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Full series and process: 90s TOYpography
I was obsessed with Troll Dolls. I had an extensive collection of them for wayyyyy too long. Instead of playing with action figures or barbies, I played with trolls pretty much.
Troll dolls were invented all the way back in the 50s by Danish fisherman Thomas Dam. He made hand-carved wooden troll dolls for the Christmas displays he was working on for a local department story window. People started asking to buy the troll dolls from the display, and before long, Dam was spending all of his time carving them to sell. Soon after, he opened a factory and by the end of the ‘50s, he was selling more than 10,000 trolls in Denmark each year.
Even Dam’s first trolls, called Dam Dolls, had the wild, crazy hair that has become their trademark. The Icelandic sheep’s wool used was dyed three colors—white, black, or orange—and glued on the tops of the dolls for a bushy, exaggerated head of hair.
Troll Dolls made a resurgence in the 1970s, and a big comeback in the 90s. The Dam Company, unfortunately, only earned a small percentage of the estimated $4.5 billion made from Trolls throughout the world. Because of troll dolls immediate success and Dam’s lack of copyright, lots of knock-offs were produced and other companies cashed in on Dam’s invention.
It wasn't until 2003 when the U.S. restored copyright privileges to the Dam family. In 2013, DreamWorks Animation announced that they had purchased the Troll doll brand outright from the Dam company. The Trollz movie came out in 2016. Now Hasbro has come out with a new version of the Troll based on the movie, that is much less scary and wrinkled. Call me nostalgic, but I like the old, scary version better.
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