Thursday, April 1, 2010

Ideal Toni

Toni was sold by Ideal and was designed by reknowned doll sculpturer Bernard Lipfert (who also designed Dy-Dee Baby, Patsy, Shirley Temple, the Dionne babies and later, Pebbles and Bam-Bam.) She was introduced in 1949 and stayed in production until 1953.

Toni was designed as a promotion for Toni home permanents. Girls who had outgrown the baby doll stage now wanted to emulate their mothers, and Toni was born. Toni dolls fit the same category as Miss Revlon, Dy-Dee Baby, Betsy McCall and Miss Curity. They almost guaranteed a new generation of loyal consumers of the products that they represented.

Toni most commonly comes in a 14" size, but ranges in size up to 22.5 inches tall. Her home permanent kit consisted of perm solution (made of sugar water), curlers, end papers, and a comb. Little girls could give their Tonis their own home permanents, even though the solution didn't work as well as Mom's. Extra curlers and accessories could be purchased.

Toni is made of high quality hard plastic and wears a nylon wig. Later Tonis have rooted hair. They have sleep eyes, "real" upper eyelashes, and single stroke eyebrows.

My Toni doll is a 19" doll, marked P-92 on the back of her neck, along with Ideal Doll Made in USA. She has a rare pair of oilskin roller skates and a matching coat and hat, which appear to be original. Her white cotton dress is a replacement, and alas, her rayon socks are lost somewhere in time.

Toni is a sweet doll and was meant to be played with. Her hair still curls and hasn't frizzed like many nylon-wigged dolls of her era. Her joints are held by large rubber doll bands, which makes her easy to repair.