Dollhouses are miniature toy home. We can trace the history of dollhouses back to about 400 years to the European ‘baby houses’. The earlier baby houses were nothing but cabinet display cases made up of rooms. With the passage of time, smaller dollhouses with more realistic exteriors became evident.
The word dollhouse is common in the United States of America and Canada. In United Kingdom usage, doll’s house or dolls house is common.
The early European dollhouses were each matchless, constructed on a custom basis by individual craftsmen. However, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution, factories began mass production of toys, including dollhouses and miniatures apt for decorating them. Christian Hacker, Moritz Gottschalk, Elastolin, and Moritz Reichel are a few of the German companies, which were known for their dollhouses. In fact, Germany was the producer of the most prized dollhouses and dollhouse miniatures until the World War I. One of the German companies even made authentic replicas of American historic houses and furniture in a standardized scale beginning in about 1917.
Collecting dollhouses is serious, and sometimes quite an expensive, grown-up hobby. These objects usually make their way into museums and many books have been written on the history and scale designs of dollhouses worldwide. One can acquire a dollhouse in several ways. One can either buy ready-made and furnished houses or buy kits to build one or even design own dollhouse. One of the most popular and well-planned dollhouses is Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House designed in 1924 by Sir Edwin Lutyens for Queen Mary on display at Windsor Castle.