In the earlier times dolls were made from bisque and porcelain which were fragile and easily breakable. But with the invention of vinyl, it became instantly popular in the manufacturing of vinyl dolls and other toys as it solved the problem of fragility. Today vinyl doll making has evolved to the extent that if you looked at a doll image on the internet you'd think its a real baby. Vinyl dolls started in the 1950s and started replacing the hard plastic dolls which were harder to the touch than the vinyl ones which are softer and pliable.
Vinyl is a kind of plastic derived by adding the vinyl radical to various compounds to make it an easily reactive and polymerized material used as a base material for plastics. The invention of vinyl was kind of path breaking in the manufacture of a number of consumer products and toys including vinyl dolls. Vinyl dolls were first manufactured in the middle of the 1950s and were a great innovation of the hard plastic dolls. Though these dolls were also unbreakable, they were very hard and tended to split at the seams. Besides the hard plastic still necessitated the use of wigs
With the invention of vinyl all the manufacturers took to using vinyl for play toys and other consumer products. Companies such as Ideal mate, Effanbee, Madame Alexander and nearly all the doll manufacturing companies have popularized their toys and dolls by largely using vinyl. In fact even today vinyl has retained its position on the top for its use in the manufacture of toys and vinyl dolls.
Vinyl dolls do not chip or crack over time like the porcelain or composition dolls. Vinyl dolls have a distinct advantage over other hard plastic materials also as they are more durable and less prone to cracking and splitting.
Vinyl was a great boon to the doll manufacturing industry owing to its innate properties of durability and aesthetics. Vinyl dolls are soft, unbreakable and pleasing to the touch. The greatest advantage of vinyl dolls is that they could have rigged in them unlike the porcelain dolls which had to be fitted with wigs. The hair on the vinyl dolls was like natural and children greatly enjoyed playing and brushing the doll’s sturdy hair.
Vinyl dolls can be manufactured in a wide range of sizes. The dolls have joints at the neck, hips, shoulders and legs. Most have hair rigged into them which increases its overall appeal. With this rooting of hair feature, came more marketable options such as dressing up the dolls in different hair styles, kids can cut the hair which girls love to play with. The dolls are made from soft vinyls which are pleasing to touch. Recently hard vinyl is gaining popularity in the manufacturing of collector dolls.
Hard vinyl may seem like hard plastic but without having any of the drawbacks seen in hard plastic dolls. Madame Alexander dolls, Tonner dolls and Silkstone Barbie dolls have successfully manufactured dolls using hard vinyl.
Regarding the long term durability and stability of vinyl dolls, the picture is not very clear as the early produced vinyl dolls have discolored over a period of time. As such the market prices for a secondary vinyl doll may not be comparable to the long lasting bisque dolls. But vinly dolls have come a long way from when they started and pretty soon with more innovations in the plastic industry, could have better colors and features than the older ones.