Vintage Bleuettes

Other Antique & Vintage SFBJ Dolly-Faces

From its beginning in 1899 to its end in 1957, the SFBJ manufactured hundreds of thousands of bisque dolls in a wide variety of sizes and molds.  Their character dolls are justifiably famous! Here we'll look at some of the SFBJ dolly-face dolls. 

 

The SFBJ Eden Bebe                                                                                             
 
Shown here is a size 2/0 bisque Eden Bebe of 12 & 1/2" (32 cm) marked 2/0 and F.  She has a 5-piece composition body, limbs marked F, and set blue paperweight eyes, original blonde mohair wig, and original chemise-petticoat combination which is stamped "Eden Bebe, Brevete, SGDG."
 
 
One of the earliest was the Eden Bebe, which director Fleischmann brought with him to the newly formed society.  Eden Bebes' heads were manufactured in Germany, but have French-made bodies of wood and composition, or in the case of 5-piece bodies, all composition.  The larger sizes have open mouths with teeth, while the smallest have closed mouths.  The mouth paint color has an orange tint.  They have a small chin dimple, and a molded eyelid line, with slanted painted eyelashes.  Their sizes range from the tiny 14/0 to size 6 or larger.  Both even and odd numbers have been found, but the even numbers are most common.  SFBJ Eden Bebes do not have pierced ears, and their eyes are set, reflecting their time period of late 1899 to about 1914.  The SFBJ heads have no trademark, just a size number.  Earlier Fleischmann & Blodel molds were often marked "Eden Bebe, Paris,"and the size number; some have a registration mark. Composition heads were also made, but it is unknown if they were of German or French manufacture.


 

This small Eden Bebe is size 7/0, about 9 inches tall.  She has a five-piece composition body with painted shoes.  The leg has molded socks, too, but they are unpainted.  She has threaded blown glass set eyes and four teeth.  Notice the slanted eyelashes and the molded eyelid line and chin dimple.  She is marked only 7/0.

 

Here is another small Eden Bebe made by the SFBJ who is 28 cm, or 11 inches.  Her head is marked 8/0, and her fully articulated SFBJ body and feet are marked 2.  In addition, her body is incised "Made in France." She has set glass eyes, four teeth set in an open mouth, and single stroke eyebrows.  Like all SFBJ Eden Bebes, she has slanted upper and lower eyelashes.  She wears a replacement wig.  Since she has a size 2 body, she can share Bleuette's wardrobe.

This is a size 4/0 SFBJ Eden Bebe with set glass eyes and four teeth set in an open mouth.  She has the characteristic slanted upper and lower eyelashes, strong multi-stroke eyebrows, and chin dimple.

She is just over 12 inches tall (31cm).  She has a fully articulated body, with 3 on her back and 3 on the soles of her feet.  Her only head marking is 4/0.  She has her original white kid French-made shoes, marked 2.

This is an Eden Bebe marked 3/0 who is 35 cm or almost 14 inches tall.  She has brown sleep eyes, four teeth in an open mouth, slanted  painted eyelashes, and typical SFBJ body.  She wears an antique silk dress and matching red cotton apron and bonnet.  Her human hair wig may be original, it is quite old.

 

The Eden Bebe below is marked 0 and is 38 cm or 15 inches tall.  She has a nice quality SFBJ body, and a newer French made wig of human hair.  Her blue glass eyes are set, as is usual with this mold, and her delicate eyelashes are slanted.  She has four tiny teeth in an open mouth and multi-stroke eyebrows.   There is some speculation that she was the "poupee mannequin" Friquette, of the girls' weekly journal, Fillette from 1909 to 1914.

 

This lovely SFBJ Eden Bebe size 1 (17.5 inches / 44,5 cm) below was purchased by a collector in Belgium, wearing this handmade print cotton dress and her original honey-colored human hair wig; later she moved back to France, and just recently, she arrived in America--still just as beautiful.  She has a papier mache body and legs, with turned wood arms and composition hands.  She has brown sleep eyes.


This is a much larger size 6 Eden Bebe made by the SFBJ during the WWI era, with set paperweight glass eyes and original human hair wig. She has slanted eyelashes, multi-stroke eyebrows, four teeth set in an open mouth, and a chin dimple.

Her head is marked 6, and her body has the tri-color round paper label used by the SFBJ.  She is 57 cm or 22.5 inches.

You can see her body in the section on bodies below.

 

This is another lovely example of the unusual size 6 Eden Bebe.  Her photo is courtesy of an Australian visitor to this website, whose mother was given the doll as a 6th birthday present by her parents in the 1920s.  She was called Nada, and is a treasured possession destined to be passed down in the family.

 

Read my article about the SFBJ Eden Bebes, published by Antique Doll Collector in February, 2013.  You can download the pdf file here:

The SFBJ Eden Bebe

The SFBJ Paris

An early mold used by the SFBJ is simply known as the "SFBJ Paris" and that is all that is seen for its mark, plus a size number at the base of the neck.  A few are also marked R.  Like many SFBJ dolls, this head mold was made both in bisque and in their unique pasteboard incassable material.  The SFBJ Paris dolls came in a wide range of sizes, including a small size which can be mistaken for Bleuette. Their endearing face is less known and the dolls are less frequently found than some of the other SFBJ molds.

Above is an incassable size 4 SFBJ Paris, on her fully articulated body, with threaded glass eyes.  The hands have red knuckle lines, and the body is marked 4 on her back and on the soles of her feet.  The light beige color of the wood and composition body is much paler than the more tan and pink colors the SFBJ used later. 

