Simon And Halbig Dolls
Simon & Halbig (S&H) was a doll company that was established by Wilhelm Simon and Carl Halbig in 1869. They made dolls out of the Waltershausen area of Thuringia, Germany.
Though there are many areas in Germany that produced dolls, Waltershausen was one of those that stood out primarily due to the quality and beauty of their dolls. Waltershausen back then was a great place to make dolls as it offered a lot of advantages such as the ready availability of raw materials for doll making such as wood for the kilns, Kaolin for porcelain and perhaps the most important of all, abundant cheap labor.
The company was known for their beautiful bisque heads for dolls. Simon & Halbig also produced dolls heads for other doll companies who didn’t have the facilities to make them. These companies in turn would attach to the heads doll bodies that they made themselves.
Doll manufacturers that used S&H doll heads included Adolf Wislizenus, S.F.B.J., Roullet & DeCamp, Jumeau, Fleischmann & Bloedel (Blödel), Schindel & Kallenberg Wiesenthal, Welsch & Co., Carl Trautmann, Schoenau & Hoffmeister, Franz Schmidt, Louis Linder & Sohne, Kammer & Reinhardt, Dr. Paul Hunaeus, Adolf Hülss, Heinrich Handwerck, Hamburger & Company, Cuno & Otto Dressel, Carl Berger, Arranbee, and C.M. Bergman.
Simon and Halbig concentrated mainly only on making bisque dolls, bisque heads, and bisque lower legs and arms. What’s unique about the company is that they did not produce complete dolls other than all bisque dolls.
Since there were so many doll makers that were concentrated at that time in the Waltershausen area, the trading, sharing and even selling of ideas were quite rampant and cases of workers jumping from one company to another were not considered uncommon. Simon and Halbig though were one of those few that were able to keep their identity intact and attract the best talent in the market.
Their doll products are renowned for their superior quality. They also used painting techniques that were far advanced than their competitors. Their attention to detail and choice of colours are also highly admirable. The faces of their dolls too were much finer than dolls made by other doll makers in the region and are unparalleled in craftsmanship and beauty.
S&H introduced a lot of innovations in the doll making industry and was even able to develop a swimming doll. Some of the doll heads that the company made featured pierced ears, open or closed mouths, flirty eyes and sleep mechanisms. It is not that easy to distinguish what factory a particular S&H doll was made as their facilities frequently shared moulds with one another.
S&H was sold to Kammer & Reinhardt in 1935, who continued to make dolls until 1932.
Popularity among collectors
Simon & Halbig dolls are very popular among collectors. Some people who collect S&H dolls like to display them for other people to appreciate while some choose to store them in secure containers for safekeeping.
Generally speaking, early Simon & Halbig dolls fetch better prices than ones made during the latter years of the company.
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