Let’s start with a short history of bobbleheads. 1966: Gold base baseball bobbleheads were issued. These were of inferior quality and would suffer from chips, cracks, and paint flaking. One specific player was made – Willie Mays. 1970: There was a lull in bobblehead collecting as collectors shifted to lunchboxes, action figures and video games. 1990: New manufacturing processes allowed bobbleheads to be made from plastic instead of ceramic, dramatically reducing the expense and difficulty of creating quality bobbleheads.
How are bobbleheads made? There are all types of bobble heads and they’re made from several types of materials. Generally, the most common bobble heads are made from resin and plastic. There are also ceramic and wooden bobble heads, but they are in the minority of the products currently produced. The resin bobble head dolls are solid and generally allow for greater details and finer contouring of the body. Plastic bobble heads are cast from a mold, but not all plastic bobbing heads are the same. Some styles rely purely on the mold as the entire product with the appropriate paint colors added. Our most popular bobble heads use a plastic inner shell that are not solid and are covered with felt cloth. The felt adds a layer of detail, a layer of feeling, and an additional layer of strength to the bobble head. With our bobble head animals, you’ll find that the eyes are made of plastic and some vary from completely solid colors to an eye complete with color and pupil.
Bobble head dolls were first believed to be referenced in 1842 in the short story “The Overcoat” by writer Nikolai Gogol. The story is also known as “The Cloak” and has been adapted to film and stage. Present day bobble heads originate in Germany. Ancient Japan and China had string dolls, which were the precursor to the German style of bobble head that is prevalent today. The German bobble head dolls were made of ceramic and began production in the late 1700’s, early 1800’s. The term nodder originates with these early German dolls. In the 20th century, commercialized bobble head dolls were made of paper mache and then switched to the more durable ceramic. In the United Kingdom, it’s very common for bobble head dolls do be referred to as nodding dolls.
In 1960, Major League Baseball decided to give away a series of papier-mache bobblehead dolls for each team with the same cherubic face and imported from Japan. That same year World Series was held and first bobblehead dollswere made specifically for players but they still had the same faces. The players that had bobbleheads made for them were Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Willie Mays. Beside of players, teams made and gave away as souvenirs bobblehead dolls in the shape of their team mascots. When material of making bobblehead dolls was changed from papier-mache to ceramic they were made in likeness of players of other sports too and of cartoon characters. The Beatles bobblehead set, which was made in the next decade is still a very valuable collectable. In time production and interest for bobblehead dolls again waned and by 1970s it almost disappeared completely.
Alexander Malcolm would become one of the largest bobblehead sellers and a key figure in the history of bobbleheads, producing 48-49 million of these sentimental nodding heads. But he did not know it at the time when he sat down at a business meeting with the San Franciscio Giants during the 1990s. He was just hoping to sell some sort of promotional item for them. When Malcolm asked what they were looking for, The San Francisco Giants replied, “bobbleheads”. Malcolm agreed to provide thousands of Willie Mays bobbleheads to the professional baseball organization to be passed out to their fans for free. Malcolm went to work, but did not know he could get away with using the traditional cartoonish boy bobblehead. Instead, he made a much more real version of Mays (although Mays would disagree). So, on May 9, 1999, to celebrate the anniversary of Candlestick Park, the last year the Giants would play at this stadium by the bay, 20,000 visitors each received the Willie Mays bobblehead. It was a success! The crowd loved the semi-life-like yet cartoonish novelty item. That one game made way for the bobblehead era revival. The next year, eight Major League Baseball teams had bobblehead giveaways. And Malcolm’s small business in the 1990s flourished into the global enterprise it is today.
Established in the year 2008, we, “YIZHUO Arts & Crafts Co., Ltd” is a well know handmade bobblehead factory specialized in manufacturing and exporting personalized bobbleheads. The products offered by us in manufacture under the qualified sculptors using high quality material and with exquisite workmanship. Our artists understand how important it is to capture one’s little cuteness in unique and creative ways. See more details at custom bobbleheads online shop.
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