Composition vent dolls Charlie McCarthy

I see many times that folks will show a doll ( Early Charlie McCarthy or Dummy Dan figures ) and say they are a wood composition when in fact these vent dolls were made of a product called composition. What is composition you ask. Well here is some information for you on this product.

Composition is generally a mixture of glue mixed with sawdust. Heavier and denser than paper mache, composition is easily molded and is thus an excellent material to make doll heads.

Composition was used to make doll bodies for many years, from approximately the late 1870s, long before it was widely used to make doll heads. Since the material a doll head is made from determines the type of doll, only dolls with heads made of composition are referred to as composition dolls.

Dates of Production of Composition Dolls:

Composition dolls were made from approximately 1909 through the early 1950s. The height of the market for composition dolls was the 1920s through the 1940s. Today, only the rare reproduction or art doll is made of composition.


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Ventriloquist Central is the brainchild of Dan Willinger and Steve Hurst. Dan is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. He created the Ventriloquist Central Collection. It now has over 100 ventriloquist figures and over 50 of them are Frank Marshall figures. Steve is a ventriloquist as well as builder of ventriloquist figures. He also has a background in sales, marketing, building websites and computers. Because they both love the art of ventriloquism, the website Ventriloquist Central was born. For more information about the website, go to:

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One Response to Composition vent dolls Charlie McCarthy

  1. Jeff Smith says:

    What materials would be used to make a ventriloquist head in the 1950’s besides composition? And, if it has mold/mildew spots, what solution would be used to clean it? Should the clothing be washed or dry cleaned? ( wools, cottons)? The dummy was last used with frequency in the early 1960’s.
    Jeff Smith

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