By Jan Foulke
Photos courtesy of Foulke Archives
Q: I found a pair of little all-bisque dolls at an antique shop. They are about 4 inches tall and are marked 31-10, no maker’s name. The seller didn’t know anything about them except that they were in a box of vintage handkerchiefs at a house sale. None of my doll club members could identify them. Can you help me?
A: Your sweet little antique dolls were made in Ohrdruf, Germany, at the Kling & Co. porcelain factory. Though Kling was founded in 1834, they didn’t start making doll heads until 1870. They quickly became known for their high-quality products. Kling is renowned for their bisque shoulder head ladies, some with decorated shoulders featuring molded blouses or jewelry and some with fancy molded hairdos embellished with beads, flowers, and other decorations, even molded hats. In addition to china and bisque doll heads and limbs, they also produced a large number of small all-bisque dolls.
Their trademark was the letter K inside a bell. Sometimes the small dolls are marked with the trademark, but usually they only have the mold and size numbers. The first two numbers are the mold number, and the two after the hyphen are the size numbers. The size number usually works out to be the height in centimeters. On your doll, 10 centimeters equals 4 inches. Other mold numbers for all-bisques are 61 and 71 with pink or blue molded shirred hose, 94 with green molded shoes, and 36 and 69 with black or yellow boots. The Kling factory was in business for over 100 years.
Jan Foulke (retired) is an authority on antique and vintage dolls, with over 40 years of experience in the field. She’s the author of the full-color reference book “Jan Foulke’s Guide to Dolls.” Subscribe now to read Foulke’s columns in the DOLLS online archive of past issues!