Phonograph Talking Dolls From 1887 to 1962
"From the First To The Best"
(3 of the most popular dolls)
Thomas Edison's "Dollphone"
Schilling Doll
Chatty Cathy Doll
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First Phonograph Talking Doll By Thomas Edison (patents below) PAGE #1
Click Here for Page #2
Attention: Everything you always wanted to know and more about Edison's talking doll is listed on these two pages.  I have managed to gather up 70 to 100 newspaper articles dating from 1877 to the 1890's most of them are from the Library of Congress and I have posted them on these two pages for everyone's enjoyment.  Plus this stuff is fact, it's not somebody just guessing at what happen over a 120 years ago on this doll.  Plus this is all new information you will not find on the web ... well it's not "new" it's old new information.   Also some of my comments are my interpretation of what I have read in these many articles about this doll.  Some of the articles are on this page but most of them are on page #2,.  I posted all of them! ... for all of you talking doll collectors and for the many Thomas Edison talking doll collectors and for the curious.   Wouldn't we all love to have this very rare doll now? ... Enjoy! ... 

"Dollphone Story" The year was 1888 a reported from the New York Press visiting Edison's laboratory in Orange NJ asked Edison;

"
How in the world did the idea strike you?" Mr. Edison was asked.
    "Well, it was this way" he replied, laughingly:  Last summer I had a couple of small phonographs made and put inside of two figures,  Then I proceeded to have fun with my friends.  Whenever they came in I would twist the crank and the figures would say in union: "Put a nickel in my mouth and I'll tell you who will be the next president."  One was a Harrison and one a Cleveland figure, but you couldn't find out which was which until you dropped the nickel in the mouth.  The nickel would set the phonograph in motion.  If it went into one, the man looking for information would be told that the next president would be Benjamin Harrison and if into the other then Grover Cleveland would be named.  It was all a matter of luck, but fate seemed to have leaned toward Harrison, for he got the most nickels.  It struck me one day that there would be money in making dolls say something more than 'papa' or 'mamma' as some of them do,  so I immediately went to work with the result you see.
(This article Click Here) Note: Look below to view what could have been the patent for these heads. Scroll down or Click Here.

Edison's Phonographic Doll "Talking Doll Toy" and as Edison himself called it a "Dollphone". The doll was made and manufactured in Orange N. J. in his plant alongside Edison's Phonograph. The company had over 500 people engaged in the manufacturing of the phonograph and the talking doll.  The works/company could produce up to 500 dolls a day according to Scientific American news article dated 1890 (below) and the plan was to make 50,000 dolls (news article below). 

This doll had many patents applied for by Thomas Edison.  The doll itself had three patents that are all different from one another but are also the same. (Pictures below)  The first one is a patent by William Jacques and is nothing more than a talking head and I am assuming here is the Talking Head Edison had made by Jacques to be used partly as a joke but turned into Edison's Dollphone as the idea evolved (not fact but the dates do match up).  The second patent is dated March 11th 1890 and the last one dated July 21st 1891.  The three patents are somewhat different from one another and I know from my research that the second one went into dolls because it is the second one I have found many pictures of but I have yet to see the last one in any doll pictures at all but I am sure it was made.  Also the patent numbers that are on the “Thomas Edison's Talking Doll Certificate” (below) and the patent numbers that were pasted on the dolls speaker (same), date all the way back to 1878, except those first patent dates are for his Phonograph because he used the same principle in this doll as he did in his phonograph, so he also used the same patent parts, just smaller.  Also if you read the snip-it below or beginning "story above" you will read that Thomas Edison came up with the idea of a talking doll phone in the summer of 1887 after he had ordered 2 talking heads made as a Joke/for fun with his friends. 

Dating the doll and its patents; The "completed" phonograph that went inside the doll wasn't applied for until July 2, 1889 and granted March 11, 1890.  But the doll was already in production by 1890.   If you read the 1890 Scientific American newspaper article below, it tells of how this doll was already being mass produced by 1890.  Also read below snip-its from the Nov 22, 1888 Evening Sun's news story about the Edison "Dollphones" and how it would be for sale by February 1889.  And another snip-it (below) states and is from the Nov 30, 1888 New York News says
“Mr. Edison is going to try to have a big supply of them ready so that the company which he has formed can have them on the market before the holidays”; “It is expected that they will be on the market by December 20”; The year was 1888.   According to my research the date the actual doll came out for the public in general to buy wasn't until October of 1889.  A few of the dolls were sold and shipped to Europe before that date and some also went to New York's rich and high society people.   

