13 Pages

Letter XXXIX: Thursday, February 28, 1850

The manufacture of dolls employs many hands, being divided into many distinct branches. The two main divisions are the "wooden" and the "sewed" dolls - the former being the dolls of the p0or, and the latter those of the rich. The wooden dolls are exceedingly primitive in their structure - there is little or no attempt at SY!fiii1etry in the body - while the limbs are mere slips oflath jointed. The sewed dolls rank much higher as works of art. Whether this be the consequence or the cause of a greater division of labour, it is difficult to say; suffice it that, whereas the wooden doll is generally begun and completed by one hand (with the exception, perhaps, of the wig), the sewed doll has as many distinct branches of manufacture as it is divisible into distinct parts. In the frrst place, there is the doll sewer and stuffer - the calico integuments being generally cut out by the manufacturer, and given out wjth the sawdust, hair, or wool, with which the body is to be filled, to the same party. Then there is the dolls' head maker (wax and composition)- the dolls' arm and leg manufacturer-the dolls' wig maker-and the doll dresser. Each of these are separate branches of the trade. Occasionally some family may be met with where the whole of the branches (with the exception of making the eyes) are performed; but this is far from usual, especially with the better description of work.