The history of dollhouses is one that has led to the delight of children as well as adults. It is believed that the origin of the dollhouse can be dated back over 400 years, although true documentation did not begin until much later in the 1800’s. Regardless of when the dollhouse was first introduced, the history is rich with the stories of the children and adults who have been swept away by the magic of the dollhouse.
1) It is believed that dollhouses originated as early as the 1500’s. At this time, it was only the children of wealthy aristocrats who were given such a spectacular toy. These dollhouses were not often designed based on the mansions and castles of the aristocrat’s homes, but were certainly more ornate than the houses of commoners. At this time they were used to provide the children with entertainment and nothing more.
2) It wasn’t until the 1800’s in Germany that dollhouses began to be manufactured on a large scale. While the houses and furnishings were still handmade, they became more elaborate thanks to newer and more intricate tools that were available. These dollhouses were made for the masses, so that not just children of the wealthy could own them. While they were still out of reach of those children with little money, families with some means were able to give their children a beautiful dollhouse.
3) Throughout the years, dollhouses have silently taught children about family life and growing into adulthood. They have also provided a creative outlet for the imaginations of generations of children. Dollhouses are often passed down from generation to generation. This allows for families to spend time together and even play together. It can be a wonderful experience between parent and child.
4) At some point, although a specific time is unknown, dollhouses transcended from a child’s toy into a valuable possession and collectable. Dollhouses were played with less and displayed more behind glass. Each ornate piece became more valuable as time went on. This still continues today. There are an abundance of dollhouse museums that showcase the true beauty of these collections and also the history behind them.
5) Children today are not left without the magic of the dollhouse, but it has changed dramatically over the years. Barbie introduced the world to her “Dream Home" and since then, most children are presented with dollhouses made of plastic. While these make wonderful toys, there is certainly something lacking from the beautiful wooden dollhouses of years ago. These dollhouses come complete with furnishings and dolls. This takes a bit of the adventure out of finding new treasures to place in the dollhouse.
The history of the dollhouse is not very complex, but neither is the joy that these “toys" can bring. The dollhouse has given children endless hours of entertainment and adults the chance to create a beautiful collection of miniatures. Regardless of where the future of dollhouses goes, it is sure that dollhouses will be beloved by all.
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