Founded in 1922, the Cameo doll Company produced primarily wooden dolls, but also created dolls made of bisque, vinyl, hard plastic, and celluloid. Most of the designs were done by Joseph Kallus, who also designed for other doll manufacturers such as the Effanbee Corporation and the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. Cameo was also the manufacturer of the Kewpie dolls made in the USA. The Cameo Company was acquired by the Strombecker Corporation in the 1970s and the operation was moved to Chicago.
Early batches of Cameo dolls did not bear any of their labels, but later manufactured dolls were marked on the head, back, or feet with “Cameo.” In 1971, they also added the S71 label to their label. Some collectible Cameo dolls are as follows:
1) Kewpie (1909) –
The baby doll was designed by Rose O’Neill and was initially produced in Ohrdruf, Germany. Kewpie dolls made by Cameo measure from 2 ½ to 12 inches and have a red heart paper tag on the chest with their patent mark. Some also had O’Neill’s signature on the foot. The doll character was characterized by side eyes, molded painted hair, pursed smiling mouth, molded legs together, and articulated shoulders.
2) Baby Bundie (1921 to 1925)
The first Baby Bundie dolls were first made by the Rex doll Company in 1918 and then by the Mutual doll Company from 1919 to 1921. But in 1921 Cameo began producing these dolls and they were still designed by Joseph Kallus.
3) Wooden dolls from 1929 to 1940 (Bandy, Pete the Pup, Superman, Ginger, Feliz the Cat, Popeye)
Segmented wooden dolls became one of Cameo’s popular creations and typically range in height from 9 to 16 inches. It consists of a hardwood body and head with a paper label on the chest.
4) Affectionately Peanuts (1958)
Standing at 18.5 inches, Peanut is a vinyl doll that comes with a Kewpie Playmate with features like sleepy eyes, drink wet, and real eyelashes. The doll also coos when squeezed and cries when her legs are pinched. This model was also a reissue of the original 1930 Peanut, but its head is inspired by the 1956 doll named Dyp-A-Babe.
5) Ho Ho (1965)
Probably one of the most sought after collections, this 7 inch tall doll was the last to be designed by Rose O’Neill in the 1940’s. The doll is made of soft vinyl with a squeaker and looks like a smiling Buddha.
Anyone who is interested in collecting antiques will find a wide selection of Cameo character doll series. There were several other dolls created by the company, such as Walt Disney cartoon characters. People interested in collecting them should also search the internet for dolls made by the company from 1922 to the 1970s.