconsin and Jaymar pieces came from the US, and more pop up from time to time - not all listed by sellers who ship outside the US! So if you keep a look-out, you might be lucky one day.
    Your comment about the pyramid vanity reminded me that one source of inspiration for Art Deco was the archaeological excavations in Egypt - I'd just been thinking in terms of triangles, but of course actual pyramids were an influence too!

  8. Hi CM, glad you like it!

    @ diepuppenstubensammlerin, I love the mirrors too, especially the one that is crazed. And I agree that they're very unusual - especially the combination of stark geometric forms with the sweet little birds!
    There is quite a lot of 30s dolls house furniture around, but it depends what style you want - in the 30s, Triang was making Stockbroker Tudor dolls houses as well as flat-roofed modern dolls houses, and there's a similar mix of furniture styles. But finding (or collecting) whole sets of any style is not easy!

    Hi Pubdoll, nice to see you! I hope you get your computer back soon. I have some other pieces you'll like too I think! and in 1/16th - I'll photograph them soon. The little painting is a postage stamp, reproducing a real painting - at the moment I can't remember the name of the painting or the artist :-( Hopefully I've got it somewhere!

  9. Hi Amy, wow, I wish I could go antiquing in Wisconsin! Jaymar was (and is) based in New York, but its furniture was sold through Montgomery Ward catalogues, so it could turn up anywhere. Let us know if you find any!

    Hi Nicola, simple and cool is a good description! I like seeing the furniture and accessories in place too, but you can miss bits, so maybe taking them out of the houses and photographing them as a set is worth it ;-)
    I'd love to have a clothes brush like that in real life - it would be very useful to check for cat fur! But at least the dolls in the Triang 52 can go out looking smart and groomed, and the Caco dolls appreciate that, I'm sure.

  10. I love the WTC's moderne bed room set! I've only seen it in Zillner's books...and your pics show it off wonderfully! Also enjoyed the look-back at your Californian bungalow-style house!

  11. I love all these items! The art deco furniture is so stylish.

    I recognise the Jaqueline set, I have only seen the tables in cream before.

  12. That yellow deco furniture is a dream!!!