Creeping Baby Doll 1871

In 1871 came one of the first automata to appear in the toy scene, patented by Robert J. Clay. You can find more about it here.


My favorite paragraph about the piece is the following:

Despite Clay’s belief that his toy would be very amusing, it had limited appeal for its target audience of little girls. It looks scary, weighs a lot and isn’t particularly interactive. It’s more of an exhibition piece than a cuddly toy, and once the mechanism broke (which happened often with the earlier models), its heaviness and hardness made it a dead weight rather than a doll that could be integrated into regular play.


I wonder how many of these clumsily creeping wonders were mass produced. Two decades later, the world was graced with Edison’s Talking Doll.


6 Responses to “Creeping Baby Doll 1871”

  1. Carrie Filetti Says:

    I would love to add a piece like this to my creepy dolly collection!

  2. It must’ve been so frustrating back then to be stuck with primitive means of inventing. 1871 was a year after Charles Dickens’ death. I’m sure rude brothers would’ve got knocked-out cold by little Sally’s heavy ass doll. The creepy baby is not entirely a loss, the top flat surface could hold another oddity or perhaps be a resting spot for a creepier doll mounted on it’s back riding to Creepville. Don’t worry creeping doll we can rebuild you, we have the technology. The six million dollar doll. Okay, now I’m just rambling….

  3. When I was a child, there was an old lady in my neighborhood who had one of these (probably a later model). I was so intrigued by how realistically it crawled and I’d always wondered what it looked like under its clothing, now I know. Just to be clear, my curiosity was to see the mechanism, nothing perverted. Thank you for exposing the mystery!

  4. That looks quite terrifying! Looks like there are a lot nooks and crannies that could take a finger in that thing.

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