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Doll hospital

Περίεργα : Νέα και Περίεργα

Rebecca visits the Emergency Room, where damaged dolls and other family favourites are brought back to life.

Dolls make a popular addition to any family, whether young or old. But what do you do when your doll's injured or unwell? A visit to the Campbelltown Doll and Toy Hospital can cure almost any ailment, and your doll will come home looking as good as new.

Carmen and Wayne Scott started the Campbelltown Doll & Toy Hospital in 1991. They wanted a hobby they could share with their children and decided to collect dolls and toys. Their collection quickly grew and they were invited to put on a display in a Sydney shopping centre.

Visitors to the display seemed more interested in the restoration of the dolls, than the toys themselves. It became obvious there was a market for repairing old dolls, so Carmen and Wayne made a small Red Cross sign and added it to their display. They had hundreds of inquiries and the Campbelltown Doll & Toy Hospital was soon in operation.

Wayne has a background in mechanical repairs and spray painting, which enables him to restore almost any doll. Unlike porcelain dolls, manufactured dolls are made from a range of plastics, woods and fibres. These are harder to repair because you need to understand the "mechanics" behind each material.

Dolls more than 100 years old usually have a porcelain or bisque head, with a jointed paper mache body. Younger dolls are made from various plastics or vinyl. Porcelain dolls are ornamental while manufactured dolls are made to be played with.

The earliest plastic doll is made from celluloid, which is very thin and lightweight. This contains gunpowder, which Wayne uses when making repairs. If a doll's nose has been chipped or bitten off, Wayne can perform a little plastic surgery, by welding a new celluloid nose in place. He can also make new feet, fingers, toes and lips. He spray paints the head and touches up eyes, lips, cheeks and eyebrows.

Doll and toy owners can send patients directly to the hospital or meet Carmen and Wayne in shopping centres for a quote (they advertise in local papers and visit malls on a regular basis). Owners decide what treatment they want for their toy, get a quote from Carmen and Wayne, and then admit the patient.

There are two rooms in Carmen and Wayne's house dedicated to the restoration of the dolls. In Wayne's "surgery" the dolls are given their treatment. There are even a couple of small hospital beds set up for them to recuperate. Spare parts (legs, arms, etc) are kept in the shed.

In Carmen's room the dolls are given a new wardrobe before the owners arrive to take them home. And while the dolls are visiting the hospital, there's always time to catch some sun out near the pool (some time in the sun is often part of the restoration process as it help to dry out any moisture).

While the aim of the doll hospital is to restore the toys, they try to keep them looking authentic. A 50-year-old doll doesn't need to look factory fresh. Carmen even imports wigs, so a new hair colour and style are also possible.

The most common doll Carmen and Wayne see is a 1950s Pedigree doll. This is an English brand and was extremely popular in its day. The Pedigree doll is made from hard plastic and can be worth several hundred dollars, even before restoration. However, most doll owners aren't interested in the price their dolls would fetch, they have them restored for sentimental reasons.

While Carmen and Wayne work hard to restore all dolls to their former glory, sadly there is one "disease" with no cure. The incurable disease only strikes the 1950s Pedigree dolls and is extremely rare. Carmen and Wayne believe it is caused by a heat-related breakdown in the plastic. Symptoms include a vinegar like odour, white crystals on the skin's surface, red inflammation under the skin, and often a brown fluid seeping through. A scientist in the UK has tested the diseased dolls but no cure has been found.

More Info
The Campbelltown Doll & Toy Hospital is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am until 5pm.

Campbelltown Doll & Toy Hospital
7 Griffiths Pl.
Eaglevale 2558
Ph: 02 4626 1720

Source: ninemsn Pty Ltd

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