Dolls' Houses Past & Present

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

Moritz Gottschalk Dolls Houses 1947-1971 by diePuppenstubensammlerin with Rebecca Green

 

As noted in my article Moritz Gottschalk – A Brief History, after WWII this toy manufacturer found itself in the eastern zone of occupied Germany. Factories were being disassembled and shipped to the Soviet Union as a form of reparations. Nevertheless, from 1947 on, the Moritz Gottschalk company built dollshouses again. In this article, we show a chronology of the dolls houses and roomboxes from this period. Actual firm catalogues were rare in East Germany, and I do not know of any for Gottschalk, only about a dozen undated photos with model numbers, to show what could be ordered. (Thanks to Swantje Köhler for showing me these.) Many Gottschalk houses and roomboxes have a number stamped on the base. The model numbers we know from the company sample photos and from stamped houses do not always rise consecutively, and the order does not always appear logical. We have ordered the models shown in this article around dated images, which show developments in the building elements used.

 

Two examples of the Gottschalk trademark stamp. In the centre is a triangle with rounded corners; the word underneath the triangle is undecipherable. Around the outer circle are the words Moritz Gottschalk (at the top) and Marienberg (at the bottom).

 

With fewer than twenty dated images from toy trade journals and toy catalogues, etc, we cannot be sure of the whole range, nor be certain of the date ranges when various models were available. In particular, we have only a few dated images between 1947 and 1960, so for those years our picture is most probably incomplete.

 

1950s - Small Houses

ca 1957 - 1960 Large Flat-Roofed Houses

1960 - Roombox with rounded flower window

From 1961 - new doors with diagonal handles

1961 - a favourite house

ca 1962-1964: Plastic railings, open staircases

1963 on - Mosaic tiles

1965-1966 - V-shaped railings 

1966-1969 - Chalet-style country houses

1968 / '69 - Wood grain and stone papers

1972 - Full nationalisation

1950s - Small Houses

 Small Gottschalk estate house in the collection of Anna Setz.

This small estate dolls house is typical for the early 50s. A similar design was produced before the war, with small windows and shutters of pressed or printed card. I have seen several 1950s models, some with a terrace or patio on the side.

 

Small Gottschalk estate house in the Gronau collection.

The shutters are wooden, grooved vertically to simulate planks of wood. The door handle is a metal ring; the door is wooden with a pane of glass set in it.

A later door, with a larger glass pane, but the same metal ring handle.

There is a red and white striped awning, as we we see in a 1957 ad for a different model:

This two-room roombox appears in the 1957 Karstadt toy catalogue. It is hard to see at this scale, but the tiled paper on the patio is like that on the extension garden of the Gronau house above.

 

Interior of the small estate house in the Gronau collection.

 

I have one of these houses, which unfortunately was repainted very early.

 

Tiny houses with tiny rooms, even with a mansard roof, are not easy to furnish, and this house had a lot of different residents.

 

The room on the ground floor has its original wallpaper. The floor seems to be covered with paper used for laying out in drawers.

 

"How to build a house" is a small brochure from 1950 showing equally small houses with incredibly small rooms. Just like my small house. 

 

The windows have one fixed pane, and one pane which slides open. The handle on the sliding pane is a small strip of wood; here the paint seems to be worn away by little fingers:

 

Above, closed; below, opened by sliding the inner pane to the left.

 

 

Gottschalk marked many of their houses under the base. I have seen a tiny estate house just like mine with the number is 46/2 (and perhaps another digit before the 4). The stamped number 657 has been seen on two examples of the small estate house with attached garden and pergola (like the house in the Gronau collection, above).

Gottschalk was certainly producing Puppenstuben (roomboxes) during these years, as the 1957 ad above shows. I have not seen that model, but this Gottschalk kitchen surely dates from this period - the floor and wall tiles are the same as on the patios of the first two tiny estate houses above. The furniture is most likely by Paul Hübsch; Gottschalk did not make furniture in the post-war period.

 

Kitchen window partly open, above, and fully open, below. Here the handle is on the outside edge of window frame, rather than on inside edge as we saw in the tiny estate house.

 

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ca 1957 - 1960 Large Flat-Roofed Houses

Cover of Im Puppenhaus, ca 1957. (NB: the image appears the other way around on the book cover, but has been reversed here so the door handles match actual dolls houses.)

