Ideal Toy Company created the first Betsy Wetsy dolls in history in 1934. By the late 1940s, following World War II, this unlikely toy that could simulate tears and urination was a huge hit with American children.
Name and Promotion
Abraham Katz, Ideal’s CEO, named the doll after his daughter, Betsy. Given the doll’s operational capabilities, we are not sure what effect this branding decision had on the girl’s psyche. At any rate, young girls just loved squeezing water from a bottle into the doll’s mouth in order to see the liquid re-emerge later from the anatomical places you would expect.
Betsy Wetsy offered a variety of hair types that could be combed or shampooed. It had closable eyes, jointed limbs, and many available accessories. Television commercials from the 1950s added to Betsy Wetsy’s popularity.
Ideal Toy Company
The Ideal Toy Company dated all the way back to 1903. Morris and Rose Michtom gained fame not only from founding the company, but also from their creation of the Teddy Bear. They made sure to send one to President Teddy Roosevelt while he was in office. Originally in Brooklyn, Ideal later had a facility in Queens, New York. In addition to dolls and other toys, Ideal was the first American company to market Rubik’s Cube. Ideal subsequently went through several changes in ownership.
Decline and Legacy
The Betsy Wetsy craze dried up in the last part of the 1900s along with Ideal Toys itself. Even offshore production of the doll in the 1980s failed to save the doll or the company.
In 2003, the Toy Industry Association named Betsy Wetsy to its Century of Toys List. The doll had become one of the most memorable and creative toys of the 20th century. In it heyday, Betsy Wetsy helped normalize body functions for kids. It introduced an African American version, and overall was an adored soft rubber cutie that a generation of young girls loved.
- Year Started: 1934
- Year Ended: 1990
- Origin Of Name: Name of Daughter of CEO
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Ideal Toy Company
- Owner While In Use: Ideal Toy Company
- Owner Successor: N/A
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Barbie Dolls
- Naics Code: 339930
- Location Headquarters: Queens, New York USA