Resin

Despite the blue-grey skin colour, and the purplish discolouration of the bodice of the dress, this magnificent doll has a timeless beauty, and remains one of our favourites

A further guide to the identityof a Tower Walk doll is that they often, (though not always), had "Made in Britain" stamped on the soles of their feet.   This is often more evident in the earlier Tower Walk dolls

 Resin dolls appear outwardly similar to hard plastic dolls, but are made using a very different process.

In the 1950's resin technology was in its infancy.   Always an innovator, Peggy Nisbet decided to try out this new material for the production of the bodies for her "Tower Walk" dolls.

This process uses two liquid components, a resin, and a hardener, (sometimes referred to as an accelerant, curing agent, or catalyst), which was an acidic chemical.   The process worked in the following way :

An amount of resin was measured out, (either by volume or weight), and a smaller percentage of liquid hardener was then measured out, (according to a ratio decided by the manufacturer), and added to the mix, which was then stirred thoroughly.

The resin/hardener mix was then poured into a mould, and left to "cure".

Sometimes, the cure time could be reduced by putting the resin filled moulds into a hot oven, (but the fine details of Peggy Nisbet's production processes are unknown to us, so we don't know if she did this).

The resin process gave good results, but was not without its dangers - Too little hardener, and the mix might never set, (and poor or incomplete mixing gave the same result).   Too much hardener would result in a mix that cured, but this might happen so quickly that excessive heat could be generated, (an Exothermic reaction), which could cause the generation of smoke, poisonous fumes, or even a fire.

Because the ideal result demanded a precision in weighing and mixing of the two components, it was easy to get it wrong.

In Peggy's case, this resulted (occasionally) in a slightly acidic resin mix.   (Because the aim was to get the mix to cure, it was probably considered better to put in just a drop more hardener, to be sure of a full cure of the resin.   The effects of the chemical imbalance was not immediately obvious, but over time, the excess acid would leach out of the cured resin.

Because the base resin colour was grey, or blue-grey, the dolls had to be painted.   If there was excess acid in the resin, over time, the paint would discolour, and faces and hands on affected models ended up with a grey or blue-grey pallor, which is clearly evident on many of the early Tower Walk dolls shown on this website.

Worse still, the acid leaching from the resin bodies of the dolls caused the materials of the costumes to fade, discolour, or even to rot away, and the elastic bands holding the arms in place to quickly perish.   Despite producing some of what we consider to be her finest dolls using this process, Peggy, ever the perfectionist, abandoned two part resin mixes, in favour of Injection Moulded Hard Plastic doll bodies.

We believe Resin bodied dolls were only made between 1956 and 1958

News

31st October 2015

 
New updates added - We have added a new page on the Isle of Wight dolls, which were produced for the Liliput doll Museum, on the Isle of Wight.   These dolls have mystified us for some time, but an opportunity to do some research through the archives, an email from Graham Munday, (owner of the Lilliput Doll Museum), and an email chat with author and Shallowpool Dolls expert sue Brewer, have allowed a partial reconstruction of their fascinating story.   There are still some gaps in our knowledge, so if you can fill in any of the missing details for us, please do get in touch!
 
 

19th September 2015

 
New updates added - Our thanks to correspondent David H, who has sent us two interesting pictures - The first is of a very rare Nisbet First Doll.   This is the doll that started Peggy Nisbet's dollmaking career, and you can read all about her on this page : dolls/special-collectors-sets-limited-and-signature-editions/SCE-P1953 Replica Edition of the First Nisbet Doll.  David's picture of his original first Nisbet is shown below the article on the replica doll, and below that, is shown a unique 18" porcelain doll that also shows the Queen in Coronation robes, and was used in displays and exhibitions.   This doll is also shown in the book, "The Peggy Nisbet Story".  Other updates added today are the BOAC and BEA dolls, Madam Tussaud Dolls, Wax Dolls, and a Porcelain statuette issued as a tribute to Peter Bull, which is shown under Dolls/Porcelain Dolls/Irish Dresden - Tribute to the Late Peter Bull
 
 

12th September 2015

 
New updates added - Apologies to all our visitors for the long delay in adding some updates and new information - we hope that the items listed below will be of interest!   Many kind thanks to numerous correspondents, for their kind offers of pictues and other information, to fill in the gaps in various galleries :  To Barbara T, for her stunning pictures of H/214 - Queen Elizabeth I, wearing a rubber crown.   Pictures appear in Historical Gallery 1, and in "Know your Nisbets/Headgear/Crowns".   Frank T sent two excellent pictures of Vera Evelyn Samuel, and you can see the pictures and read all about her here - "Porcelain Dolls/Doulton Nisbet".   Penny D has sent in some pictures of her magnificent early P/618 - Robbie Burns - See him in Portrait Dolls Gallery 1.   We have used another of Keith P's pictures in a new gallery just added - "Know your Nisbet/Body shape and pose".   Finally, we have added a new page on Walt Disney dolls, which may come as something of a surprise to many collectors, as the dolls are not typically Nisbet in appearance!
 
 

 

3rd January 2015

 

Exciting New updates added for 2015 - Correspondent Michael A contacted us last year to ask about his mother's "Beatles" Nisbet dolls - Collectors of long standing may have heard of this almost legendary set of dolls - Thanks to Michael, you can now learn all about them here : /dolls/the-dolls-that-never-were/the-beatles/   

A recent contact from author Ian Price, who writes for the "Fashion Dolls Quarterly" magazine, (www.fdqmedia.com), enquired about Nisbet's Christmas themed dolls - We were delighted to assist his researches in compiling this article on Peggy Nisbet's "Legends of Christmas" dolls.   Ian has very kindly allowed us to make a copy of this article available for download - Please go to the Downloads/Miscellaneous/ page, and click on the link to "Styling Santa", by Ian Price, to see the article.

 

 

Thank you for stopping by to browse, or for making contact with us - We hope the website will prove to be of use and interest to you!