Dolls' Houses Past & Present

A website and ezine about dolls' houses: antique, vintage and modern. Plus furniture and accessories.

Hobbies of Dereham - Furniture and Fittings 1982-2014 by Rebecca Green

Over the last five issues of this magazine, I have presented the dolls houses and dolls house furnishings designed by the firm Hobbies of Dereham, as well as the wallpapers, dolls house components and electrical fittings sold by them. In the last issue, I brought the dolls house designs up to date - or at least, as up to date as I could make it, without catalogues from the periods 1969-1981 and 1996-2005.

In this issue, I will finish the series by showing the dolls house designs available in Hobbies catalogues from 1982-2014, and the fittings and fixtures sold during this period.  As I still don't have catalogues for the periods mentioned, I may not have the full range. Hopefully, I will eventually obtain catalogues that will enable me to fill in some of the gaps.

 

Furniture Designs 1982-2014

As described in earlier articles, Hobbies introduced fretwork into their weekly magazines in the late 19th century, and popularised it over the years as a means of making decorative and useful items. The last quarter of the 20th century saw both a supply of cheap, mass-produced dolls house furniture for children, and the resurgence of dolls houses as a hobby for adults. The dolls house furniture designs issued by Hobbies from around 1980 to 1995 reflect both these trends. The first plans followed in Hobbies' tradition of providing plans for dolls house furniture following contemporary 1:1 design, and also offered a period style (Jacobean). Later designs provided sets for very young children's play, and more period styles which could be used in the increasingly popular Victorian and Edwardian style 12th scale houses.

  

Fretwork - from the 1890's, to the 1940's, into the 1980's - as depicted in the Hobbies 1982-83 Handbook.

 

16th scale.

Two sets of 16th scale doll's house furniture plans were available in the 1982-83 Handbook - one in Modern Style, No 757, and one in Jacobean Style, No 758. As that year's Handbook introduced the first room of a set of 12th scale furniture, which would become Design No 795, it seems likely that these two 16th scale sets had already been available for some years before 1982.

 

Plan No 757, Modern Style Doll's House Furniture

16th scale.

Available pre 1982 - 2014 (now called "60's style")

 

P757 - Modern Style Bedroom in 16th scale.

 

 P757 - Modern Style Kitchen in 16th scale.

 

P757 - Modern Style Living Room in 16th scale.

 

 P757 - Modern Style Dining Room in 16th scale.

A bathroom suite was not included, "because of contours is not easily made".

Plan No 758, Jacobean Style Doll's House Furniture

16th scale.

Available pre 1982 - 2014
 
 P758 - Jacobean Style Bedroom in 16th scale.
 
 
 P758 - Jacobean Style Kitchen in 16th scale.
 
  P758 - Jacobean Style Dining Room in 16th scale.
 
 P758 - Jacobean Style settle for hall and chest for landing, in 16th scale.
 
 
In 1990, a set of simple furniture was introduced, designed for  the younger child aged 2 to 4 years old. It was intended to be painted in bright colours, or varnished to bring out the natural grain of the wood.
 
P760 Dolls House Furniture in Simple Style.
16th scale.
Available 1990-2014
Above, from the 1990 Handbook; below, from the 1991 Handbook.
 
 
 

Hobbies also sold manufactured furniture in 3/4" scale. In the 1982-83 Handbook, 8 sets of Barton furniture and a family of dolls was available, though not named as Barton. In 1984-85, 12 sets of furnishings and one family set was shown under the name Caroline's Home, Barton Toys, and this continued to be listed until 1991 (although in the last two years, only a family and dining and nursery sets were available).

The 1990 handbook introduced sets of Jeannette moulded plastic dolls house furniture, and Ari dolls, both made in West Germany. Jeannette (or Jean) furniture was still available from Hobbies until 2008/2009, although in a limited range from 2006. Ari dolls were sold until 2011 [CHECK CURRENT WEBSITE].

 

1/6th Scale

As Hobbies sold doll's house designs for fashion dolls, they also designed furniture in that scale. A bedroom set was available in the 1982-83 Handbook, and dining and lounge furniture from 1984-85. 

