Saturday, August 22, 2009
Arranbee (R&B) Nanette, and hard plastic disease
Some time in the late 1940's, Arranbee began making hard plastic dolls, and one of the first off the line was Nanette. Nanette is another teen doll who sometimes gets mistaken for Nancy Lee; however, Nanette has a slightly more oval face and fuller lips than Nancy Lee (who was also manufactured in hard plastic a few years later. )
Nanette was often made as a walking doll, and came dressed in beautiful outfits and with elaborate hair styles. She wears a Saran wig (not rooted hair) and has sleep eyes. The 1950's hard plastic Nanette is very different to the 1930s-1940s composition Nanette, which has a cloth body and a child's face.
My Nanette is all original, from her head to her toes. She's a 21" walking doll in beautiful condition. Her problem? She had an odor from hard plastic "disease", which is sadly common in old hard plastic dolls. She can be cleaned up and made less stinky, however, using a few tips that I've picked up from other doll collectors:
1) Clean the doll inside and out with Lysol or a similar antibacterial cleaner. I use a hospital grade disinfectant. Do not use bleach or you will ruin your doll's color. The smell from the deterioration of the plastic (something not unlike the smell of Parmesan cheese) usually originates from the inside of the doll, so you will need to take care to swab the inside thoroughly. Since my doll is held together with her metal walking mechanism, the best I can manage it to dislodge her arms from her sockets and saturate the inside of the doll. (I don't feel confident taking her walking mechanism apart at this stage.) Allow to dry and repeat as necessary. If you feel confident about taking your doll completely apart, that is the best way to get to all parts of the doll.
2) Order D-Stink from Twin Pines of Maine: http://www.twinpines.com/ and give your doll the same treatment.
3) When you have swabbed and dried the doll a few times and the odor has pretty much disappeared, spray the inside and outside of the doll with a matte finish lacquer. This will help to retard any advancement of the disease. The bacteria that feed off the plastic are aerobic - so, no access to oxygen = no stinky plastic.
4) Keep any "diseased" dolls away from hard plastic dolls that do not have this problem. The breakdown of the plastic feeds a bacterium and, like human diseases, can be transmitted from doll to doll. Wash your hands thoroughly after treating and handling a doll with hard plastic disease.
5) This process, from what I have read, does not usually work for plastic Pedigree dolls, as their plastic is of a different composition, but if you have tried something that works, please let us know.
Beautiful dolls, like my Nanette, deserve to be saved from being stinky!