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Around 1890, manufacturers were seeking a doll that children couldn’t damage and at price bellow the standard bisque. France has the first patent recorded by René Poulin in 1861 for making dolls heads and limbs of metal.
Josef Schon of Germany took out the patent in 1887 for a metal head doll.
These dolls were made of wide variety of metals, including silver, aluminium, tin and brass, and they were marketed as being indestructible. This was a great improvement over the breakable porcelain dolls that were so popular. They would not disintegrate when they were exposed to moisture like popular composition doll of that time.
The main drawback was that the metal would more readily absorb the surrounding temperature leaving the doll too hot to handle or too cold to snuggle. Metal head dolls can be found with bodies made of cloth, leather, or metal.
Often metal heads, like the popular china doll heads of that time, were sold separately.
The limbs on these dolls were often made of china, cloth or composition, rarely metal. The majority of the metal head dolls have moulded hair and painted eyes.
The more elaborate dolls had wigs of mohair or human hair and glass eyes. Some had tin eyes that opened and closed. The chief manufacturing centre of metal heads was Germany. The heads were stamped out of sheet metal and the two halves were welded together.

Buschow & Beck - Minerva dolls 1888 - 1930  Germany
Metalna_Minerva_lutka_1985-taMinerva_Nemacka_kompozitna_lutkaThe most familiar name relating to metal dolls is Minerva.
The Minerva, almost synonymous with metal heads, was registered in Germany about 1894 by Buschow and Beck. The trade name Minerva over a  helmet symbol was stamped on the doll shoulder.
Many Co. including Borgfeldt and Louis Wolf & Co. distributed Minerva dolls. Sears, Roebuck & Co, the famous mail order house, offered in the early 1900’s an extensive toy line which included both complete dolls and dolls shoulder heads, ready to be sewn onto handmade body.
Their 1902 catalogue advertised Minerva doll made of painted sheet metal.
The heads were stamped out of sheet metal and two halves were welded together. The majority of these dolls have moulded hair and painted eyes. The heads were described as indestructible, as well was more durable than the popular china.
These dolls had been available as much as 15 years before the catalogue. They were more affordable than the bisque dolls. Minerva dolls were manufactured from 1894 through 1925.