 

P767 Fashion Dolls Bed (above), dressing table and wardrobe (below).

6th scale

Available at least 1982 - 1995

 

P768 Fashion Dolls Lounge and Dining Furniture.

6th Scale

Available 1984 - at least 1995

 

P768 Fashion Dolls Dining Set shown in No 770 Carla Fashion Dolls House

 

12th Scale

Hobbies introduced their first design for 12th scale dolls house furniture in the 1982-83 Handbook. This was a set of period dining furniture. the chairs were described as "in Chippendale style, circa 1762", while the table was ca 1770.

This was the first part of what appears in the 1984-85 Handbook as Plan No 795, a full set of period style furniture plans, including two bedrooms and another dining room design. P795 was redesigned in 1995, and in that form is still available now.

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Chippendale style dining room.

12th scale.

Available 1982-1993

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Kitchen.

12th scale.

Above: available 1984-1993; below: available 1995-2014

 

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Bathroom.

12th scale.

Above: available 1984-1993; below: available 1995-2014

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Main Bedroom.

12th scale.

Above: tester bed available 1984-1993; below: double bed available 1995-2014

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Bedroom with two single beds.

12th scale.

Above: 1984-1993; below: 1995-2014

 

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Lounge Room.

12th scale.

Above: available 1984-1993; below: available 1995-2014

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Music room.

12th scale.

Above: available 1984-1993; below: available 1995-2014

Music room as pictured in the 2006 Handbook.

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Dining Room.

12th scale.

Above: Regency style second dining room available 1984-1993; below: dining room available 1995-2014

 

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Overmantles in Queen Anne style.

12th scale.

These were shown separately from 1984-1993, and as part of the lounge and dining rooms from 1995-2014

P 795 Doll's House Furniture: Breakfast Room.

12th scale.

Instead of the two dining rooms available 1984-1993, from 1995-2014 there was a dining room and a breakfast room. This breakfast room is clearly very similar to the earlier Regency style dining room.

 

Hobbies started selling ready-made, mass-produced 12th scale dolls house furniture in 1993, as well as kits of press-out and slot together plywood dolls house furniture. Dolls house dolls made by Marx, with adults 5" in height, also appeared in 1993, apparently intended for the 12th scale houses.

Windows, Doors and Other Components

As we have seen in previous articles in this series, Hobbies sold 16th scale Romside metal components for many years, as well as some German-made plastic components in the late 1960s. From what we can see of the windows and doors in the dolls houses designed between 1969 and 1982, these components continued in use for some time.

By 1982, Hobbies offered what they claimed were "exclusive designs in strong moulded ware" (plastic). (They look very similar to windows and doors used by various dolls house manufacturers around this time - did they buy them from Hobbies, or were the pieces exclusive to Hobbies only in some features, like the colour?)

 

D1 and D2 windows.

16th scale, white outer surrounds with orange inner frames.

Available at least 1982-1995

 

D4 and D5 windows white outer surrounds with orange inner frames and lattice, with D7 shutters in orange wood grain effect with heart cut-out.

16th scale.

Available 1982 - 2008.

D4/W and D5/W, all white windows, added by 2006 (below).

 

  

D3, red 8 panelled door, and D6, door in orange wood grain effect with heart cut-out. 

 16th scale.

Available 1982-2008

 

D6 and D3 doors, with D8 fireplace in mottled pink plastic, 2" x 3½", and D9 chimney in red plastic, 2" x 1½" .

16th scale.

Available 1982-2008.

 

When Hobbies introduced 12th scale dolls house plans, the windows and door initially had to be made of wood by the builder. In 1990, plastic windows and door made by Tudor Models Ltd could be purchased for the 12th scale Victorian dolls house. The following year, 1991, Hobbies listed a new range in 12th scale, made in white moulded ware, which could be bought individually. The initial range of two windows and one door was gradually extended over the years. Acetate for glazing was also available.

