Previously on this blog, I posted videos featuring various clockwork cuties by Zaiden Toy Works. The post included this March 8, 1922, advertisement by Zaiden featuring seven dolls, which it declared are only part of the company’s “Sixteen new mechanical numbers,” and I wondered how many more of the company's shimmying and shaking sirens are still out there after over 80 years, waiting to be discovered? These dancing dolls were inexpensive souvenirs of the summer boardwalks and fall carnivals, quickly discarded when their mechanisms jammed or their composition began to flake. Few survived, and even fewer in working condition. However, I have added yet another Zaiden maiden to my collection.
This 13.5-tall inch tall composition, wood, and metal mechanical doll wears her original nurse outfit. She is Zaiden's "Nurse Girl" who, according to the ad reproduces "a human like motion of rocking a baby. The mother of them all." She has a head and torso of good quality composition and a mohair wig. Her face is nicely and brightly painted. The lower arms are wood and the hands metal, but the upper arms are flexible wire. Her upper legs are wood and attached to a U-shaped metal bar that curves under her body from hip to hip and her black lace-up shoes are metal. She is wound by a key jutting out of an opening in her lower back and would rock the celluloid baby (a replacement) cradled in her hands. The mechanism is balky, but her clothes are fastened on with metal brads and I do not want to risk damaging her outfit to reach the mechanism to try to oil and clean it.