PRINTIES are characterized by lithographed brick sides or plain colors with
lithographed stone masonry around the doors and windows. The roofs are glossy
with hand-painted snow and glitter effects. Fence posts are always wood, round,
half-round or square.Sometimes iron wire is strung between.
Bases can be either flat or box. Many times the same style house can be found
as a candy or "surprise" box,too. Note the odd "spots" on some of the roofs.
That is strongly characteristic of this period.
I know this to be 1928 because my Grandmother had this house.She penciled "1928"on the bottom when she bought it in Brownsville,PA that year.
Matching hole plugs are another characteristic of the PRINTIE. This extravagance was not continued very long. They were no longer supplied during the coming styles of the '30s or again thereafter.Sometimes they're still there when you find a PRINTIE.
If not, then it's been lost because they ALWAYS had them. Even the smallest ones.
Note the Santa. Figures at this time are not the bisque with wire, but rather some sort of brown composition material...possibly even unfired clay. They were meticulously hand-painted, sometimes with much detail, and sometimes glued
on as well as wired. They crumbled fairly easily and often all you find are just a pair of feet in the front yard ...
The large G.T.s can be very squarish and blocky of body,
but also you find such interesting types during this brief ca. 1930-31 period that
are never found again later. (It's my personal favorite period.)
Oddly, the big ones seldom have fences, while the smaller card-based often do.
Almost no yard detail. The finish of the bodies is flat and almost lacking in
texture except for a very fine sand. The bases, too - except note the
pillared-porch example in the foreground: an early use of the "coconut"floss...
this one made up of a mix of colors over white.
The Second Period:1930-33
The G.T.'s are first cousins to the PRINTIES and coexist within
nearly the same period of time, perhaps two years later. They are characterized
by -you guessed it - glossy roofs - shellacked - with the snow
handpainted over. Generally - shiny roofs are of the early period and last only
into the early '30's: soon to be replaced with the "coconut," or shredded
cellophane floss with painted and glittered "snow."
Matching hole plugs are still a feature. This "church" or whatever it is -is
transitional in that we have a heavy texture of coarse flint grit and the
raked-perspective that marked a singular creativity belonging solely to the
Japanese. But then - they have been geniuses with paper for centuries...
I guess the candy boxes should fit in about here. Candy/surprise boxes go
than houses, taking the shapes of Santas, boots, snowmen and all kinds of things -
including chimneys, houses and castles. This type is actually second period.
These are different - a new breed of "candy-box." The old ones had no bases,
no fences or yards. Many of these new styles can also be found as regular houses
with light holes in the back and in other finishes...even "coconut."
They are "SECOND PERIOD,"
from about 1930-34.
Note there is a PRINTIE here - and a GLOSS TOP. Some are all sand.Still early, though, because all fenceposts are wood.
The two little guys in from have "secret" compartments
scarcely an inch across - just big enough to hold one bon-bon or the Hope
Diamond. Your choice, I guess.
Because they come apart in two pieces, you very often find just the top or just
the bottom. Note the ragged hole in the back of the house rear-center.
Candy boxes are often mutilated in this way. I think people grabbed them in the
rush of shopping, thinking they were the light-up kind, got them home and then
cut these jagged holes to make them be that way.
Second to Third Period
(Actually shelLACKed,) - the classification nickname
of "LAKKIE" can be a bit misleading.
The first time I saw one of these "LAKKIES" it made me mad! I
thought some goon had painted over or shellacked a fine old house. Not so! I
began to come across more.
There are 9 different shown here, plus one SUPER-LAKKIE, but I am sure
there are more. I have to place them beginning in the late EARLY PERIOD -
possibly 1928-32 -along with "GLOSS-TOPS" because of the styles and colors and
all-wood fence posts. You'll find the exact same houses in other finishes...
later COCONUTS and mixed textures. I briefly thought the factory ran out
of the cellophane flocking and let them go out the door anyway, because you do
not come across them as often as the others. They have an almost edible
quality, as if made from brightly colored hard taffy.
This exceptional piece has things in common
with the early period, mostly, but also foreshadows styles to come. You have the
obviously glossy roof shellacked.