 

T11 window, 5" x 4¼" overall (to fit opening 4¼" x 3½"). T12 window, 6" x 4¼" overall. T13 door, 7" x 3¾" overall, to fit opening 6 5/8" x 3¼". 

12th scale.

Available 1991-2011 [CHECK WEBSITE]

The following additional components were introduced sometime between 1995 and 2006.

Windows T11 and T12 also available in wood, as well as in white plastic.

 

T5, a four pane dormer window with architrave. T31 and T32, Edwardian windows.

 

 

T10, T14 and T14/W, Georgian doors in white plastic and wood, with T18 pediment and T15/W portico.

 

T13 still available; T16 internal Georgian door and T2 small door added.

 

T17 internal wooden door, T20 panelled wooden front door with cut outs.

 

24th scale doors and windows were also introduced between 1996 and 2005:

T24/1 and T24/2, 24th scale Georgian style doors in white plastic

 

 T24/3 24 pane bow window, T26/6 6 pane dormer window, T24/5 9 pane window, T24/4 12 pane window.

Electrical Fittings

As we saw in Issue 21, Hobbies sold dolls house lights made in West Germany, almost certainly by the firm of Karl Kahlert. The 1982-83 Hobbies Handbook includes some light fittings identical to those available in the late 1960s, and other similar ones, probably also made by Kahlert.

 

Dolls house light fittings, probably made by Kahlert, West Germany, as listed by Hobbies 1982-1989

Dolls house light fittings, probably made by Kahlert, West Germany, as listed by Hobbies 1990-1992

 

Dolls house light fittings, probably made by Kahlert, West Germany, as listed by Hobbies 1993-1995

 

Dolls house light fittings, probably made by Kahlert, West Germany, as listed in the Hobbies Handbook 2006.

Another range of dolls house lighting was also available in 2006 and following years, and 2007 was the last year that Hobbies had Kahlert lights for sale (and then only E25, E28, E46 and E51).

 

As well as the actual light fittings and shades, Hobbies sold wiring, plugs, switches and transformers.

Some were packaged with basic light shades as the Hobbies Model Light Pack and Hobbies Miniature Lighting Set:

 

E1 Model Light Pack 1982-1987 and E2 Miniature Lighting Set 1982-1989

 

E1 Model Light Pack 1988

 

E1 Model Light Pack 1989-1995 and E2 Miniature Lighting Set 1990-1995

 

E1 Model Light Pack 2006-2009 and E2 Miniature Lighting Set 2006-2009

 

Sometime between 1995 and 2006, 12th scale versions of these lighting packs were introduced. E1/12 was available until 2009, and E2/12 until 2011 at least.

 

 

E3 was the transformer:

 
                        E3 Mains Transformer, available 1982-1988

E3 Mains Transformer, available 1989-1992

E3 Mains Transformer, available 1993-2008

 

The 2008-2009 Hobbies Handbook listed three transformers, none with this number, though one was by Steger. Another was by Kahlert, although by then no Kahlert light fittings with lamp shades appeared in the catalogue.

 

Wiring, plugs, sockets and switches could also be purchased individually.

 

Lighting accessories for separate sale in the 1982 Hobbies Handbook.

Lighting accessories for separate sale in Hobbies Handbooks 1984-1989

Lighting accessories for separate sale in Hobbies Handbooks 1990-1992

 

Lighting accessories for separate sale in Hobbies Handbooks 1993-1995

 

Lighting accessories for separate sale in Hobbies Handbooks 2006-2009

 

 12th scale lighting accessories for separate sale in Hobbies Handbooks from at least 2006-2011

 

I hope that presenting these dolls house components may help you with dating your dolls houses - or, conversely, indicate which components may not be very useful for dating purposes!

 

My thanks once again to Robert Stroulger, former Hobbies director, and to the present company director, Andrew Meek, for their permission to include images from the Hobbies Handbooks here. Hobbies plans for their dolls house furniture designs - 16th scale Modern (now 60's style), Jacobean and Simple, and 12th scale period style, can be found on the Hobbies website under Plans & Fittings - Dolls Houses.

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