The body was made in Orange NJ.  The limbs were made of a molded hard wax or paper mache and the head was bisque or what was called just "China"  back then.  Today it would be called Glazed Porcelain China.  It is real hard to say what the very first dolls were made of because of all the different articles stating different things.  Mainly from what I mostly gather is the head was bisque and the limbs and the head were imported.  No where have I read the limbs were made of wood but I have never seen this doll up close and I am not an expert on wax, bisque, china or paper mache so I do not know.  Plus I have not found one single article that can tell me for sure as to what these dolls were made of except I am 100% sure the body was made of tin although the very first ones had a body made of sawdust.  On the other hand and according to the sales ads and from what I can gather, in 1890 when the finished doll was finely ready to be sold to whole sellers, she was advertised as a French jointed doll 22 inch tall with articulated limbs/limbs that would bend and said one of 12 nursery rhymes.  Her head was bisque, her limbs were molded wax\bisque and her body was tin.  She was of perfect form, meaning her head and limbs were sized to fit her body.  That she came blonde with blue or brown eyes or brunette with brown eyes.  Also there is confusion about the clothes or rather different stories about the clothes.  The doll did come with different hair colors and once more, confusion on the hair, because you could buy her with real or fake hair.  The dolls were advertised sold and shipped all over the world and you could actually order the doll to say whatever you wanted her to say at an additional cost.  Her cost was from $3 to $7 dollars.  She was also sold as a black doll and as a foreign speaking language doll.  The dolls were made, dressed and boxed for shipment.  The boxes were marks as per which doll and rhyme that particular doll said.  From what I have read the doll was all the rage back then, all of New York and all across the country articles were wrote about Edison's talking doll that would be coming out soon.  Children could not wait to see her and hear her talk, they wrote Santa Claus asking for this doll.  Edison let the children from Orange come to the factory one day in 1889 to see and hear the doll talk, every child wanted this doll.  Edison's plans were to make 50,000 dolls.  I do not know how many were actually made but many more than most people think.  I have also read Thomas Edison was a bit of an adventurous guy and had big dreams when it came to his inventions, at one point he tried making an electric doll but there is some confusion on that too (read articles on page #2).  The phonograph was his/"My Baby" as Edison would call it, so he did try to incorporate it into many different things.  Edison's Dollphone was the first of it's kind, others had tried other ways at making talking dolls but it was Edison's phonograph doll "Dollphone" that started it and has lasted for over 120 years.  The doll like all toys came out, faded away as the years went on but not the concept.  The phonograph/record player doll is still used in todays talking dolls and other toys. 

I would also like to say here that this dolls reputation as being one of Thomas Edison's Failures is just not true.  I have read so much on this doll I am going to try to add here my own interpretation as to why some might think that way, I don't, ...  I don't think she was a failure at all, but somewhat of a very popular doll for her time.  In fact this doll was still being shown at the World's Mechanical Toy Exposition in New York City in December of 1893.
(As per article page #2 Click Here) But the doll did have some problems which might be some of the reason you will read how she was a failure on some websites.  This doll had a lot of people working on it.  Edison had a lot of inventers, scientist and engineers working for him and together they did make a marketable talking doll.  The doll had a few problems that his people did try to work out.  One of the big problems was the cost of the doll although he tried to keep the dolls cost down the cost of making the tin body and the small phonographs could not of been cheap.  The articles say she cost between $3 to $7 dollars and as much as $10.  In the ad posted below it say $10, but that is more than what most of the newspaper articles say.  The articles say a cost of up to $7 dollars so my thinking is that extra cost was either for shipping or like the Chatty Cathy she was so popular that her price went up with supply and demand, this could be anyone's guess.  In one article that was written and posted on page #2, Edison talks about how he paid his workers 10 to 15 dollars a week back in 1888.  So 10 dollars would have made her a pricy doll.  But then again if given for Christmas its not much more than we spend on today’s big fancy play real drive cars and trucks and fancy doll houses and dolls, not to mention iPods and cell phones.  So yes, she was expensive but not as much as to be unattainable by the working class, the everyday middle income people of the time.  