 

Also from 1957, we have an illustration of a house in a more modern style in a children’s book, Im Puppenhaus ('In the Dolls House'). The same house appeared in a catalogue from a store – it is not dated, but the Bodo Hennig patio furniture also points us to the late 1950s. A very similar, but larger, model appeared in a Gottschalk ad in Das Spielzeug ('The Toy', the German toy trade journal) in 1960. 

 

As shown in a late 1950s ad leaflet, most likely placed in mail boxes before Christmas.

 

Ad for the Moritz Gottschalk Wooden Toy Factory, Marienberg, Erzgebirge, GDR: dolls houses, dolls rooms, shops, puppet theatres, farms, garages, at the Leipzig Fair. Das Spielzeug, February 1960.

 

A Gottschalk sample photo shows this exact photo, with the model number 709. A very similar model can be seen in a photo of the opening of a new toy shop in 1952:

 

 Detail of photo of the opening of the Kurtz toyshop, Stuttgart, in 1952. (Das Spielzeug)

This house from 1952 has a pitched roof, with a dormer window, but otherwise is very similar to the house in the 1960 ad. Were flat roof houses also available this early? or were they introduced sometime between 1952 and 1957? Were houses with a pitched roof still available after 1957? With so few catalogue images, we cannot be sure – quite possibly the ads and reports in the toy trade journal focused on the more modern styles in the range.  

 

I have seen several flat-roof houses like this, so we can explore its features a little more.

 

A very modernist style of house, smaller than those in the ads and Im Puppenhaus, as it has no garage or side rooms with roof terraces. The exterior has been repainted. The shutters, as on the tiny estate houses, have horizontal grooves. Katharina's collection.

 

This Moritz Gottschalk house, which belongs to a collector named Katharina, is the original exhibition piece of the legendary dolls house exhibition Traumwelten der 50er Jahre ('Dream Worlds of the 1950s') in 1996, which inspired me and every other collector of German dolls houses I know. I bought and loved the exhibition catalogue right in 1996 as I worked in a bookshop at that time. For years it was the only reference book we had for our hobby. In the exhibition catalogue this house can be found on page 103. 

 

The interior is of interest mainly for the staircase and solid banister at the head of the stairs.

  Katharina's collection.  

 

  These models still have the sliding windows: above, from outside, and below, from inside. The top window is partly open, and the bottom window is closed. Note that the downstairs curtain fabric is the same as in the tiny estate house above. Katharina's collection.

 

An example of the same small model which has not been overpainted. Borbeck collection.

 

An example of this small flat-roof house has been seen with the number 746/3, and the trademark of Moritz Gottschalk Marienberg, stamped on the base.

 

Katharina also has a house which is identical to the one pictured in Im Puppenhaus, except for the fabric of the curtains and sun shades.

 

Larger model with garage, as in Im Puppenhaus. Above, exterior; below, interior. Katharina's collection.

 

Detail of the sunshade on the lower level. Katharina's collection.

Another example of this model. Above, exterior; below, interior. Collection of Anna Setz.

Another view of the interior showing more of the floor papers, parquet upstairs and lino tiles downstairs. Note that the upstairs curtain fabric is the same as in the upper room of Katharina's smaller, Traumwelten, model.  Anna Setz collection.

 

Collector Jörg Bohn has an example of the largest model, pictured in the 1960 ad, in his virtual dolls house museum. Note that the tiled papers in the kitchen are the same as in the kitchen roombox and the patios of the first two tiny estate houses shown above.

 

Model No. 709, ca 1960. Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

 

Model No. 709, ca 1960. Above, interior - all rooms here have net curtains. Below, detail of the small space under the stairs for the toilet. Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

 

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1960 - Roombox with rounded flower window

In a Karstadt toy catalogue of 1960, we see an innovation - a whole side wall of a roombox has become a window, with a flower bed at the base, and a rounded end. A small wooden trellis projecting inwards extends the greenery into the room:

2 room roombox with rounded flower window in Karstadt catalogue, 1960.

 

Katharina has an example of this model in her collection, so we can see the details in reality:

2 room roombox with rounded flower window, ca 1960, in Katharina's collection. 

