Bild-Lilli, Barbie's predecessor
Barbie" is a registered trademark of Mattel, Inc.; "Fashion Royalty" and "Candi" are registered trademarks of Integrity Toys, Inc.
Marcdolls are not affiliated in any way with the manufacturers of these dolls, or any other doll manufacturer.

The photos and text of the entire contents of this web site are copyright of Marcdolls, 2000-2013, in Watt / Switzerland, and may not be used without special written permission.
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Index:

Barbie's Introduction

Barbie's early history

Barbie's biography

Barbie the doll

Barbie's Manufacturers Markings

Barbie's controversies

Barbie's friends and relatives

Ethnic Barbie's

Barbie's fashion

Barbie through the ages, 1959 - 2009

Barbie luxury doll to massproduction

Barbie as collectors object

Silkstone Barbie doll

How to care Barbie's head?

How to care Barbie's body?

How to care Barbie's clothes?

Barbie versus Bratz

Dolls of the My Scene-line

The five different collector types

Glossary of Abbreviations

Miscellaneous


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

In the early fifties the German Cartoonist Reinhard Beuthien was asked to fill
an illustration gap in the newspaper “Bild-Zeitung.
In their first edition on June 24th 1952 Lilli was born for this purpose,
she was a young, pretty and flippant girl that could turn the heads of her admirers,
typical for the post war era in the “German economic-wonderland”.
These comics appeared until January 5th 1961 and always had a somewhat piquant for these days
of the upcoming consumer boom and it contributed much to the initial success of the newspaper.

..Lilli became so well known and famous that the editors of Bild decided in 1953 to order an advertisement doll of the same physical outlines for the promotion of the newspaper. Max Weissbrodt a model designer specialist for the toy company: Hausser/Elastolin in Coburg,
created this promotional doll from the basic drawings of Reinhard Beuthien.
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This doll has been produced by the Hausser company from 1955 until 1964, a total of 130000 dolls were manufactured.
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She was sold in both sizes: 30cm (11 1/2in) and 19cm (7 1/2in) tall.
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The original Lilli had black molded-on shoes and earrings.
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- She came packed in a tubular clear-plastic cylinder with a
matching plastic cover and the stand base plate served as floor cover.
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As an addition each Lilli came with a neat miniature edition of a Bild-Zeitung.
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Lilli had been sold with dozens of different fashions. Early fashions are noted for their particular seductive design. Originally this doll had been produced as an advertisement gag for adults. But only one Year later the manufacturers realized that a totally different target-group became interested in this doll. But Lilli earned her biggest success as a playdoll. Therefore the selection was altered and the clothing supply-selection, enlarged. Each fashion was offered for sale seperately. There are known to exist over 80 different Lilli fashions, she came as: Tennis player, dancer, ice-skater, flight attendant, nurse, Hula-girl, Hungarian, finally with different Dirndl-dresses, with jeans, in fur - coats and in elegant evening gowns.
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The collector recognizes the originals dresses by their snap fasteners. These are - unlike the ones of Barbie; who are sewn from the inside to the dresses - crimped from the in - and outside of the fabric. Thus from the outside there is always a round metal button with a hole in it center visible, and depending the fashions color it is painted in that same color. Whereas the inside part of the snap fastener is marked with the name:
PRYM. - the family business company with this same name ist he one of the oldest in Germany:
founded 1530 and today a world marketing leader for such snap fastener systems.
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Bild-Lilli was made by the Hausser company; which is known to collectors by its „Elastolin-figures" hence the trade mark: Hausser-Elastolin, and manufactured from polistyrene hard plastic. The individual limbs of the doll were jointed to the body with rubber bands.
The head was held in place on a slant joint from chin to neck by an eybolt below the rubber. The hair was attached by a hemispheric top, screwed onto the skull.  Typical hairstyle was the ponytail and a curls onto cheek and the forehead. The face was painted, the eyebrows were molded and earrings were provided. The doll was assembled and dressed by the company 3M in Mönchröden.
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On the back was a molded on marking, reading „Elastolin-Hausser“.
The doll has small holes in the feet or the shoes. Thus it can be fitted into the pin that protrudes from the stand base plate.
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Lilli’s stand had been constructed in the same manner as the earliest Barbie stands that had obviously been copied from this one. The 30cm. dolls were sold in Germany for approx. 12.00 DM and the 19cm. dolls for 7.50 DM. It had been exported to almost all western countries with the inscription Lilli, whereas only for the German market her name was specified to: Bild-Lilli. In Germany she was so popular that in 1957 a movie had been realized with the title: "Lilli – ein Mädchen aus der Grosstadt" with a cast of popular local actors. The dolls huge popularity also brought up imitators that manufactured copies already in the fifties, but these dolls were rarely marked – only some have the print Hongkong on their backs.
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The best known copy though became world famous under her later name: Barbie.

