T. Cohn Tin Dollhouse

Since I mentioned this last time, I’m finally remembering to get a post up about my tin dollhouse.  I bought this at the same time as the new shelves I got way back in October, as shown in my post about Odile.

So, here’s the back of the house.  There are some detail shots in the gallery, but this is the only full shot, from before I moved it to its current position on a computer desk (displacing the monitor of the 21 year old computer I haven’t used in more than ten years but can’t bring myself to get rid of) where the back can’t be seen anymore.  The lithos on the outside of the house are very nice, though, aren’t they?  The roof does have a bit of a warped spot, but it’s nothing serious.  And actually I could probably bend it back into shape if I was feeling ready to risk it.

According to this informational site I found, this dollhouse was made by a company called T. Cohn, and was released in 1948, the first of the company’s tin dollhouses.  All the windows and the door open, though as you can see one of the double windows on the first floor doesn’t like to close.  Actually, neither does the door.  😛  According to the site, it was sometimes sold with furniture, and sometimes sold empty.

I took a picture of the interior so I could go looking for furniture for it.

There are a few rust spots on the interior, but it’s not bad for something 71 years old!  I hadn’t cleaned it yet when I took this photo, so the roof is still very visibly covered with dust. 😦  Thankfully, it cleaned off beautifully with just a microfiber dust glove. 🙂

My initial plan was to put nothing but appropriate furniture in it:  nothing but 1950s plastic furniture.  And I also planned to get it locally, because I figured mailing fragile plastic furniture would be a good way to get broken furniture.  Well, that second one fell apart almost immediately, because I couldn’t really find any.  And when I was looking around online, I found myself drawn to a set of porcelain miniature furniture from Japan on RubyLane because it was identical to a set at work.  So I was like “well, they can just have nicer stuff in the living room, and plastic everywhere else.”  Only the seller also had a second set, slightly smaller, made in Occupied Japan, but in more or less identical shape, and I just couldn’t resist that, either.  So my initial furnishing of the house looked like this…

I should put some kind of “scene screen” behind the house so it’s not just blank white out those windows…

Anyway, let’s look at this room by room…

The kitchen is I think the only room that still remains 100% period.  I don’t want to have to check every single piece of furniture in the house, so I’m just gonna sum up by saying that the period stuff throughout the house is made by Plasco, Renwal and Marx.

That buffet in the front is way the wrong scale. 😛  At this point, the dining room was still period.

And nothing in the living room is right.  The porcelain furniture might be from the 1950s (that was when the seller dated it to, but the set we have at work was donated in the 1950s, which naturally suggests an earlier date), but the fireplace is Fisher-Price from the 1970s, and the bust of Nefertiti is something modern I couldn’t resist picking up at this nifty shop I stop in at sometimes on my way home from work to escape heavy traffic.

An actual mirror above the vanity. 🙂  I love the mottled plastic in so much of this furniture.  I believe that’s Renwal stuff.

The bathroom almost made it to being period, except that the sink is another FP from the ’70s.

You wanna talk about not period!  The porcelain furniture in this room is from Occupied Japan, so 1946-1949ish…so, actually, that’s more period than the stuff from the 1950s.  Uh, anyway, but I couldn’t resist giving the tin dollhouse a tin dollhouse of its own when I saw this candy container on RubyLane.  I can’t seem to access the listing (it’s been a while now), but I believe the seller dated it to the late 19th century.  So that’s way not period! 😀

Anyway, there have been some new additions since these pictures, mostly of adornment…

The various little decorative touches on the shelves and on the table are more of the fèves I showed you a few of quite some time ago.  As to the dolls…

The drummer is from Haiti.  I bought him at that huge antique mall I was talking about before, and he was labelled as being a souvenir doll.  However, I know Kimport sold dolls just like him…except for being 2-3 times bigger.  I don’t know if that makes this guy a Kimport doll (he’s not labelled as such) or a souvenir as the seller said.  Doubt it matters, really.  I just thought he was pretty nifty.  And I put him in the dollhouse just because he was roughly the right scale.  Standing at the edge of the dining room is probably not the best place for him, but…for the moment, that’s just where he is.  The girl doll is by Renwal, and I found her at my usual antique mall (which is practically across the street from my house), soon after seeing one just like her shown as a scale indicator in another listing on RubyLane.  She’s very cool…

She’s jointed at the knees as well as the hips, so when she sits she bends her knees. 🙂  This photo also shows you the fève of Gilgamesh, and the miniature painting by Windi Rosson of Winjimir Studio, who was running a Kickstarter selling these miniatures to raise money for some studio upgrades.  It’s a lovely little painting; I should have gotten more of them (though it’s somewhat unnecessary in a dollhouse that has paintings printed on its walls).

