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Category Archives: The Makin’s Of Our Pad

1952 Dolly Toy Cowboy & Indian Wall Plaques


I have seen these wall plaques over the years of our collecting and always thought the imagery is so 50’s! I knew I wanted to collect a few pieces to place in some areas in our laundry room, we kind of have a western theme going on in that small room.


I was surprised that there wasn’t any info on the artist Phil Riley online. His pieces have a Disney feel to them so it would not surprise me in the least to find out he was a cartoonist for Walt Disney.


 I am known for filling all areas on a wall with artwork and 50’s imagery. I knew these wall plaques will fill in areas that were void of visual appeal.


These have been placed on the small area above our washer and dryer.


I love the story that all the Dolly Toy pin ups tell. There is a lot of expression and vibrant colors. I know these were for kids rooms and nurseries but I can’t stop myself from wanting to use them in other applications.


These were placed on the empty wall to the left of the door to the laundry room.


Most of the pieces have the year they were manufactured on them.


Here are the other western theme pieces they released. I plan to try and acquire all the western ones if possible.


As you can see they had a lot of different ones that you could adorn the walls of your kids room with. I guess you could say these predate “fathead” wall pieces.

History of Dolly Toy Company


Dolly Toy has closed its doors. Its name and its products, nursery furnishings called Mother Goose Pin-Ups, were unique in the marketplace and their name was known across the country. H.B. Holtvoight started Dolly Toy in Dayton in 1923 as The Dolly Folding Kite Company. He was later joined in the business by his sons, Hubert G. Sr. and John, as well as his daughter, Mildred.

il_570xN.719967141_2gz6 However, the kite business didn’t prosper, so in trying to bolster profits the company started making toys out of laminated box board. These toys proved successful and in 1929 the business became The Dolly Folding Kite and Toy Company.


Worthy of note is that during the Great Depression there were more than 30 toy and novelty manufacturers in Dayton, but only Dolly Folding Kite and Toy survived the era to continue business.

$_57-9In 1936 the company acquired the property for $6,000 at 245 North Fourth Street from the Tippecanoe Knitting Mill, a subsidiary of Atlas Underwear, which had moved to Piqua. By this time the product lines at Dolly Kite and Toy had expanded to include seasonal novelties for Easter and Halloween.


While many small towns were dying because of the poor economy during The Depression, Tippecanoe was on the move. Dolly Folding Kite and Toy was only one of several companies to start businesses at that time. Joining it were Sun Glow Industries, the New Tipp Theater, the White Mountain Creamery and several one-man stores. Expansions were completed to The International Flare Company and to The Sun Glow Furniture factory. Also opening were a welding shop, a watch and clock shop and a law office along with much growth in housing construction.


As World War II approached, Dolly Kite and Toy began producing various military components out of laminated box board while expanding into Christmas and Easter novelties that had traditionally come from Japan. Prior to the late 1930’s these novelties had been produced exclusively in Germany, then in Japan, but now the United States was the primary supplier.


In 1942 John Holvoight spoke about the problems of meeting the growing demand for their products. One Dolly Kite and Toy order was for a total of $43,000, all in 3 cent and 5 cent items!

$_57-7At the end of World War II one of Dolly’s artists, Phil Riley, designed a new kind of wall decoration for nurseries and children’s rooms, and the popular Mother Goose Pin-Ups were born!!!


Dolly Toy patented the idea and began selling a small number of the Pin-Ups in department stores in 1948. As repeat orders came in they expanded production. Seeing their success, competitors tried to copy the idea and undersell with a similar product, but Dolly Toy initiated a law suit, which they won, and all opoohlampther items were withdrawn from the market.


Later a costumer line called Tidee-Ups was added, followed by nursery lamps in 1958 and crib mobiles in 1963. Tidee-Ups are decorative pegs for hanging up clothes. Business continued to grow so the factory was expanded in 1947 and, with continued growth, a new warehouse was built in 1950. The company name was officially changed to The Dolly Toy Company in 1951. By 1964 the company had surpassed the million dollar mark in sales of nursery accessories. Two more expansions followed in 1967 and 1968.