Her talking speed seems to have been somewhat of a problem and according to the articles was worked on.  She talked too fast or too slow because the talking speed was controlled by the child turning the crank key.  At some point and according to newspaper articles the doll was made with clock works.  Clock Works meaning she could be wound up and by simply letting go of the crank she would talk.  There is a 1888 article that says;
(A reported was visiting the laboratory and while interviewing Edison; Mr. Edison picked up one of the dolls and wound her up by inserting a clock key in the small of her back and then handed the doll back to the reporter, he then pressed a spring and the doll began to talk.) and this is where I wonder if "Spring Steel" wasn't the first plan because why else would you "wind-up" the doll?; (spring steel is what is used to wind-up the old wind-up clocks, before electric clocks were made).  But that idea must have fallen through because there are a lot of articles that state the child had to turn the crank at a controlled speed in order for her to talk right.  On the dolls back there was a lever to be used to bring the needle back to the starting point and it also could be used to hold the phonograph in the wound up position until the child was ready to play her again, it was shaped like an upside down backwards "L" that could be hooked into the crank handle (and again) ... why would you need a lever hook to hold her in the wound up position if she didn't have spring steel inside her motor?  Later on another lever was added for adjustment.  The way the final doll was made, the child would have had to use the first lever every time she played the doll because it moved the needle back to the starting point.  If the child forgot to move the lever back the doll would not play because the needle was still at the end of the record.  Plus even after the needle was pulled back it did not always come back and hit the right grove and Edison did try to fix this problem by adding that second lever.  So there were two levers, one was to move the needle back and the other was to move the drum to wiggle the needle back into place.  The child would have to moved the lever slightly and that would move the whole drum back into position so the doll could be played again.  Plus the doll did have some speed control because it did have a governor attached to the belt and it could be adjusted by a screw on the outside of the casement, but I am sure that screw didn’t always hold the governor in place to be turned at the right speed and would have had to be adjusted regularly, and the belt would have had to be replaced because I am sure it stretched out of shape easy, no telling what it was made out of, but my bet is leather, just like the old foot pedle sewing machine had/have leather belts.  What I am saying here is, Edison's idea was to make a talking doll that you would just wind-up, let go of the handle and she would talk, but as it turned out it was either not practical or it cost too much to make her like that and the clock works spring steel was removed and what was left is what you see in the dolls that still can be found today.  Rare but a few are still out there.  Also the handle could be removed easily; my thinking on that is I am sure it got caught up on the dolls clothes so it was removable to untangle it and to dress and undress the doll easier.

Tidbit here;
Edison's doll had trouble with the needle pull back and it is the same; odd but true; this is also one of the problem the Schilling doll had as well as this same problem was in the very first Chatty Cathy dolls. (Dolls below).  Also I would like to state here I do not own one of these dolls so I am unsure about how the actual doll worked.  One article states it did have spring steel/clock works and you could wind her up, letting go and she would talk on her own and then there are a lot of other articles that state the child had to turn the crank in her back to make her talk.... So I am still a tinny bit confused about how she worked and if she ever did have an auto play.  I would also like to say here; this is what I do, meaning I repair talking phonograph/record player dolls so I do know how they work but not having this doll in hand so to speak, it is hard to be completely positive about how she worked, so this is my best educated guess. 

The Edison dolls record was made of a very hard wax and did not last long but you could buy more records along with the doll but that would have been even more cost and according to the news snip-its the children did get sick of hearing her say the same thing over and over again.  All of these factors would have played a part in the dolls demise.  But, a lot of these dolls were made, the article (below) says up to 500 a day and that corresponds with the 50,000 dolls Edison had planned on making. 
(Read news articles below and 75 to 100 articles on page #2 Click Here) Plus Edison's plans were to sell the doll all over the world and I am sure he did sell to other countries because in 1888 he was already making foreign speaking cylinder records for her.  A few of the first dolls were shipped to Europe and in  1889 Edison sent a doll to the Arch-Duchess Elizabeth, daughter of the late Arch-Duke Rudolph, Crown Prince of Austria and another snip-it says .... (A cable dispatch from Vienna says that Thomas A Edison has presented Princess Elizabeth, granddaughter of Emperor Francis Joseph, with a talking doll, the first ever made). That six talking dolls had just been sent to Europe as presents and one of these had been presented to the Princess (also read below what that doll was made of "Sawdust"!, artical is from the "Pittsburg Dispatch Jan 31, 1890" Click Here).  Plus if you read below one of the snip-it’s from the New York, New York Evening Sun Nov 22, 1888 Click Here it tells of how a reporter listened to a doll speaking/singing in German. 

Plus there has been questions about how this doll was marketed, there is a sales ad below that says this doll is now ready to be shipped whole sale, the earliest newspaper date I found for this sales ad was April of 1890.  According to the 1890 Scientific American article this doll was in mass production so it would of been marketed for at the very least, one or 2 years and I am pretty sure of those facts because it was still being shown at the New York toy fair in December of 1893.  Also if you didn't live in a big city, which most people didn't, you would of had to order things like talking dolls out of catalogs.  Plus almost everything was sold out of mail order catalogs back then.  Catalogs like Sears and Roebuck's 1888 mail order catalog, Montgomery Ward's mail order catalog in 1872 and other mail order catalogs of the time, so shipping cost would of been added to her sale price.  Yes, the doll was an expensive doll, but and from what I have read so was Edison's phonograph very expensive, remembering here that all new inventions are expensive, think about our first computers and as it turns out, today, Edison's "Dollphone" goes for, 4 to 5 thousand dollars and his phonograph only goes for 500 to a thousand, Who Knew?  Bottom line is, the doll didn't fail, she was discontinued, as was the Chatty Cathy doll discontinued after her first few years of popularity.  Edison's Dollphone was just the beginning of the future phonograph record player dolls to be made.  Six and maybe more phonograph dolls were made after the Dollphone through the years, including the Schilling doll and then the Chatty Cathy.  All made with small phonographs, “Record Players” is what we call them today.  The Dollphone didn’t fail, she was just the beginning!  Read the newspaper articles and you decide.