The living room gained three fèves, and that stone lion that really doesn’t technically live there only I just sort of put him there so he could go somewhere and then just haven’t moved him since.  (He came from the same shop as Nefertiti.)

The patio (whose door does not work, being printed on and not even printed on the other side of the wall) gained a little metal patio set from Michael’s, and a little bird bath or pool or whatever it’s supposed to be exactly.  (Technically, it’s a desktop zen garden, also from Kickstarter, but I had something in particular in mind when I filled it with blue sand.  Only now I’ve forgotten what that was.)

The bedroom got lots more fèves, two on the desk in the back (my favorite two, put there because there’s zero chance of them falling out and ending up on the floor) and the other two Greek ones, a Cycladic replica and a centaur.

Anyway, just today (or it’ll be yesterday by the time I’m done writing this) I added some more dolls, even though they’re slightly off-scale, because they just arrived and they’re very cool and I didn’t know quite where else to put them…

Storybook Liddle Kiddles from 1968!  😀  Sleeping Biddle ended up on the porch because I wasn’t sure where else to put her.

She doesn’t have her booklet (it’s probably the hardest thing to find for any Kiddle), but it doesn’t look like she’s supposed to have any other accessories other than that nifty fainting couch.

Cinderiddle (who unfortunately has a stain on one hand, the only really noticeable damage to any of these dolls) is hanging out in the living room.  Maybe the kitchen would have made more sense, but there is a fireplace, right? 😉

Liddle Biddle Peep doesn’t have her crook, but she has her book!  And also her sheep. 🙂  She’s hanging out in the nursery because it seemed the most logical place for her sheep.

And…the best for last…

Alice Wonderliddle with Mr. Rabbit!  He has, alas, lost his pocket watch, but…hey, he can ask someone else the time.  They’re in here because it was the room with the mirror. 🙂  Alice Wonderliddle has been something of a grail doll for me for years now, so I am really stoked to have found her. 😀

Anyway, there you have it, my tin dollhouse as it currently stands.  I’d like to add something to the kitchen and the bathroom, as they seem a bit plain, but I’m not quite sure what else would go in the bathroom without being too jarring.  (Towel racks and such would seem a bit too realistic for the overall style of the dollhouse, y’know?)  Maybe some more toys for the nursery, some more plants on the patio (although a large chunk of it is currently taken up by the attack of the 50 foot Skipper, as I had no other place to put a newly arrived vintage Skipper), other little stuff like that.

5 thoughts on “T. Cohn Tin Dollhouse

  1. Taswegian1957 September 11, 2019 / 1:23 am

    Very nice house. I like the graphics and furniture. I agree with you that the mottled pieces are Renwal, pretty sure my sister has similar pieces. I actually think it is fine to have a few years overlap, you would find that in a normal home after all. A few older bits that were bought secondhand or given and as time goes on more up to date furniture is added.


  2. Laurel Baldwin September 11, 2019 / 2:37 pm

    Sure do,I have a tin house that came w/ some furniture but all in very rough shape. Love seeing how you have managed. Mix and match and pull it out of the attic is so much more charming. Love the Liddle Kiddles and patio pool/patio set.Thanks for sharing and thanks Vanda for sharing again.


  3. Linda September 11, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    Your doll house looks very sweet. I have this house too and love it. I furnished with mostly wooden furniture by Strombecker, but used the 50-ish plastic kitchen stuff by Renwal. I wanted to keep as close to a 40’s style house as possible. Love the doll house and the opening door and windows. I think that made it unique.


  4. Olive Ramsay April 29, 2020 / 12:06 pm

    I grew up with this house, as my mother had one from her childhood. Sadly, my brother & I played with it – HARD – and none of it survives today. I get nostalgic whenever I see them in antique stores but never knew the history behind any of it.


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