Saturday, December 4, 2010

Food for Thought: Other People's Questions

Mary Phillips Gonzales, BluFrogg Gardens posted the following questions and observations in an Izannah discussion online.  I asked her permission to post them here as food for thought.  She wrote:
Here's another thought for you: Izannah was born in 1817, right? It appears that she (they) were making the dolls by 1845. She would have been 28 or so. We all agree that it has taken each of us several to many years to replicate her doll, and we are probably still not doing it altogether authentically I won't go into detail here), so how long do you think it took her (them) and how many trial and error dolls would they have had to make?

I don't know about you all, but I have boxes full of "attempts."

I realize that children of that age were taught much needlecraft, but the making of the molds, the design of the body, the way the heads were sewn on the early dolls....the painting.......all before the age of 28?

Fast forward to Aunt Jane, Izannah's mother figure. When Aunt Jane Swazey died in 1872, Izannah immediately began the patenting process. Her patent picture depicts the entire process, hand press, molds, and all, and the written patent description describes the process, but then says, specifically, that the only thing she is requesting a letter patent for is the process of putting the cloth batting in between two layers of fabric, to allow the oil paint to be more flexible.

But if you only look at the drawing, you might think that Izannah is patenting the entire process...the hand press, the molds and so forth. But all of that  was already in common usage. Hawkins has a patent that also describes a press and molds, and that was 1868, and he wasn't patenting that either, just some other detail. You can't patent something in common useage, only that which is

And then, when Izannah wrote her will, she willed this patent to her half brother David, not her sister Jane.
Just some thoughts to mull over. I have some wild speculations, but nothing more than a working knowledge of dollmaking and a dabbling in psychology to support it.
There are some really interesting implications here...did Izannah start with a body pattern designed by someone else?  Was the press mold process a common one at the time?   See Edyth O'Neill's pressed linen doll which is similar to a Hawkins doll as an example.  So was Izannah only patenting the padding over the pressed linen?  Hmmmmmmmm.  Interesting theory. 

1 comment:

  1. Dixie, wow, very interesting points of view. The letters and information about Izannah is much appreciated. Thank you. P


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