Note: All the Patents I have on this page, I picked up years ago on my own; they did not come from anyone's website. If you want a full copy of it you can find it at the United States Patent Office. I have full size"Certified" copy's for the Edison Talking Doll Patent's (Below) that is why you will see water marks on the Patent pictures.  I will be removing those water marks as soon as I find my copy...LOL...  Also the newspaper articles/snip-its below came from the Library of Congress, Chronicling America Historic American Newspapers.

Tidbit: For those of you who would like to search for this doll.  A lot of this doll stuff is mixed in with Edison's phonograph and there is a ton of information on his phonograph.  I'm just doing two pages on his doll, his phonograph would take many books and his biography has to be endless! 
Scroll Down!
September 11th 1888
Click here or on snip-it below to hear
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star"
New York News Dated September 11th  1888
I am sure this isn't Thomas Edison's Voice
but it is an Original recording from one of his Dollphones.


Click here to listen to "Twinkle, twinkle, little star"


Note: now they talk about the doll being a sawdust-stuffed doll?  So that means that the tin body was not made yet.
Los Angeles Dec 1889
Doll sent to Arch-Duchess Elizabeth, daughter of the Arch-Duke Rudolph, Crown Prince of Austria.
Also this snip-it was captured with news date showing.
Pittsburg Dispatch Jan 31, 1890
(Says "First Doll" but other articles say the doll was out and for sale to the general public by Oct/Nov/Dec 1889.
Note: Ater reading story to your left and the story below it's a must read to also read what happened to theses dolls 30 years later!  Story to your right.--->
Los Angeles April 24 1910

snip-it was captured with news date showing
April 24th 1910
New York April 17, 1890 "First Advertisement"
138 Fifth-ave...New-York
Omoha Daily Bee Jan 29th, 1890
This article tells it all:..The first allotment of dolls came out about the 15th of January 1890.  50,000 Dolls were to be made, many, many more than most people think. Note it also talks what she looked like, about foreign language dolls, how she would be sold everywhere and how much she would cost.
Sacramento CA January 26, 1890
(A snip-it talking about building 50,000 dolls)
Andreson Intelligent Jan 16, 1890
(50,000 Dolls Planned To Be Made)
St Paul MN Fed 1890
(A snip-it talking about building 50,000 dolls)
Same article different newspaper
42 East 14th St., Union Square, N. Y.
New York Sun Dec 10, 1888
This is the artical that has the reported asking Edison:
“How in the world did the idea strike you” Mr. Edison was asked....(Also on Page #2)
.
Read both atricles below, they are the same but are different in parts.
Wichita Daily Eagle Dec 23, 1888
(Same story but is different and is from another newspaper)
New York, New York Evening Sun Nov 22, 1888.
Note:
The article below right is not readable so I wrote it out so you may read the whole story.  The article to the left is the same story but is different and from a different newspaper.  It also is a partial story of the original one.
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888 
THE WOBDERFULL TOYS WHICH MR. EDISON IS MAKING FOR NICE LITTLE GIRLS

I cannot read the first part of this..

Children all over the world will before long have reason to blame the name of Thomas A Edison for the wizard has just perfected a toy and like of which was never dreamed of by them even on Christmas Eve.  In Mr. Edison's laboratory in Orange N. J. there are number of dolls which speak as naturally as any human being.  They are not like the old mechanical toys which by ones pressing their diaphragm squeak forth “Mamma” and “Papa” but they talk naturally and well, and repeat long sentences.
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888

They are called the Edison talking dolls. Although Mr. Edison coined a new name for them yesterday.  In speaking of them to the Evening Sun representative.  He called them "Dollphones"  The talking dolls have engaged the inventor's attention off and on for the last two years, but it is only within a few weeks that they have been perfected.  Now nothing remains but to manufacture them in large quantities and ship them to all civilized countries so that at the proper time children not only in America but also in Europe and even in far off Russia will be able to posses dollies that in there owners native language can talk to them.
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888

Mr. Edison kindly consented yesterday to explain to the reporter all about the dolls and give him an opportunity to examine them and to test their capabilities.  By February, however they will be on sale all over the world and at the exceedingly moderate price of from $3 to $7 each or not much more than the value of the doll alone without the speaking attachment.
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888

The main difficulty has been in inventing machinery to make the doll phonograph so exact in its working that the cylinders maybe interchangeable and new cylinder with new sentences/reflection be substituted for the old ones at any time.  So if a child should get tiered of hearing its doll repeating over and over again the same sentence for a trebling sum probably less than $1 we can supply a new cylinder with any sentence and in any voice that the purchaser may desire.  As soon an the dolls are put upon sale we’ll open places in New York city and in every principal city in the country where the dolls may be purchased and the buyer may order what he wants them to say.  Indeed he may if he wishes talk to the phonograph himself and with his expression.  It will be better however, for a man purchasing a talking doll to have him talking to the phonograph done for him by a girl.  "We have some of the dolls here with men's voices and they are not a glowing success"