The window in the back wall of the smaller room has the sliding pane we have seen above, the solid wooden door has the metal ring handle, and the floor papers are the same as in Anna Setz's flat roof house above.

Detail of the rounded flower window in the 2 room roombox, ca 1960. The slats beneath the flower window are wooden. Katharina's collection.

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From 1961 - new doors with diagonal handles

A bungalow with a "butterfly roof", in an ad in Das Spielzeug, 1961

A modern home in the country - a dream not many could realize. But for some girls, the dream came true - in the form of a dolls house. 

 

Terrace, pergola and fireplace were essential of course.

 

 

Not only was the roofline very modern, in the 1961 ad we see new doors, with large "glass" (really plastic) panes and long handles placed diagonally across the lower inner corner of each door.  These doors appear on many other models from this time on. In my butterfly roof bungalow, we see new non-opening windows, too. The 1961 ad still has an opening window - perhaps my house is a year or so later?

Model No 132K, Borbeck Collection

A Gottschalk dolls house from my friend's collection: friendly pastel colours, large red and white awning, windows with green blinds and richly filled flower boxes, a roof play ground. A welcoming front - but there is an extraordinary architectural detail on the side of the house... 

 

... a fully glazed side section - with plastic panes!

 

Das Spielzeug, 1960

This ad from 1960 of a chemical enterprise, that just wanted to promote their high quality plastics, shows a quite amazing dolls house with an identical glazed side. The illustrator was inspired by the architecture of his time, meaning that this Gottschalk house is a child of the 50s by its design - even though it was built in the sixties. In the sadly undated Gottschalk company photos, it has the model number 132K.  

The colourful interior. Borbeck collection.

 

This ad shows a small bungalow with slightly different doors - the wooden base of the door frame is deeper.  (It is again from an undated leaflet from a toy shop before Christmas, but the Crailsheimer livingroom chairs in front of it place it at the beginning of the 60s.) Although the doors are different, there are similarities like the door handles, the lintel over the door, the roof pattern, the window and the flowerbox, which are all unique and were never used by any other maker - and which convince me that this is also a Gottschalk bungalow:

Above, exterior of the early 1960s bungalow; below, interior.

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1961 - a favourite house

Ad in Das Spielzeug, 1961

One of my personal favourites is this Moritz Gottschalk house from the beginning of the 60s. It also appeared in the 'Dream Worlds of the 1950s' exhibition. I had the opportunity to see this house when I visited the Jacobsweiler Dolls House Museum, run by one of the collectors who put on the Dream Worlds exhibition.

The three large windows upstairs, and the full-length glass doors on the ground floor, have panes that slide open.   Jakobsweiler Dolls House Museum.

 

Above you see the corresponding page of the 1996 Traumwelten der 50er Jahre exhibition catalogue - the opportunity for you to see inside the house. Like many Gottschalk houses there were actually 3 sides to play with: front, back and the side room under the terrace.

I have also seen a small bungalow with the same large sliding 'glass' doors of the ground floor of this house on one side of the front, and the usual opening window on the other side. It had a shallow sloping roof, and was stamped on the base with the model no 742-??.

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ca 1962-1964: Plastic railings, open staircases

In the houses we have seen so far, the railings on the balconies and the parapets on the roof terraces were either thin, horizontal wooden rails, or made of solid wood decorated with panelling or narrow slots at the base. A 1965 catalogue (shown later) offers a roombox with a new type of diagonal railings.

The plastic railings of the houses in this section do not appear in dated ads, but perhaps they were used after the wooden railings or parapets, and before diagonal railings were introduced, thus around 1962-64.

This house of Jörg Bohn’s, with attached garden, is a lighter, more modern version of the small flat roof house we saw examples of above. Instead of a porch on the lower left, there is an enclosed sunroom with a floor to ceiling window. The solid pillar supporting the right corner of the balcony in the earlier house is here a thin metal pole. The doors have large plastic panes (though with the old ring handles). While the parapet on top of the house is solid, the balcony railing is the same transparent, corrugated plastic of the doors and the large picture window.   

One of the very rare 60s miniature gardens I know of - terraces there are plenty but gardens? This one has a pool, a tub of flowers, hedges along the front, and plenty of grass for relaxing on.

 

Model No 681, Anna Setz collection.