Along with the Pin-ups and mobiles, the company also made over 500,000 toy houses in 1952 – small Toyland villages designed to go under Christmas trees, on fireplace mantles or in store windows. Several years before they had produced over a million such villages, but the toy business was fickle and the demand varied each year. Additional sets in the Christmas village line had slots in the back for small Christmas lights that glowed through the transparent windows of the houses and churches. This line, designed by John Holvoight, treasurer of the company, also included small evergreen trees and snow bases made of Styrofoam.


Carl Moser, the plant manager in 1952, reported that some of the problems producing these seasonal items included competition from foreign countries with lower worker wages and with the high freight costs in the United States. Dolly Toy had to pay a double first class rate to ship because while each box of toys took up space in the box car, it weighed very little.


Moser said, “This puts a lot of pressure on the profits from a 15 cent item. Profits are slightly better on the higher priced 29 and 69 cent items in the same category.” Moser ended this 1952 interview by saying, “All items aren’t sold in the millions and profits can be small with the $1.25 an hour assembly line labor cost and the high freight rates (here in the U.S.), you never know in the toy business what tomorrow will bring.”


What tomorrow brought to Dolly Toy was the closing of its doors this year. The company will be missed. Dolly Toy Pin-Ups, lamps and other nursery accessories will soon be considered collectible antiques.






Carlo of Hollywood Stallion Partner


As you may be aware, we’re major collectors of Carlo of Hollywood watercolors.  One of our favorite pieces is our large Stallion watercolor.


This is one of the two smaller ones that would have been part of this 3 piece set. When Carlo watercolor paintings were sold, they were usually in pairs or sets of three. In the case of this stallion set, there is one large one and two smaller ones. Usually, one of the smaller ones would be almost a duplicate of the larger one.


This one has some character, but it may just be dirt under the glass. I’ll have to take it apart and clean it up!


We just love the bold imagery of these pieces.  We of course, love the forced perspective/angular frames.


We decided to hang them above our fireplace.


Hopefully, one day we’ll locate the other smaller Carlo.


As always, we hope to enjoy these for years to come.

1950’s Atomic Concrete Flamingo Restoration


Mel and I were out visiting our friends Donny and Romy. While we were visiting, Donny presented a set of vintage concrete flamingos he was looking to get rid of. I have always been a fan of these kitschy lawn ornaments.


As you can see, they are well used.


The necks of both Flamingos had numerous cracks and even chunks of concrete missing.


The paint is beyond faded and just not very impressive.


I knew the first thing I had to do was address the neck cracks and missing pieces of concrete from the neck. I used high performance DAP wall spackling paste that is specifically for cracks.


I had to cover the whole neck with this spackling to repair all the issues.


After the sun cooked them I sanded them, and the necks of these fabulous flamingos are like new!


Now for the fun part, painting them.


Now that the main body has been painted it is time for the detail work.


I looked at so many pictures of flamingos to get an idea of what I should do for the wing portion. Believe it or not, I was unable to find any referencesfor the original paint scheme. From what I was able to tell, it was pretty standard for folks to repaint them over the years as they faded. Because of this, I decided to use my own judgement and customize it. I knew with these flamingos, detail was not the order of the day, simplicity was the rule.


I was able to ascertain what the heads were supposed to look like.


While the flamingos were inside drying I took the rebar I purchased from Home Depot and painted them a coral color. I find sticking them in the ground with newspaper at the base makes it easy to paint them and to get even coverage.


Here is how they turned out!


It took two days to knock this out.


Here they are in their natural habitat surround by greenery. Unfortunately, I won’t be displaying these in our front yard because they might get snatched by someone. I plan to make a form and pour concrete around the feet so they can be displayed inside our tiki room.


Mid-Century China Hutch


We saw this hutch on Craigslist in San Francisco & knew it would be fantastic to hold some of our Tickled Pink china overflow.


This hutch was a steal and it is so clean for how old it is.


I love this dark finish. The whole piece is formica.


This drawer would be great for storing placemats, tablecloths and napkins.