There is a little humor here even back then...
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888

Here Mr. Edison wound up a sweet little creature as to illustration his last remark.  In a hoarse and husky deep tone a doll growled out these words; “Oh dear mamma your dollie is tired now put me in my little bed dear mamma”, The effect was more amusing and instructive  than natural.
“That doll said Mr. Edison”  has not as you might suppose a bad case of diphtheria, but the gentleman who talked to her phonograph most certainly had a cold.  Nevertheless he asserted with great vehemence when he heard the phonograph repeat the words, that it was not his voice at all.  "The truth is, that a man never knows just what he looks like until he sees his own photograph and he never knows just what his voice sounds like until a phonograph hurls it back at him".
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888
Another of the dolls informed the reported that jack and Jill meandered up a ////// ////////// for the purpose of procuring a /////////// drink and that while there Jack met with an accident and fell, and Jill sympathetically followed his example, she incidentally mentioned that Jack's skull was fractured, but did not say how badly Jill was injured. If at all.

Another doll baby who was so musically inclined sang in a sweet childish treble “Rock-a-by baby on the tree top” all the way through with good expression and without a false note.  She sang it quite loudly, too, so that any one could have heard her across the moderating room.  Still another sang a pretty little German song but as the reporter did not understand German he is unable to tell what the song was about.
Note: Edison is already making German cylinders/records to sell the doll at the very least in Germany.  So he was planning on selling the doll to the world and I bet he did.   By the way I had a chance to buy one of these dolls back years ago on ebay from another country but I passed it up because I thought it had to be just some piece of junk somebody was trying to dump, plus I wasn't sure it was an Edison doll.  Live and Learn!!!
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888

The mechanism of the clockwork to which they are attached for //// in the speaking dolls in too delicate and intricate for explanation here.
Attached to it is a governor like that on a steam engine, which prevents the doll from talking too fast and running the words into one another.  He loudly and distinctly do ///////////// that Mr. Edison informed the reporter he had. 
I do not understand and cannot read any of the rest of this paragraph...

But Mr. Edison has not confided just to making dolls.  The company will also manufacture dogs that bark and ask playfully for meat;  Cats that mew and call in unmistakable tones for milk; horse that neigh and express a wish to be fed more oats; cows that moo and boast of there milk-giving qualities; and roasters that crow as naturally as the real live article;  The prettiest and most amazing toy that has so far been made is a little woolly sheep that says:
Ba-a be-a black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes mercy/marry have I,
Three bags full,
One for my master,
One for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives in the lane.
Ba a-a a a al  
The “ba-a-ing” of the sheep would of made a hungry wolf frantic for mutton. 
NY Evening Sun Dated Nov 22nd 1888

None of these marvelous toys which are destined to revolutionizing the doll trade and to fill with delight countless thousands of children have yet gone out of the //// of the company. It is extremely unlikely that the public will have the opportunity to hear and purchase them  them before February and in the meantime it will be useless for the curious to try to get within sound of their voices as no one is permitted in the laboratory except those employed there.  
End Of Article.
.
Scientific American 1890
(Not on Page #2)
Scientific American Page 1
Scientific American Page 2
Scientific American Page 3
New York April 17, 1890 "First Advertisement"
138 Fifth-ave...New-York 42 East 14th St., Union Square, N. Y.
Smithsonian Institution 1890
Phonograph & Doll factory talked about in the Scientific American news paper article above and in the many article on page #2.  Also look at all the dolls that were being make, this one picture alone must have 500 dolls in it, on the tables and in the boxes on the shelves. 
Page #2 Click Here
I read on the Thomas Edison Papers site that some of the every first pictures Edison ever took were of this doll but it didn't say if these were taken by him.
.
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll Patents
"The First Talking Doll"

Note: I do have Certified Paper Copies of these Patents
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll
"The Edison Phonograph Toy M'F' & Co."


Note: The first patent dates back to 1878 but that date is for his Phonograph.  Edison used the same principle in this doll as he did in his phonograph.  Take a look (below) at the top 2 patent.  They are both listed in the certificate (right).
"Phonograph or Speaking Machines" Feb 19th 1878
"Phonograph Recorder and Reproducer" Feb 5th 1889
Also if you look at the first doll patent; patent by William Jacques who worked for Edison, "Combined Doll and Phonograph" dated May 22nd 1888, that same date is also listed on the certificate to your right.  It also states that other patents for this doll have been applied for, meaning for the July 5th 1889 (applied for) patent date, on the granted March 4th 1890 Phonograph for Dolls and Other toys patent below.  
By the way, notice how these patents are named.  The very last one is the only one that actually says "Phonograph Doll" granted July 21st 1891.  Applied for July 30th 1890, the doll was already in mass production by the time the last patent was even applied for. 
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll
"Doll Certificate" Plus Patents on her.
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll
"Phonograph or Speaking Machine"