The wood fence posts. The chenille "bottle brush" tree. The flat-finished sides
of the building like the large G.T's. But you have also a luffah shrub and the
rafia fence which begins in the early 30's. The base, of course, is something
unique in and of itself-but the dark olive sand is the same as on some of the
large G.T.s. I have to place this LATE EARLY or EARLY MIDDLE period -1930-1932.
But I'm just making an educated guess here. It also has something in common with
the next category ......
This set belonged to a family named Bair. They are
without doubt the among most elaborately detailed and extraordinarily structured
cardboard houses ever made, and these are the only I have ever seen. They are
definely LAKKIES: - glossy all over, except for the sandy rounded
fence posts on some of them.
ANOTHER VIEW: The three smaller pieces are about the same size and very
much like the LAKKIES above, but upon close inspection, all kinds of
textural embossing of the cardboard - especially on the roofs -and other details
set them apart.
Three more "super-lakkies" which recently appeared on an eBay auction,
listed as "Japanese Paper Train Houses, ca. 1930."
Note the elborate porticoed veranda or car-port. Several of the set have these.
And the windows are most unusual - with clear cellophane on inner portals to
give subtle lighting effects and standard Christmas house doors found in others,
along with these odd, boldly barred large windows - which I am still trying to
make up my mind about. Original or homemade? The jury is still out on that one
I am sure there must have been more of these. If anyone has such types in his/her
collection - I would very much appreciate some photos! The family I got
them from could tell me little more than that "they were Grandpa's, and he used
them with his trains." ...
.....all of which brings a hanging question to the fore ...I thought long and
hard about the "lakkies." No snow. No snowy trees. (No trees at all!) No Santa
figures. Snowmen. Nothing to connect with Christmas. Then I had an epiphany that
these were most likely marketed to tinplate train enthusiasts, perhaps all year
round. It makes sense. If one looks at the catalogued train buildings and
accessories of the period, they were stamped sheet-metal and most were enameled
or lithographed glossy! When new, these shellacked pieces would
have been all but indistiguishable in finish - and nearly in style - from the
VERY expensive enameled sheet-metal building train accessories of the
period. Though we see many of the same buildings in "coco," stucco, and
combinations thereof - covered with snow, trees and figures - I believe there is
a solid case that "lakkies" were not mainly about Christmas; they were about
trains. Many Christmas train set-ups have green-grass bases depicting summer
even nowadays. Many layouts were kept up all year round. Dimestore cardboard
houses would have been a cheap way to fill up scenic voids in layouts, green or
snowy. I think it's possible they may have sold the LAKKIES in the
train shops all year round.
Some Typical Lionel All-Metal Train Buildings of the
Lionel #189 "Suburban Villa"
Lionel #127 WayStation, #191 Illuminated Villa, #437 SwitchTower
Note the way the window framing is reflected by the paper framing of the
The connection, here, is plain to see.
The "LAKKIES" were about toy trains.
You could buy a couple dozen big "LAKKIES" for the price of one Lionel #191
The Second to Third Period
Some "LOGGIES" are actually a variety of
GLOSS TOP, having the shiny roofs in the beginning -the rural first cousins of
the PRINTIES and G.T.'s. Some form of log cabin is found from the beginning
right through to the bitter end in the early '60s when our Christmas stuff began
coming from Taiwan - the single-faced corrugated carboard being a "natural" for
the basis of the style.
Note the chimneys on these otherwise identical LOGGIES" - one is actually a
"PRINTIE" - pretty much tying them to the '29-32 period.. Both of these have
glossy sides and rich colors. The little guy with stick-on window in the lower
right is actually a candy-box, which you have seen before.
There aren't that many different styles of Loggies but they came in
different finshing schemes and a wide range of sizes. Many sets included 1
LOGGIE in with 7 others of the "in town"style. Above is shown a large
Cotton-Topperalong side the "Little Guy" again. The clear cellophane
door is a possible indicator that it is post war, but that's not entirely
reliable, as cellophane doors do appear in late '30's pieces. The more intricate
printing pattern is probably indicative of late prewar. I have seen at least one
LOGGIE with a base 11 3/4" X 9 1/2" that would fully cover a standard sheet of
typing paper and more.(The prewar GIANT class.) But it was exactly the same
style and had no more detail than the medium size version.
Just having a corrugated cardboard roof does constitute a true "Loggie."
The sides must be corrugated. The roof may or may not be.
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