An 1859 Magazine First To Print Dolls
The first paper dolls to be printed in America appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book in 1859. They were a group of six little boys and girls, along with costumes for each. The women’s magazines continued to be good sources for paper dolls throughout the rest of the 19th century, and for several decades of the 20th century.
The largest quantity of paper dolls made in those early years, other than those found in magazines, were by McLoughlin Brothers. Their most popular was a “Simple Susie” series, published in 1885. The cost ranged from a penny a sheet to as high as 50 cents for hand-painted dolls with several costumes. Other popular characters were Polly Prim, 6 inches tall; Lottie Love, 10 inches; Dottie Dimple, 15 inches; and Dolly Varden, 25 inches.
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Dime Novels Successful, But
A firm by the name of Beadle and Adams published the first of the “Dime Novels” in 1860. This first publication, Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter, was an instant success, with a print run of 300,000.
Recognizing that there was definitely a market for this type of book, Beadle and Adams went on to publish two novels a month for the next 32 years! The novels started out as thin little yellow-orange books, just 6 inches high and 4 inches wide . Later issues were somewhat larger and thicker.
Following the lead of Beadle and Adams, other companies also began to publish “Dime Novels.” The term became generic, as some of the books sold for as little as a nickel, and others were 6¢, 7¢, and 8¢ and a few were as much as 20¢.
The Wild West was a favorite theme of these books, and the basic story stayed the same. The good guys fought the bad guys and the good guys always won. They were not great literature, but they gave the people who could not experience the West in any other way a chance to live it through the books’ heroes - Deadwood Dick, Buffalo Bill, and Fred Fearnot, among others. Pirates and detectives also provided lots of action.
The writers were paid a penny a line and the experienced ones turned the books out at an awesome rate. Ned Buntline, for instance, wrote a 60,000-word story in 62 hours. Buntline made as much as $20,000 a year, writing at the penny-a-line rate!
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Origin Of Inventions Not Easily Recognized
One of the inventions that seems as though it should be thoroughly American is the odometer. Actually, it needs to be credited to an inventor in the Far East.
In 1027, Lu Tao-lung presented the Emperor of China with a cart that could measure the distances it spanned by means of a mechanism with 8 wheels and 2 moving arms.
One arm struck a drum each time a li (about a third of a mile) was covered.
Another bell was rung every 10 li.
On the other hand, that typical Oriental conveyance, the rickshaw, was invented by an American. Reverend Jonathan Scobie, a Baptist minister living in Yokohama, Japan, built the first model in 1869 in order to transport his invalid wife.
Copies were made by the minister’s congregation and it soon became a standard mode of transportation in that part of the world.
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