We show this small bungalow roombox here, because of its obvious similarities to the house just shown. From the company sample photos, we know that its model number is 681. The door is the older style, with ring handle. It probably dates from around 1961, when the corrugated plastic used for its large picture window appears to have been introduced, or 1962.

The rather plain house below also resembles the two-storey house with attached garden - but has its picture window on the upper floor! In the Gottschalk company sample photos, it is shown with the Model No 743.

Model No 743.  Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

The staircases of the two-storey houses with plastic railings have become lighter, too. They are no longer solid wood, but are either spiral stairs of plastic, or straight flights of open wooden stairs, with no risers.

 

A large house of similar design to the one in the 1960s ad - a garage on one side of the ground floor, and a large room on the other side, with roof terraces on two levels. Note the plastic railings across the front of the lower terrace, and the open stairs.

This house has sliding windows in all rooms. This is the interior of the large upper room (the centre and right windows as we see it from the front):

The sliding pane is missing from the window on the left, so it is permanently open! The window on the right still opens and closes:

 

Closed ...

 

 Partly open.

 

Model No 708. From ebay.de March 2011, with friendly permission of the seller.

Two versions of the mid-size flat roof house, now with plastic railings, open stairs and a curved, floor-to-ceiling plastic flower window. The model above has the number 708 in the Gottschalk company sample photos. It has a garage on the lower right, where the model below has a patio with another flowerbox. I have seen another version again, where the lower right room has solids walls, with two trellises attached to the front. That model was stamped with the number 708a on the base.

Gröner and Heller collection from Trödler und Sammler Journal 2004.

 

These two houses show the new plastic spiral staircase, leading from the verandah to the balcony above: 

 

Model 77?: two examples.

This model is a similar size and layout to the smallest flat roof house, but has a shallow roof with side gables. It appears in the Gottschalk company sample photos with the model number 77? (the final digit is cut off; it may perhaps be 7). The only difference in the sample photo is that the base of the large flower window has horizontal planking, while these three examples have vertical planking. Perhaps the sample photo showed a prototype, and this feature was changed for production?

On my house, the spiral stairs are missing. An Erna Meyer Grandma and Grandpa are sitting there on a bench instead.

Details of the entrance: a metal rail on one side of the steps, a colourful flower tub on the other. The double doors have large clear panes and diagonal handles.

The plastic railings across the balcony. The plastic railings have a metal ledge above. Sometimes the plastic is missing and only the ledge has survived. The balcony door has a ring handle. (This is the door I photographed to show the detail of the ring handle, in the first section above.)

Inside, there is more space, as the stairs were originally outside.

The living area, with grey lino tile paper, and a large non-opening window.

 

Upstairs, both the floor paper and wallpapers have abstract patterns.

 

Another example of the same model - here the spaces on the right for the missing stairs have been filled in with flower trellises. Katharina's collection.

The bungalow below is almost a single-storey version of this house. Like the two-storey house, it has a spiral staircase leading up from the patio on one side, double doors with large panes and diagonal handles in the centre, and a large flower window on the other side. Here also we see one of Gottschalk's rare gardens, this time with a round pool as well as grass and a hedge. In the Gottschalk company sample photos, a very similar model has the number 783. The positions of the staircase and flower window are reversed in the sample photo (which is thus more like the two-storey house), and a trellis encloses part of the patio.   

 

Bungalow similar to Model No 783. Above, the front with garden; below, inside one of the rooms. Note the colourful original flooring.  Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

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1963 on - Mosaic tiles

Colourful mosaic tiles were a feature of real houses in Germany from at least the late 1950s. Here we see them decorating the base of a real flower window in 1958:

 

Flower window with mosaic-tiled base in Das Haus (The Home), 1958

 

Mosaic tiles had been introduced to the mini world of Gottschalk dolls houses by 1963, as this ad for a butterfly roof bungalow in that year shows:

Das Spielzeug, 1963

Very similar to the first butterfly roof bungalow of 1961 (see above), but the brick base of the flower window has been replaced with mosaic tiles (and the flower window now projects beyond the walls of the house). I have seen an example of this house on ebay, with the number 264791 stamped on the base.

