PLEASE MOM! I want the paper dolls!

In the early 20th Century the J. & P. Coats company, now known as Coats and Clark, offered a series of 5 mechanical paper dolls through their dealers when you purchased Spool and Crochet Cotton. What made these advertising dolls so unique were the mechanical heads. The doll had two sides and the doll on each side had three different faces. At the neck a small eyelet held the paper in place that you would turn to reveal each face/expression. Another piece of paper was included that was of two dresses. The paper folded where the neck on each dress met allowing you to slip it over the dolls head. I believe the dolls also came with hats done in a similar manner, but I don't have it. Ultimately with just a couple pieces of paper a child had multiple toys. The doll also had a fold at the bottom allowing it to stand upright. 

I can imagine a lot of little girls happily playing with these for hours and then standing them on their dresser at night. And for those lucky to collect all five, giving them a total of 10 paper dolls, it must have looked wonderful to see them all lined up. I'm sure there were a lot of little girls begging their moms, "Please please buy some more thread!" so they could get the whole collection. They must have been as bad as me when in the 50s I was constantly begging for whatever new cereal came out with a toy inside the box.

If you're interested in learning more about advertising paper dolls check out the link to the book I've posted on the left: "America's Early Advertising Paper Dolls" by Lagretta Metzger Bajorek.

Click on the images to see them larger and at sizes suitable to print and play with.
 J. & P. brunette mechanical paper doll_tatteredandlostJ. & P. blond mechanical paper doll_tatteredandlostJ. & P. Coates_mechanical paper doll dresses_tatteredandlost


  1. Anonymous9/02/2016

    I've recently become interested in the Coats and Clark advertising dolls. Does the book you reference have a lot of their dolls depicted in it? Thank you!

    1. The book has 13 4-color pages that you might be interested in. My copy is the 1999 edition. I have no idea if it has been updated.