This additional storage is very welcome in our kitchen.


We purchased a good part of our Vernon’s Tickled Pink set from our friend Camila at ModPop.


She even had the original postcard


They really went over the top describing this china and its potential effect on your life. If I am reading this correctly, our lives are on the fast track to wonderful!


The only thing this hutch really needs is to have the feet resprayed to make the gold pop again!

Bo-Low Leopard Lamp Restoration


Mel and I picked up this Bo-Low lamp sometime back. We had been admiring it for a while at a local antique shop and were finally able to acquire it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find out anything about the Bo-Low Lamp Co.


As you can see, it looks like it traveled around a bit. It also had a chunk of chalk missing from a part of the top of the tree.


I used my usual process to repair it.


The next step was to paint the whole cat a cream color to help even out it’s finish, and so that the new color would take better.


I then applied the main undercoat.


As you can see from this photo, this cat had no real detail and was almost a cream color.


Here is the same head shot after I added detail and color.


Painting the leopard spots are fairly simple. Just make misshapen marks like I did above.


The next step is to apply a small amount of black around parts of the brown to create the tradition leopard spot.


Here is the original.


Here it is after I refinished it.


The original base was just tan so I added a grass effect to the bottom so it would tie in with its awesome shade.


It’s coming along as you can see, just the tail left to complete.


Just adding some finishing touches.


Ta Da! Here it is all done!


We have had this shade sitting around for sometime, and this seems like the perfect shade for this lamp.


I am very happy with how it turned out.


A. Brandt Company Ranch Oak Furniture Club Chairs (model 3086)


I have always been a HUGE fan of Ranch Oak. Unfortunately, it is not very common and when you do find it, it is usually expensive. Mel and I found this set at a recent 2nd Sunday Sacramento Antique Faire.


What I dig about Ranch oak is the hand scrapped look of the wood. They also rubbed white furniture wax on the exposed wood surfaces that builds up and gets into all the nooks and crannies. Also, when it was popular to have tapered leg furniture, Ranch Oak reversed the taper to being fat at the bottom and thin at the top.


This set is in overall great condition, but it needs new foam. If this set was redone it would be mind blowing!


These chairs are so comfortable.


The mark of quality.


I might check with my upholsterer to see if he can just replace the foam on the backrest and the lower cushion without replacing the fabric. Keep your fingers crossed!



Our story started 80 plus years ago with one man’s hobby. Our founder, Paul Brandt, is well-known for Ranch Oak furniture, introduced in the late 1930s. Styles for every room, known for quality and durability were manufactured in Fort Worth, Texas through the 1980s.Ranch Oak furniture is now known as “vintage” ranch furniture in collector markets. But when Paul wasn’t guiding his huge furniture manufacturing company, he was sometimes smoking turkeys in his backyard smokehouse, a hobby that made him popular with his friends, neighbors, and relatives for the delicious results!


The Brandt company Ranch Oak furniture is highly collectable and hard to find. It was made from the 1930’s to the 1970’s era, in Fort Worth, Texas. The carved pieces, made in the 1930’s and 40’s era are the most highly collectable. The light oak color is the most desirable, and most western looking. Ranch oak is the most sophisticated way to decorate western. It is nearly indestructible!


The following images are from the numerous sales brochures they released over the years. There is some really great vintage imagery!


I love these vintage illustrated catalogs.





I could imagine just hanging out in this room listening to Marty Robbins singing “El Paso“.


Mel and I saw some barstools by Ranch Oak at the Alameda Antique Faire a while back, they were awesome!



If that got your Ranch Oak juices flowing, here are some actual pieces!





Look at the rough cut of the legs on this end table, I love it!



I could imagine watching Bonanza while sitting on this couch, couldn’t you?


This set is on eBay right now (couch, love seat, end tables)!!!

If I only had room!


Hepcat Restorations Is Having A Sale!


It is that time again! Mel and I just revamped our whole showroom and it is all 15% off (excluding items marked firm) for the whole month of April. If you have the ability come check us out! As usual, we offer free layaway so you can get that item you have been wanting.







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