This is the first patent on the "Doll Certificate" (above) Notice the Feb. 19, 1878 date.  This is just one of the many patents/parts that went into this doll.  But this was made for his Phonograph not for the doll.  The doll was an after thought.  Edison was not only making his Phonograph, he was also making a Speaking Telegraph, Speaking Telephone and other things all at the same time that used this same patent.  This man is so interesting to read about I could do a whole wed site just on his Patent inventions, I wonder how he found the time to sleep!  Read below part of this patents first page.  Very interesting.
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll
"Phonograph Recorder and Reproducer"

This is just one of the patent for this doll there were many just to get the doll made well enough to sell.  Notice the Feb. 5, 1889 date is also above on the "Edison's talking Doll"  Certificate under the "Patents" and yet the doll still was not fully patent until 1891, but was for sale by the end of 1889 and mass produced by 1890.
William Jacques
"Combined Doll and Phonograph"

This is the first patent for the doll phonograph.  It is also listed on the patent dates on the above doll certificate.  Applied for October 19th 1887  and granted May 22nd 1888
Take a good look at the picture above, there is no doubt in my mind it looks like a mans face.  This is why I think this patent was also the doll/figure Edison had made for a  joke to have fun with his friends.
Edison Notes 1888
From the
Thomas A Edison
Papers
Model Doll Phone
Who was William Jacques? First of all I am still researching this information. So it is subject to change as I find out more.

What I personally think is William W Jacques was contacted/contracted by Edison to make these talking dolls.  But I cannot find anything that says that in print.  Could it of been this doll that was patent by Jacques that Edison's talks about in his interview with the news reporter
(above in the first paragraph on this page Click Here)?

The news article states that it was Edison's idea to build a talking doll in the summer of 1887 after he had the 2 figures made as a joke/fun thing to play on his friends.  He doesn't say by whom he had it built, all is says is "I had a couple of small phonographs made and put inside of two figures." Is this the figure he talks about in this doll you see in this patent above? I think it does look like nothing more than a head, a mans head at that, if you look close it looks like a mans head..

Here is why I kind of think this is the same doll/head. Not only do all the dates match up but also Edison was already a very rich man by 1887.  He was the Wizard of invention. I also read that Edison in the summer of 1887 was renting a factory in Bloomfield New Jersey to build his phonograph and that he put up one million dollars to build his Phonograph and Toy company in the winter of 1987 after buying 14 acres in Orange NJ.  Plus he owned a winter home in Fort Myers Florida along with other properties, he was a VERY rich man by 1987.  So yes, he very well could of contracted out the building of a very small phonograph to have put in the talking head/figures he talks about (above), but, I do not know that as fact.  Also if you read “Edison's Notes” (above), notes on the Doll Phone, on line 12 you will read “Has Jacques resonator”.  Which in my mind is saying Edison was redesigning the doll, adding to it? Fixing problems? Making it better? Plus notice in his notes, how he talks about winding to a stop, controlling the speed, lifting up the needle to pull back and leaving the doll wound up until it was ready to played again. This is why I think that at the very least, the first dolls were made with clock works/spring steel and could be wound up, held by catch on the handle, then all you would do is trip to start by a spring trigger. 
(Read his notes above) Meaning you did not have to turn a handle to have her talk.  All you did was wind her up letting go if you didn't use the catch and she would talk. These articles, the patents and his notes all point to this being the way the very first dolls were made.  Plus this is the way the Chatty Cathy doll and the Schilling dolls were made, both using spring steel that is wound up letting go and the doll talks.  And I would bet this was Edison's idea from the very beginning except Edison for some reason didn't follow through and chances are it just cost too much to make the doll that way but I truly believe he did try and this is also why it took another year before the final doll came out.

Plus the fact is Edison was a rich, elite man, he had 500 people working for him by 1890, so he did have the money and the means to have a toy phonograph built to fit inside a doll or figure as he calls the heads in the article above.
"Assignor" as stated in the top snip-it of the Patent above: Is an individual who transfers a title, claim, property, interest, or right to another person. What I think this means is when Jacques went to patent this figure he did so under his name because he was the designer but was under contract to Thomas Edison to build the figure/doll.  Meaning he was working for Edison.  Not only that, but all the dates match up and notice how he calls the doll a "Figure" in his patent, same as Edison called it in the article above.  I truly believe it was Edison's idea to build this doll and Jacques was under contract to Edison to do so.
Update Sept 2012: There is so much information and dates on Edison for the years I am looking up it's unreal!  Different names and places associated with this doll, I don't know if it is even possible to work this all out.  I need to find more newspaper ads because I am afraid there is so much information that even the Edison foundation has some mixed up facts on this doll.  One being the doll was made in Maine and in the news paper articles this doll was most definitely made in Orange NJ in 1888 to at least June of 1890.  Maybe moved to Maine at a later date?  Below is just a few of the companies that are associated with this doll.  I am putting this here to show how next to impossible this stuff is to look up! I have managed to find just 1 snip-its for now, talking about Portland Maine as the toy company but the fact is this doll was built in Orange NJ in 1890. 

