Learn about J. D. Kestner

Johannes Daniel Kestner founded his business about 1816 and advertisements for his papier mache dolls with leather bodies date to 1823. He is credited as being the founder of the doll manufacturing trade in the town of Waltershausen, which expanded to become the doll manufacturing centre for all of Europe, with numerous manufacturers based there. Unlike many of the manufacturers, Kestner was able to produce both heads and bodies. Other manufacturers brought their heads in, as they did not have the plant, such as a porcelain manufactury, to be able to make them in-house. In the 1850s Kestner was making china-head and wax-over-papier mache dolls but these were unmarked. Kestner died a wealthy man in 1858 and his two wives carried on the business, purchasing a porcelain factory that produced parian heads and later, bisque heads. In 1872 Kestner's grandson Adolph took over the business until he died in 1918. The company continued operating through World War I and into the Great Depression. However the decline in demand, especially from the United States resulted in the company going into bankruptcy in 1936.
5 item(s) found:

These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

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Possible Kestner bisque doll, blue stationary eyes, pierced eyes, red nylon wig on ball jointed body 86 cm marked 136. 18. (hair-line crack to side of face)

German Kestner JDK 257 doll with bisque porcelain head and sleep eyes, 50 cm high approx, a/f

Kestner Pouty bisque doll, sleeping brown eyes, closed mouth, light brown real hair wig on French jointed composition body 64 cm. Marked 15 (stabilised hair line crack to head)

Possible J D Kestner bisque character doll, blue sleeping eyes, open mouth with two top teeth on straight limb jointed, composition body, marked 166-13 (one small rim chip to base of neck socket)

New Kestner all bisque four headed, character doll all in replica box 24 cm