A bobblehead is a figurine with an abnormally big head that is attached to a spring, allowing it to propel up and down, and is often made for popular people. However, the use of bobbleheads has extended in the past years. Bobbleheads were first spotted in Hawaii and came to light in the 1950s.
The inflow of American soldiers into Hawaii around WW two accompanied by tourists post the war allowed this doll to become a significant souvenir unearthed around this time. These dolls also gained prominence in Japan and they used this opportunity to make notable profits.
People grew obsessed with this fad and every household invested in these dolls. It was made using plastic and had springs attached to the legs. This allowed an up and down movement of the caricature, thus providing an amusing appeal.
However, the earliest reference of bobble heads is supposedly Nikolai Gogol’s short story “The Overcoat” which depicted necks of plaster cats that wagged their heads. It surfaced in 1842 and was also known as “The Cloak”.
It was then converted into a movie and also used on stage. The nineteenth century also witnessed the large-scale production of bobbleheads in the United States and Japan. By the 1950s these dolls were being produced using plastic and porcelain. Their popularity took a surge and demand grew.
Back in the 1800s, bobbleheads were also called nodders originating from German dolls. They were made from paper mache and could readily break. However, with time, they started employing ceramic to make nodders, providing more longevity. Bobbleheads were also known as nodding dolls in those days.
In the later years, bobbleheads were promoted by Major League Baseball’s world series. These were concocted using paper mache and were imported from Japan. These bobbleheads were made for popular players like Willie Mays and Mr. Met. They had their mascots owing to their popularity and the public love reigning in their favor.
Around the 1970s, the frenzy began to simmer down and people stopped investing in bobbleheads. However, a decade later, the public was swayed with these caricatures and began buying them again. Major League Baseball has repopularised the bobble heads from time to time. They brought back the head doll culture and went full steam with it. Willie Mays bobblehead witnessed 20,000 visitors on 9th May 1999. They celebrated the team’s 40th anniversary and were widely celebrated. The public was enamored by the presence of these bobbleheads. People who were sports fans began collecting them.
Eventually, all baseball teams operating in the United States started offering bobbleheads as a promotional good on eBay. People were keen to buy them as collectible items. The largest bobblehead was produced in Chicago, in 2012 on a talk show called Conan. The Conan O’Brien bobblehead was 16 feet tall. By 2016, the Dodgers were doing bobblehead giveaways.
Apart from the sports industry the bobblehead market also penetrated other sectors. It grew among pop culture as signage of something funky and youthful. People began buying bobbleheads of famous musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne. He was a British artist and a front-line performer for Black Sabbath, a popular brand of the 1970s. These bobble heads were made out of solid plastic and could also speak.
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Bobbleheads have undergone significant evolution and continue to witness different changes. They’ve evolved from simply being a novelty to having an important cultural role as well. In this blog post, we’ve looked at how bobblehead dolls have changed over time and where they stand today. We hope you enjoyed reading about our journey through history with these beloved collectibles! If you liked what you read here, please share it on social media so others can enjoy too!