My Opinion:  When reading about Thomas Edison you should know that every Tom, Dick and Harry was in some kind of dispute with him over this or that patent, or contract, or company.  He was a rich man and had many patents so everybody wanted a piece of him so to speak.  He was the inventor of the day.  He worked with and side by side with other great men like "Alexandra Graham Bell" and "Henry Ford".  In comparison (if you could compare them) the closest men I can think of in today's time would be "Steve Jobs the inventor/creator of Apple Computers" or "Bill Gates inventor/creator of Windows".  All of these men were and are great men of their own time and very rich men.  As it being so, rich and powerful men get sued all the time.  So it was inevitable Thomas Edison would be accused of stealing ideas and sued over just about anything and everything he invented including his dollphone ("if" that even happened) "If" meaning... in all of these news paper article I found, I didn't find one single dispute over his dollphone just over other things he invented.  The facts are it was his phonograph/record player that everyone one else tried to steal from him!  Funny how people really are when it come to Money & Fame.  My point: Thomas Edison also invented the "Electric Chair"  see how funny it is that nobody seem to what to take claim to it!
Omaha Daily Bee Dec 11, 1887
Note: (below) This one is interesting because it is for toy phonographs but not the doll. Very confusing stuff...
Toy Phonograph Company
On January 7, 1878 Edison signed an agreement with Oliver D. Russell to license the use of his phonograph for toys. In April 1878 Russell formed a partnership with Charles B. Harris to exploit this license and their partnership became known informally as the Toy Phonograph Company. This partnership was dissolved in October 1878 and in November the license was transferred to Hilbourne Roosevelt.

Note: (below) This company is the one that says the dolls were made here but according to the news paper ads above they were made in Orange NJ not in Maine.
Edison Phonograph Toy Manufacturing Company
This company was incorporated in Maine in 1887 and maintained offices in Boston and New York. It sold phonograph dolls using Edison's phonograph patents. The business was closed in 1895.

Note: (below) This is the company that is in the news paper ads above and is the one that actually built the dolls but this statement doesn't say anything about the doll. 

Edison Phonograph Works
This company was incorporated in New Jersey on May 3, 1888. It controlled the manufacturing rights for Edison's phonograph. It operated a factory in West Orange, New Jersey, where it manufactured phonographs, cylinders, machines for the Bates Manufacturing Company, and electrical devices for the Edison Manufacturing Company. In 1914 its factory was destroyed by fire but was quickly rebuilt. In 1924 the company became part of Thomas A. Edison, INC.
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll
"Phonograph For Dolls Or Other Toys"

This is the final product and the plan was to use it in other toys.  Other than A little woolly sheep that is mentioned in one of the articles above I know of no other toy this phonograph was put in except Edison did have plans on putting them in toy dogs, cats, horses, cows and roasters according to the article above and on
Page #2 Click Here. 

Also take a good look at this patent it is defiantly different from the last patent below.  Compare the two and you will be able to see they differ a lot I think.
Thomas Edison's Talking Doll
"Phonograph Doll"

This is the final product inside the doll.  Applied for July 30th 1890.  It was for improvements made on the doll but the doll was already in mass production by the time this patent was even applied for.  The patent was granted on July 21, 1891.  The doll was first sold in 1889.  Read part of the patent (below).

Also take a good look at this patent it is defiantly different from the patent above.  This one is more compacted and the pulley system is at the top not at the bottom of the casement as is in the one above.  Now, I have to admit here I have not taken the time to read both of these patents again to find the difference and I will do that soon but for now the pictures are going to have to do.  Plus I do not think I have ever seen this one inside the doll, not in pictures or anywhere on the web.  But I might of, I just cannot remember seeing it anywhere not even in books.  There is so much stuff to look up it is hard to keep it all in my head and if i don't write it down  I will forget and do one of those oh yah I remember now things...... Anyway if it is out there I will find it.  Check Back! 
Click Here for Page #2  Thomas Edison Dollphone Newspaper Articals
Other Phonograph Talking Dolls (Below).
Turn Of The Century Doll by Talking Doll Works, No PAT #, Year is 1903
Ad (below) Looks Like A Thomas Edison Talking Doll
Sales ad (below) is from 1903/1904.  It is a turn of the century talking doll.  I have the original ad.  It talks about a free talking doll you can get if you can sell "twenty useful articles for ladies and gentlemen's wear for 10 cents each.  Then send the 2 dollars to "Talking Doll Works" 65 Talking Doll Building, Bridgewater Connecticut.  The ad also states that she talks, sleeps and cry's, like a real baby.  I think the ad is from a magazine called Good Literature.  So basically the doll cost 2 dollars back in 1903/ 1904.  Also that date comes from advertising of ACME WONDER COOK STOVES printed on the back of the ad and the date of the newest stove given is 1903.  Plus take a look at the Thomas Edison doll above, that doll and this doll look the same I think.  No Patent for this doll, at least I could not find one.  Note: the original ad is for sale email me at ddolly1@yahoo.com or click here...
Back Of Ad To Your Right..

