Dolls existed long before recorded history, shaped from available materials such as animal skin, bone, clay, stone, wood or cloth. It is likely early dolls were made for religious purposes and later became toys. Often made of wood the early dolls were not able to survive the elements. Doll historians believe that the beginning of mass production was the catalyst that made dolls acceptable and more readily available for children.
Early dolls were made from available material such as socks, cloth and wood especially for the lower economic classes. However by the 18th centurty, the doll industry grew throughout Europe in France, Germany, England and elsewhere. Many of the heads were made from china, porcelain or bisque (bisque is unglazed porcelain). The bodies were made from leather and wood and later from a composite material that had wood as a primary ingredient. Wax and paper-mache were also used in making dolls. Metal parts were added in the 1860’s and some dolls survive with the original metal parts. Dolls became more realistic with bellows for voice and later even recorders for more elaborate speech.
A Brief History of Dolls: Page 2