         1963 'butterfly roof' bungalow. Photo ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

 

Here we see the mosaic tile paper in colour in a 1964 catalogue showing a two-room roombox with flower window and roof terrace:

 

Model No. 891. Karstadt catalogue, 1964.

The roof terrace of this roombox shows a glimpse of a floor paper which makes its appearance at the same time as the mosaic tiles. It can be seen more clearly in this Gottschalk shop:

Borbeck collection.

The roombox shown in the 1964 Karstadt catalogue is one of the models in the Gottschalk company sample photos. It has the model number 891, and is pictured with models 890 and 892. Anna Setz has an example of model 890, which is also a double roombox with a flower window. It has no roof terrace, but does have a flower trellis forming part of the divider between the rooms:

Model 890, ca 1964. Anna Setz collection.

Model number 892 has a third room above the room on the right. A slightly later version of that model will be shown in the next section. This next roombox is very similar, although its model number is unknown. It may date from a few years later, as the curtain fabric looks exactly like those in the constructable roombox on the left of the 1967 ad below.

Borbeck collection.

 

New - roomboxes which can be put together and taken apart - handy, space-saving! Ad in Das Spielzeug, 1967.

 

Several small bungalows with the same mosaic tiles and angular blue, black, red and white floor paper probably also date from this time.

 

 

The entire front wall of these bungalows consists of sliding doors. In a new development, these sliding doors now have a mosaic tile base, and long metal handles (like the diagonal handles of the glass-paned doors) placed vertically at one or other end of the wide doors. 

Anna Setz collection.

Detail of the floor papers in Anna Setz's bungalow.

Jörg Bohn collection.

 

Borbeck collection.

An updated version was also available of a large, flat roof house with roof terraces on two levels. This house has many features of ca 1963-64: mosaic tiles, diagonal handles, plastic railings on the lower roof terrace and spiral stairs. 

 

Above, front; below, interior, and bottom, detail of the spiral stairs. From ebay.de, with friendly permission of the seller.

 

 

 

 Detail of mosaic paper with a beautiful flower tub on a house in Jörg Bohn's collection.

 

Note that Gottschalk was not the only dolls house manufacturer to use these tiled papers. We have an ad that identifies the maker of this unusually shaped house as VEB Grünhainichen:

 

1960 Grünhainichen Haus Constanza

This house has a Grünhainichen transfer label attached to it:

 

1965 Grünhainichen house

There are clear differences between the Gottschalk dolls houses and these by  Grünhainichen: the windows on the left of Haus Constanza, and on the upper right of the 1965 house, have a small pane which opens inwards, rather than sliding open as the Gottschalk windows do. Grünhainichen's diagonal door handles are longer and thinner, and have no coloured grip along their centre.

Houses with the VERO brand also use these papers, as this box for a 1966 model shows:

 

VERO bungalow, 1966. “Träume werden wahr” ('Dreams come true') exhibition, Esslingen am Neckar.

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1965-1966 - V-shaped railings

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Model 891 in the 1965 toy catalogue of the Swiss store Épis d'Or.

This roombox is clearly the same model as the one in the 1964 Karstadt catalogue shown in the section above. It even has the same curtains! But look closely, and you see that the balustrade of the roof terrace is different - here it has v-shaped railings made of metal. 

The house below is a version of the one identified in the Gottschalk company sample photos as Model No 892. The sample photo must date from a year or two before this house, as it has the same railings as Model 891 in the Karstadt catalogue. This example has the newer V-shaped railings:

                          Model 892, photo ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

 

In 1967, Gottschalk offered a similar design as a construction set - a convertible roombox which could be built up and taken apart for storage. It was deliberately sold without wallpaper, so that it could be completely scrubbed clean. (Das Spielzeug)

 

Below we see the new railings on a larger roombox, the most popular room box of the 60s by Moritz Gottschalk - with many variations though. Here we have a patio and spiral stairs to the roof terrace, in addition to the two "internal" rooms. (The Gottschalk company sample photos include an earlier version of this large roombox, with the model number 824. Like the sample photo of No 892, it is probably just a year earlier: instead of V-shaped balcony railings, it also has the same balcony wall as in the 1964 Karstadt photo of the smaller roombox, model 891.)