Note: Ad above is not pictured to be read because I do plan on selling it and not giving it away free on the internet.  Sorry but when I sell it or if you buy it. (It's Framed)  You will be able to read the "Original Ad".  Also the ad looks more like the picture to your right than the one I have above.  Meaning Color and Text.

Picture of the framed ad is below sitting next to the Schilling Doll.
Above it what is on the back of the ad to your left.
ACME Stoves for sale and other things. 
.
Schilling Doll By Warner & Sons, PAT. #1,998,149, Year is 1935 (below)
.
Her
Voice
Click Here
The doll below is a Talking Schilling doll, Click Here for her page.  Stamped on the back of the mechanical talking unit is says .  Talking Unit MFD by Warner & Sons, 300 N Lake, Pasadena Calif.... PAT. 1998149 other PATS PEND.  I found her in a book that talks about her being sold in mass production in 1949 but according to her Patent Number her record player was patent in 1935 and applied for in 1933.  The difference in years from 1933 to 1949 is 16 years. 

Back in 1988 I bought 2 of these dolls.  I bought the first one and after I did and thinking her record player didn't work.  I bought a second one for parts but I could not get it to work either.  So I put the good doll away and trashed the second one (live and learn)...  Last week August of 2012, I took her out of her glass case to make this page and started to fool around with her record player again.  OH MY GOD... Got me ...heck maybe I didn't know what I was doing back in 88!   Because I managed to get both record players working.  No missing parts as I had thought... Anyway one of the records starts out with her crying mommy, I want my mommy, then happy voice saying mommy (I love you or I want you) and laughing.... On the other player she recites the Pledge of Allegiance.. So Cute.... She says.  "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all." ... I looked up  the Pledge of Allegiance  and found out....after 1954 it was changed by adding "under God" after the word nation, (according to Wikipedia), meaning this record had to be recorded between 1924 and 1954.  Before and after those dates the Pledge of Allegiance was different. 

Also since this doll never worked very good the records are still in pretty good shape.  I bet this doll stopped working after 2 or 3 winds of the spring steel and in order to get her to work again she would of had to be opened by an adult and the player reset.  So that has to be why these records are in such good shape.  I can't imagine opening up this record player all the time to get it to work right.  My dad would of done it maybe 6 to 10 times and after that would of said "Oops can't be fixed this time" so I would stop bugging him.  Plus some people didn't even read back then, so they might not of even known you had to open her up to fix the player.  Plus I am sure instructions to do so had to of come with the doll.  That is how fussy this record player is.  But it is a very good design, it's just that the needle pull back to the beginning was not well thought out..  so it always gets hung up because it jumps the record edge.  LOL I have had this same problem with a lot of the Mattel Chatty Cathy early talkers.  Mattel fixed it on their records by making the starting point farther back.  But it still didn't and doesn't work all the time.  In fact to tell the truth, this is one of the main problems in a lot of the Mattel early talker with the closed voice box.  This doll has that same problem and unfortunately it is not fixable, so the doll will have to be opened to get the record to work right.  By the way the Edison doll had this same problem.  A copy of the dolls Patent is also below... Note: Click below on the words "Her Voice" to hear her cry and talk, the recordings are both together in one video, not real good but she is a very old doll.  One of the very first talking doll record players invented in 1933...


Note: This doll is for sale but anyone that would buy her also needs to know a little something about how theses dolls work or you will never get her to talk right.  Also she has a stuffed body so she doesn't smell perfect.  I think she smells ok but can have a bit of a sour smell when you keep her closed up too long.   Email Me at ddolly1@yahoo.com or click here, she comes with 2 record players (interchangeable) that I will have pictures of soon along with compleat info about her and her body...  If you are interested in her let me know and I will get her description done ASAP.  She is a very cute little talker, take a listen to her voice by clicking the link below in red "Her Voice".
Click here for a full copy of this patent.
It is at the very bottom of her page.
Click here for a full copy of this patent.
It is at the very bottom of her page.
.
Chatty Cathy Doll By Mattel, PAT #3,017,187-1960, Year is 1962 (below)
.
The Chatty Cathy doll is what this wed site is all about. Click on pages to your left to read and see this wonderful doll.  Mattel INC, Box #300, HAWTHORNE CALIFORNIA... or Mattel INC, 5150 Rosecrans avenue Hawthorne California USA.  Also I think she just might be considered the "LAST" mechanical doll at the very least the "First and Last" Mechanical doll that really did work and is still working almost 55 years later and will go on working for another 100 years and more.  Copy of Patent Below Click Here For A Full Copy Of This Patent. Free!
Click here for a full copy of this patent.
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