Retro Images of the Week: 1940s Chalkware Sailor Kewpie Doll

Retro Staff |  2 Comments

Here at we are surrounded by all things retro. Not only the things we sell but original items and collections that decorate our offices. We thought it might be interesting each week to bring you a photo and information of an interesting, and maybe unusual, retro item we have kicking around. Please note these items are not for sale.

Starting in the late 1800s, carnivals gave out dolls like this as prizes to those who won at one of the shooting gallery or ball-throwing games. They were made of chalkware, and were first produced to look like the original Kewpie baby doll, created by Rose O’Neill. “Kewpie” eventually became the generic name for all chalkware prizes given out at carnivals, regardless of the actual character represented. Originally the chalk figures were handpainted. Beginning in the 1920s they were airbrushed, to be produced more quickly. This sailor doll was most likely made and given out as a prize during WWII. He measures about 9 inches tall.