Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Daughter and Doll Apron Sets by Elrene Mfg Co

I've been putting this post off for a while, mainly because I was missing one (or so I thought) but also because of the distinct possibility of large quantities of (hopefully good-natured) teasing from those nearest and dearest to me.  But the time has finally come for the long-awaited Vinyl Aprons Post.
For those of you who know me, or who have been in the Alice collecting world for a while, you are probably aware of the existence of what are colloquially known as Vinyl Aprons.  What you may not know is that over the course of the past 24 years, I've pretty much cornered the market.  This is for several reasons, not the least of which is that I'm an obsessive-compulsive nut-job, but I digress.

The aprons are made of some sort of vinyl-like substance called Flexton, I'm not sure exactly what it is, but it has remained pliable for more than 60 years.  The aprons come in two sizes:  a larger size that would fit a little girl, and a smaller size that would fit a doll.
The aprons come in 4 colors:  blue, pink, yellow, and white.  There are some other color variations, but I think those are anomalies - more on those later.
The aprons come in three designs:  Alice and the White RabbitAlice Among the Flowers, and Alice and Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
So, for those of you keeping track, that makes 24 variations.  And, since at any given time I did not know or remember which designs or colors or sizes I currently owned, I pretty much bought every one I found.
Flash forward a few years to 2008. We were preparing for the Spring Meeting of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, where we would be having an open house and showing the collection, and we were busily opening boxes and sorting things and trying for some semblance of order.  At that time we finally did an inventory and discovered that there was only one missing apron: the white Alice with Tweedles.  So I kept a lookout for it.  It did not come up on eBay (and still has not).  But I had all the rest (and some other stuff too, more on those later as well.

Some time after the LCSNA meeting, I came across a set in the original package, something I had never seen before.  I now knew that they were sold as sets, Daughter and Doll.  The packaging is really flimsy, some sort of glassene or plasticized cellophane, but really fragile.  But there it was, an original set in the original package.  I didn't open it, I was too afraid of further damaging it.  Interesting to note that the character art along the sides is the same as that for the Gund Vinylite dolls ad pictured in this post.
Flash forward again to a few months ago.  We were preparing for the Dayton Disneyana show, and looking to (hopefully) sell off some of the vast overstock on the aprons.  I came up with the brilliant idea to create a table display for them using the art from the original package.  I think it turned out quite nice.
In order to do it I had to remove the aprons.  And lo and behold, the set is a white Tweedles set.  Granted, it is pretty badly discolored from all those years inside the package, which is why I originally thought it was yellow instead of white, but hey, I can at least say I now have the full set.  Of the aprons.  More later.

Previously I mentioned that there were some variants other than the standard pink, blue, yellow and white.  There are in the collection two doll-sized aprons that fall outside the standard scheme.  A pink and a blue, but each has white trim.  The white trim does not match the trim on the white aprons, it is something else entirely.  I've never seen any others like this, nor have I seen daughter-sized aprons with this scheme.  Perhaps they were tests or some sort of interim material was used during changeover, or the white indicates the end of a spool.  Who knows.  But I love 'em!  Variations, bring it on!
Here follows the full set.  The pink seems to be the most common color, the Tweedles the most common design.  White is by far the scarcest color, and Alice among the Flowers the scarcest design.

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