 

Note the blue, yellow and black mosaic tile paper, with blue trim around the flower window. The red, yellow and black mosaic tile paper also appears on houses and roomboxes with these new balcony railings - but perhaps the blue version was introduced at this time.

 

Two versions of this roombox in the Traumwelten catalogue, one with the red mosaic tiles and one with blue. 

 

A tower of roomboxes: 1963/64 on the top two levels, and 1965/66 on the bottom level. Gronau collection.

Another variation of the popular two-room roombox combines the roof terrace of Model 891, and the trellis between the rooms as in Model 890. Here are several examples: note that on two of them, the terrace balustrade is made of clear plastic with railings printed in blue. Other models have also been seen with this balustrading. Like the clear plastic railings, we are not certain when these appeared.

 

Roombox combining features of model 890 and 891. Above, with V-shaped railings; below, with blue plastic railings.  Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

 

 

Above, the same model with slightly different blue plastic railings and bright wallpaper, on ebay.de in June 2015, with friendly permission of the seller.  Below, a larger model with blue railings, collection of Inge Michno. Jakobsweiler Museum.

 

Das Spielzeug, 1966

It is rather seldom that you can document the producer and the year of an East German dolls house - but here we even have a photo of its first appearance at the Leipzig fair in 1966: You can see it on the bottom left of this photo. It is shown on the Demusa booth, the official export company of East Germany. Gottschalk - a still partly independently working firm - was not allowed to trade directly with foreign countries. Das Spielzeug noted "For the first time for years, East German firms with their Demusa export organisation" made an appearance at the Leipzig toy fair.  

 

Luckily, Das Spielzeug announced the new dolls house in another report, too, and gave the name of its maker, Gottschalk in Marienberg/Erzgebirge, and clearer photos:

Das Spielzeug, 1966

A new model of a two storey house, with a spiral staircase in the centre of the front, and the new V-shaped balcony railings. As well as window boxes and a plant in a pot, it has a small rockery.  We even know its model number, as Jörg Bohn has a boxed example, with its original label - the same style as on the boxes for the 1360 and 1370 roomboxes (shown below in the 'Wood grain and stone paper' section). The number for this house is 1380.

You see that my house is missing the flower bed on the left. It still looks very inviting with its pastel colours. Inside, the wall and floor papers are in pale greys and beiges: the curtains provide a bright spot in each room.

 

The dining room, with cheerful yellow "flower power" curtains.

 

 The kitchen, with curtain fabric we have seen before, in the 1967 ad for constructable roomboxes (previous section).

 

The bedroom, with curtains in a bright orange houndstooth pattern.

The living room, with blue and yellow floral curtains at each side, and net curtains covering the centre of the window.

Detail of the metal V-shaped balcony railings.

 Although there are no longer strips of wood on the sides of the plastic panes, windows with two overlapping panes do slide open. Others are non-opening, and have only one sheet of plastic across the whole width of the window.

 

A collector friend has the same model - hers is missing the staircase, but has the flower bed on the left.

 

WK Niederrhein collection.

 

The two houses above look just like the first houses we saw with spiral staircases and plastic railings - but they have V-shaped railings instead. If the V-shaped balcony railings were introduced in 1965, and the new two storey house was introduced in 1966, perhaps these represent an old model updated in 1965, and then replaced by the new model in 1966?

 

Another familiar model updated: a large, flat roof house, with roof terraces on two levels - now with V-shaped balcony railings.

 

Gröner and Heller collection, from Trödler und Sammler Journal 2004.

From ebay.de, with friendly permission of the seller.

 

Detail of the flower window and flower tub. From ebay.de, with friendly permission of the seller.

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1966-1969 - Chalet-style country houses

Neue Zeit, 1966

This new, Swiss-style dolls house was offered at the 1966 autumn fair, according to a report in the newspaper Neue Zeit. From the Gottschalk company sample photos, we know that this was model No. 814.

 

Model No 814. Katharina's collection.

In Katharina's collection, this chalet-style country home is perfectly decorated as a popular excursion destination in the mountains.

The interior, with colourful, familiar curtains.

 

Some guests are dressed for hiking, some are perhaps just enjoying the view ... Note the old style ring handle on the door, and the wooden staircase. 

 

A slightly different model appeared in a Demusa ad in 1969:

 

Demusa ad, Das Spielzeug, 1969

 

1969 version of the chalet-style country house, in the Traumwelten catalogue.

