Not Quite A Rescue Doll
Part One: Finding Snoozie Thumbelina
One Saturday recently Naomi and I decided to have an afternoon in Ulverstone which is a town located between Devonport and Burnie. We had spotted an interesting looking antique shop on a previous visit so after a pub lunch we went to check it out. It turned out to be a good one with lots of nice china, kitchenalia and a small but interesting toy section. While we were browsing Naomi handed me a doll in a plastic bag to look at. I was quite attracted to her face and as she was not too expensive ($A15) I bought her.
I could see that she had a cloth body and vinyl limbs and she looked like a sixties doll. I wasn’t sure who she was but wondered if she was an Ideal doll as she seemed to have that sort of look. Sure enough when I liberated her from the bag there was the Ideal mark on the back of her neck; Ideal YTT 14-E 1965. When I googled her I discovered that she was Snoozie Thumbelina, one of the many variations of Thumbelina that Ideal released in the 1960s. These dolls came in several sizes, this one is the 14 inch version. Snoozie has a metal knob sticking out of her back and I learned that she was meant to wiggle and move her head.
The wheel thing on her back is missing and I haven’t tried to turn the metal bit yet and see if she still works.
Apart from that Snoozie Thumbelina is not in bad condition. She is only a little grubby and she actually has all her eyelashes although one eye sticks a bit. The main issue is that her body seems as if it has lost some stuffing making her rather an odd shape. I’m considering unpicking her back seam or taking her head off to restuff her a little bit. I’d be able to see what the mechanism looks like too.
Part Two: The Cleanup Begins
I found an article about how to remove Snoozie’s head but unlike the one described my doll has a plastic “donut” not a wooden one. I would have liked to remove the whole mechanism so that I could wash her body but in the end decided not to in case I could not get it back together again.
It was pretty easy to remove the head. All I had to do was undo the wire threaded round her neck and lever it off with a small flathead screwdriver. Now I can see the mechanism that makes her head turn. It’s a small box encased in material with a rod that goes into her head. When I had removed some stuffing I was able to turn the knob and her head started moving again. Her stuffing is mostly foam chips which don’t seem to be too perished. I could probably just top it up but it might be better to replace it all. I also found a plastic bulb which so far I haven’t identified the purpose of or if it was meant to be attached to anything. It has something inside, maybe a squeaker?
Here is a YouTube video I found of a Snoozie Thumbelina being fixed up. The hair on mine was not as bad as this although it has had a trim. I had not heard of oiling hair before. Has anyone tried it?
I have given Snoozie’s arms, legs and face a scrub with Fairy Platinum dishwashing liquid and washed her hair. I decided to try the baby oil treatment but have only done it once so far. Tomorrow I will restuff her.
Stay tuned for Part Three where Snoozie gets put back together again.