M. Edouard Raynal founded the Raynal company which specialized in the production of cloth dolls in 1922 in Paris. In 1930 he received a patent for cloth doll heads which allowed washing without deterioration. For many years s he produced stuffed cloth dolls with cloth or felt heads. These dolls closely resembled the Italian Lenci dolls, the internationally known doll maker of cloth dolls. In the 1935, the company moved to Montreuil and began to produce a new type of baby doll with a plastic composition head and composition limbs fixed on a cloth body.
From 1926 on, the dolls were sold in boxes marked with the company's name. In 1936 the company introduced a stuffed cloth baby with celluloid head and side glacing eyes as well as a painted face baby inspired by the felt models. After 1937 rhodoïd replaced celluloid and during this period, the bodies were made of this unbreakable and flame retardent material. In 1951 Raynal registered the 'magic skin' trademark, a type of synthetic rubber very similar to the skin used to produce bodies stuffed with kapok. A hard plastic rapidly replaced this skin, which deteriorated very quickly. The dolls had a soft plastic body and after 1957 a plastisol head. However the production of rhodoïd dolls continued untill 1963. In 1957, the Raynal Company became the Belinda Limited Liability Company. From 1960 to 1974 this company produced, in addition to the classical models, many PVC models, as well as mechanical dolls, electric dolls, fashion dolls, function dolls. In 1974 the company was sold to SPES then to Jamarex that went on producing Raynal marked dolls. In 1979 Jamarex entered the Miro-Mécano group and the Raynal trademark was no longer used. The Raynal dolls always wore very high quality clothes that were often decorated by a brooch, a bracelet or a medal with the brand name.
Raynal dolls were considered as luxury dolls and usually higher priced than those sold by the other doll makers. They were strong, well made, tastefully decorated and stylishly dressed. They have usually survived quite well and still remain fresh. The dolls have charmed several generations of little girls and in the 1940-1950s, any girl wished to own one.
The fame of the company was such that Raynal was chosen during the post war period until the 1960's, to be the official provider for the Christmas party organized for the children of staff of the Elysée Palace, the residence of the President of France.
What's your 'Raynal' worth? Here are some recently sold items (USA).
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