Although we can't be sure, it seems likely that the chalet-style house of 1966 was the first Gottschalk dolls house with a pitched roof and gable facing the front of the house since the estate houses of the 1950s.

An exhibition of Gottschalk dolls houses and roomboxes in Gottschalk's hometown of Marienberg, in December last year. At the front is a chalet-style country house of a slightly different model, with a door in the centre of the upper floor. Photo generously shared by and © Ulrike Knoll, collector and organiser of the exhibition.

 

The 1966 article showing the Swiss-style country house is useful to us in identifying and dating the dolls house. It also provides some information about the organisation of the company at that time. Gottschalk is described as ‘semi-state owned’, and, under the leadership of CDU members Ilse Ramm, general partner, and Werner Süss, managing director, was engaging in greater “socialist rationalisation”. With the aid of a rationalisation loan, the process of drying the wood had been reorganised. Instead of stacking the wood in the drying room, and then later unstacking it, in the old-fashioned way, the timber was now loaded directly onto sliding platforms or sleds immediately after cutting, and was driven into the drying room on the sleds, saving 1000 man hours per year. A multi-blade circular saw was also scheduled to be installed by the end of the year, leading to the saving of another 300 work hours.

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1968 / '69 - Wood grain and stone papers

VEDES catalogue, 1968

The country style apparent in the 1966 chalet house seems to have influenced the more modern styles, too. This ad from 1968 shows the introduction of stone paper and woodgrain paper on the exterior of a two storey house with side gables and a large picture window with balcony on the upper floor. The balcony has wooden railings, very like those of the 1950s estate houses, the shutters represent stained wooden planks with large iron hinges, and the front door is once again mostly wood, with a small 'glass' panel (actually plastic). 

 

VEDES catalogue, 1969 - the same house, different Bodo Hennig furniture

 

Jörg Bohn has an example of this model:

 Above, exterior, and below, interior, of the two storey 1968/69 Gottschalk house. Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

The following houses also make use of wood grain paper and/or stone paper, and probably date from these last years of semi-independent Gottschalk production too.

Two examples of the same house: above, Katharina's collection; below; in the exhibition  “Träume werden wahr” ('Dreams come true') in Esslingen am Neckar.

 

 

Interior of the house in the 'Dreams Come True' exhibition.

 

Several roomboxes of this period also make use of the stone and woodgrain papers. I have seen several with their original boxes or with a number stamped on the base, too, so we know some of the model numbers for this period.

Model No. 1370, ca 1968-1971. Photos ©  Jörg Bohn, www.puppenhausmuseum.de

Model 1360 is a three-room roombox, with a spiral staircase leading from the central room to a roof terrace. Like Model 1370, one end room has a floor to ceiling flower window, and the other end room has a smaller, opening window. A trellis placed diagonally, such as we have seen in other roomboxes above, forms part of the divider between the room with the flower window and the central room. 

The roombox below makes use of both the modern papers, woodgrain and stone, with the older mosaic tiles. Strangely, it is stamped underneath with the number 106K, the same model number used several years previously on a completely different model!

Above, exterior; below, interior; bottom, detail of front door. From ebay.de, with friendly permission of the seller.

 

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1972 - full nationalisation

This dolls house has many of the features of the ones we have just seen - but a boxed example carries not the name of Moritz Gottschalk, Marienberg, but instead 'VEB Holzspielwaren, Marienberg' (VEB Wooden Toys; VEB stands for Volkseigener Betrieb – 'nationally owned company'). While the Marienberg factory continued to make individual toy parts for some time, dolls house production did not continue for long.

VERO dolls house, early 1970s, at the exhibition "Ost trifft West im Kinderzimmer" ('East meets West in the Nursery').

 

Credits

Unless otherwise stated, all photos are © diepuppenstubensammlerin.

Thanks to Swantje Köhler, Inge Michno and Frau Bickel for permission to show photos from the catalogue of the exhibition  Traumwelten der 50er Jahre (Dream Worlds of the 1950s).

Thanks to the collectors Gröner and Heller for permission to use photos of their collection from Trödler und Sammler Journal 2004 (text by Hans-Jürgen Flamm, photos by Harald Czeczatka).

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