The history of fabric dolls or rag dolls stretches back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire. Traditionally home-made from spare scraps of material, they are one of the oldest children's toys in existence. Handmade and often given as a first toy not many examples of early rag dolls have survived. Their very nature means they would disintegrate over time. But this is also part of their appeal. The fact that they can be carried around, loved and patched up when they wear off makes them perfect toys for little ones.
Mass production of rag dolls began around 1830, when fabric colour printing was first developed. And, with the advent of plastics in the 1900s, rag dolls were put on a path of extinction. 1950s saw the introduction of Barbie and subsequently, the market was flooded with more synthetic alternatives. The fabric dolls didn't stand a chance given the economics and convenience that the plastic alternatives offered. 90% of the toys in the market are made out of plastic and 80% of them end up in landfills with the average duration of use being 6 months. The toy industry uses 40 tons of plastic for every $1 million in revenues and is the most plastic-intensive industry in the world.
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