 

 This lovely 15 inch bisque SFBJ Paris is owned and has been costumed by Jill Breitstone.

Photo by Jill Breitstone.  

 

 This is Heather Cullman's 11 inch (28 cm) SFBJ Paris size 2,  with fully articulated SFBJ body.  She can wear Bleuette's clothes.

Photo courtesy of Heather Cullman. 

 

The 60 Mold

Another early mold was the 60, which was used for Bleuette in the 8/0 size only, but was made in many other sizes--from 14/0 to the rare, large size 7. 

These are two examples of the 60 mold dolls, in two different sizes: on the left a 4/0 and on the right a size 1&1/2.  They have dark sleep eyes, open mouths with teeth, and fully jointed composition bodies.  The smallest doll has single stroke eyebrows. 

Below is the second smallest 60 made, a 9 inch, 23 cm, fully articulated 60 in size 12/0.  She has sleep eyes, mohair eyelashes, single-stroke eyebrows, and four teeth.  She is of the Unis France era between the two world wars.  A 14/0 fully articulated 60 was also made--the smallest.

 

 

This is the smallest fully articulated 60 mold.  She is 7.5 inches or 19 cm.  Her mark is "A, SFBJ, 60, Paris, 14/0."

The 301 Mold

Another dolly-face mold made by the SFBJ is the 301. This is an early SFBJ, Paris, 301 in size 2.  These were some of the first heads made of the 301 mold after WWI, and are distinguished by their pierced ears, extra nice painting, and sleep eyes.  This example has white-painted, carved and glazed teeth, molded texture in her eyebrows, and mohair eyelashes, but still has the very dark eyes and smaller arms of the WWI period.  Her body and feet are marked 3, and she has her original French leather shoes, marked 2.

The 301 mold was made from about 1915 until the company closed in 1957.  It was used for some Bleuettes--but please see the Bleuette History  section of the website for more information.  In general, the 301 mold was used for better quality dolls than the 60, although lesser examples of the 301 can be found, and beautifully made 60s can be found.  The 301 mold is well marked, with 301 and all the various markings used over time by the SFBJ:  SFBJ Paris; SFBJ, Paris, France, and a date;  71 Unis France 149, with size number; and even a stamp saying "Tete Jumeau."  The bodies of dolls made before and during WWI may have the round SFBJ sticker.  Both bisque and composition heads were made, set and sleep eyes were used,  mouths were usually open with teeth (although some composition heads and small 301s have a closed mouth), and one final characteristic is that the lower lashes are usually painted in a straight line, not slanted.

The doll above is a size 5 bisque 301 of about 15" (38 cm) with blue glass sleep eyes, open mouth with teeth, mohair wig, remnants of her mohair upper eye lashes, and fully jointed composition body.  She is marked Unis France, 71  301  149, trademark (r in a circle) D. T. , 5.  She is from the Unis France period of the SFBJ company, after 1924 or 25.

 

The 301 here is an incassable beauty with fully jointed body, blue glass sleep eyes, feet marked 8, head marked 301.  She retains her original mohair wig and bright coloring.  Her teeth are lithographed paper over cardboard.  She is 19" or 48 cm.

 

 Here is another incassable 301 mold, this time in size 2, 12 inches (30.5 cm).  Like other 301s, she has straight-painted lower eyelashes, and mohair upper eyelashes.  Her coloring is quite vivid, probably dating from the post WWII era.  Her bright blue eyes are on rockers, and she has a French human hair wig. She is marked 71 Unis France 149, 301, and 2. Incassable Bleuette would be marked with the size number 1 & 1/2.

Finally, here is a smaller-than-Bleuette bisque 301 of 9" (23 cm).  She, too, has a fully jointed composition body, and tiny French-made human hair wig.  She has an open mouth with four carved white-painted teeth, and blue glass sleep eyes with mohair upper lashes.  Her mark reads "FRANCE, SFBJ, 301, Paris, 2/0. "

 

 

 

Bodies and Marks

This is the body of the size 6 Eden Bebe by the SFBJ, with their trademark sticker on her back.  The sticker was in use from about 1910 through the WWI era.

She has the long turned wood thighs the SFBJ used to create a taller (more expensive) doll using the same body as smaller dolls.

 

     

This is 8/0 Eden Bebe's body, which is marked "Made in France."

An Eden Bebe papier mache body

No, it's not too pretty!  The body is made of pressed cardboard and glue, stapled together, with unpainted composition for the legs, painted composition for the arms.  The doll was sold nicely dressed with sewn on underclothing, sewn on dress, stockings, shoes and hat, and was more a display doll than a play doll.  Some of the bodies had painted legs, even painted shoes.  They are strung with elastic cord in the manner of an all-bisque doll, with the knots on the outside.

This is the size mark, 8/0, and the number 2 body mark of the 28 cm /11 inch Eden Bebe shown above.

 

This is the smaller size 60 mold with her excellent condition articulated body.

 

 

 

Here is the larger 60 body and her mark.

SFBJ 60 12/0 body

301 size 2

 

This is the wood and composition body of the 301-2 measuring 31 cm (12.25 inches).

Incassable 301

 This is the fully jointed wood and composition body of the larger unbreakable or incassable 301. 

This photo shows the mark the SFBJ used after about 1924 or 25: Unis France in an oval shape with the numbers 71 and 149, the mold 301, and a trademark and size 5 number.

 

The SFBJ sticker used on bodies