Founded in 1922, Cameo Doll Company primarily produced wooden dolls but they also created dolls made of bisque, vinyl, hard plastic, and celluloid. Most of the designs were made by Joseph Kallus who also designed for other doll manufacturers such as Effanbee Corporation and Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. Cameo was also the manufacturer of Kewpie dolls made in the US. The Cameo Company was acquired by Strombecker Corporation in the 1970’s and the operation was relocated to Chicago.
The first few batches of Cameo dolls did not bear any of their labels but doll made later were marked on their heads, back, or feet with “Cameo”. In 1971, they have also added on their label the tag S71. Some collectible dolls from Cameo are as follows:
1) Kewpie (1909) –
The baby doll was designed by Rose O’Neill which was initially produced in Ohrdruf Germany. The Kewpie dolls made by Cameo measured 2 ½ to 12 inches and bear a read heart paper label on its chest with the marking of its patent. Some also had the signature of O’Neill on their foot. The character doll was characterized by its side glancing eyes, molded and painted hair, pursed smiling mouth, legs are molded together while the shoulders are jointed.
2) Baby Bundie (1921 t0 1925)
The first Baby Bundie dolls were first made by the Rex Doll Company in 1918 and then by Mutual Doll Company from 1919 to 1921. But in 1921, Cameo started producing these dolls and these were still designed by Joseph Kallus.
3) Wooden Dolls from 1929 to 1940’s (Bandy, Pete the Pup, Superman, Ginger, Feliz the Cat, Popeye)
The wooden segmented dolls became one of Cameo’s popular creations and its height usually ranges from 9 inches to 16 inches. It is composed of a hard wooden body and head with a paper label on its chest.
4) Affectionately Peanut (1958)
Measuring 18.5 inches, Peanut is an all-vinyl doll came with a Kewpie Playmate with features such as sleep eyes, drink-wet, and real eye lashes. The doll also coos when squeezed and cries when her legs are pinched. This model was also a reissue from the 1930’s original Peanut yet its head is fashioned after the 1956 doll called Dyp-A-Babe.
5) Ho Ho (1965)
Probably one of the most sought after collection, this 7-inch tall doll was the last that was design created by Rose O’ Neill in the 1940’s. The doll is composed of soft vinyl with a squeaker feature and looks like a smiling Buddha.
Anyone who is into collecting antiques will find a wide selection of character doll series from Cameo. There were several other dolls created by the company such as the cartoon characters of Walt Disney. People who are interested in collecting them should also scour the internet for doll manufactured by the company from 1922 to the 1970’s.