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Babs: "Hong Kong Lilli"
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In the late1950's the Marx Toy Company of Hong-Kong licenced the Bild-Lilli design to produce a similar 11.5 inch doll that also had a range of separate outfits, This doll was produced from the 50's into the 1960's.and is quite similar to Bild-Lilli, but of cheaper plastic. This Marx doll is popularly referred to as "Hong Kong Lilly" or "Hong Kong Lilli". The construction is very similar to Bild-Lilli. Later,Fab-Lu Ltd., (Luften Ltd.-also known as Farber-Luft, Ltd) marketed a plastic fashion doll called Babs, based on Bild-Lilli, she was sold with a range of outfits and had a boyfriend and a younger sister, she made an inexpensive alternative to Barbie in the 60's. Babs mold and wig construction are similar to Bild-Lilli, making her more of a Bild Lilli clone, rather than a Barbie clone If you search for Bild-Lilli on eBay you may find some of the Hong Kong Lilly's or Babs dolls, listed as "Bild Lilli", these "Bild-Lilli type" dolls typically sell for under $200 dollars. An original Bild-Lilli in good condition is rare and rivals the No 1 Barbie in price range, so instead of splashing out on an original, some avid Bild-Lilli fans are known to repaint the cheaper Hong-Kong Lilli doll, (or even Barbie dolls), to resemble an original Bild-Lilli. However, an original Marx Lilli doll, or Babs, is highly collectible in her own right and her place in doll history is recognised by collectors of fashion dolls.
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Schwabinchen
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Is is almost unknown that Barbie had more successors, Barbie’s sister,so to speak. Reinhard Beuthin, Lillis mental father worked in Munich during the sixties for the local evening news. There he published another cartoon called: "Schwabinchen" and the 3M-doll factory created a new doll.
Schwabinchen is of smaller size and manufactured with only little quality compared to her foreunner, she also lacks its flair and charisma.
For the collector only her clothing is of interest. Often some surplus Lilli-clothes were used, which had to be shortened fort his purpose.
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The famous cartoon artist-drawer Reinhard Beuthin, who created the character, Bild-Lilli for the newspaper: Bild-Zeitung, would leave his Editors in 1961 and travels to Munich. There he worked for another paper and almost immediately creates a new character: "SCHWABINCHEN", she was a pretty girl appearing in a time when the suburb of Schwabing in Munich became popular for artists and entertainment.
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In contrast to Lilli, the character SCHWABINCHEN was a brunette but she shared that cheeky, sexy appearance with Lilli.
The public liked these cartoon adventures  of this new character immediately. This success encouraged the 3M doll manufacturer to create a doll after her. The 3M company, whose initials mean: „Martha Maar in Moenchroeden" had worked jointly with the manufacturerer „ Hausser“ for the production of  Lilli, and mainly produced their clothing- Martha Maar, had been the responsible creator for this new doll and therefore was allowed to copiy the drawings of  Reinhard Beuthin.
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When the 3M-company decided to produce the SCHWABINCHEN – doll, they did not get the permission to use the Lilli doll molds therefore she asked a talented, but unknown model craft designer for help. SCHWABINCHEN was entirely different compared to Lilli, she was less pretty and her body did not have the same proportions; her arms and also the head seemed rather mispropotioned.
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SCHWABINCHEN stands 26 cm tall, hollow plastic was used for her legs, solid hard plastic for the body and her arms, while the head was made from soft vinyl. Her feet were bent and with the size and the attachment of her legs it allowed the doll to achieve a perfect sitting position. Her hands are very fine with individual fingers. On her back she has a marking of the 3M-company. The makeup is painted sufficiently distinct and the eyes show an almond shape. The rooted hair is anchored from inside the head and she is sold as a brunette, blonde or a redhead with an either short or long hairstyle. Although a mistake often apprears due to the cut open scalp for the anchoring of the hairstyle it becomes visible despite the hairdo and many have left the production unnoticed by the manufacturer and the dealers with this defect.
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She had a vast wardrobe which were made to measure. Because the company also made the clothing for Lilli the designers could use the unsold Lilli clothes after resizing them. This explains why many of her dresses are directly inspired by by Lilli’s wardrobe, and today it is therefore rather difficult to see the difference between one or the other, only the length allows to find this out. Her shoes are made from plastic decorated with a flower on top and if you take a close look at this flower you may discover that it ist he same flower that had been used for Lilli’s earrings.
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SCHWABINCHEN has been sold in a round clear-plastic tube but smaller that the one used for Lilli and on the outside the following had beedn printed in gold letters: "SCHWABINCHEN EINE 3M PUPPE". Her very special stand could not be used for any other doll.
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This doll had been sold as a curiosity  in Sweden with the name: Betty. Produced only between 1962 and 1964, and in much smaller quantities compared to Bild-Lilli, it is hard to find today, and for this reason it became very much sought after by collectors.
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Later the manufacturing license had been sold to a Dutch company in Holland with the name; «T POPPENRIJK» and they were using the same molds to create a doll which they sold with the name: «WILLY WILDEBRAS». This one had no more markings on her back but was otherwise identical to SCHWABINCHEN, except that the plastic material was of a different quality. Even new dresses had been realized for this doll, but without a brand name and this makes a specific identification very difficult, this doll had been sold until 1975.

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