CPK History

The very first CPKs were made of cloth--the body and head--and looked very different than the vynly-headed kids we all know and love (or hate, depending on who you are) today. Below is a timeline of events, to the best of my knowledge, including major happenings, the various companies, and other information.

1978: The first CPK are made by a man named Xavier Roberts (with the help of four women), who had discovered an old cloth-sculpting technique and used it to create his dolls. The first 'Kids were called "Little People" and were made entirely of cloth, head included. These dolls were very popular, and Xavier created the company Original Appalachian Artworks, Inc. (OAA)They were very popular, and even Newsweek (also The Wall Strreet Journal and Atlanta Weekly) published articles about their popularity in 1981.

1982: OAA hired a licensing company to rebrand their "Little People", which were then renamed Caabbage Patch Kids. A story was created to explain how Xavier Roberts (presented as a child of ten) discovered the Cabbage Patch Kids and the world they lived in.

1983: Cabbage Patch Kids are first mass produced, given vinyl heads, and introduced at the International Toy Fair in New York. They were massively, insanely popular, even without the publicity they got from the likes of Newsweek, and there was a marked shortage of the dolls, especially come Christmas. Some parents would do anything to get one for their kids, and there were often riots in the stores, with people getting hurt, people stealing dolls from kids and adults both, and other sorts of madness.

My dad worked at Montgomery Ward and was able to get me one during this popular era, and he told us that since the CPK were not selling well overseas, in the UK, that the company was shipping the dolls from over there to the U.S. to help suply the demand. People bought large numbers of dolls to resell them at stupidly inflated prices. The first headmolds were 1 through 4.

1984: The Preemies line is produced. These dolls were 14 inches instead of the more normal 16, though the headmolds were the same size. These Preemies are marketed as needing "extra love" because they were so small. At this oint it seemed like CPK were still being treated as babies, rather than the older 'Kids they looked to be. Later, they introduced babies and toddlers, reinforcing the idea that the regular 'Kids were suposed to be older...despite the diapers they were sold with.

1985: CPK cereal is sold (and I seem to remember it was really good, too--I even remember the commercials) and a record is cut for Parker Brothers' Music. Third Edition is produced, and headmolds 5-9 come out. (There is no #7). There were several specialty lines that came out, which were regular 'Kids in different, themed outfits, with accompanying accessories. There were Western 'Kids, Twins (fraternal and identical), World Travelers, and Show Ponies...to go with the Western 'Kids, one supposes.

1986: Holding Hands 'Kids, the ones with a thumb that has a clip iside, are sold. Headmolds through 16 (minus 13) are also produced. More specialty lines come out: Astronauts, All-Stars, and Circus 'Kids. A new line with nylon hair instead of yarn are called Cornsilk 'Kids. Babies were also introduced, CPK dolls with a bean-bag butt, a much smaller body, and usually with footie pajamas.

There were ads for Preemie twins, but they never came to pass.

1987: Talkin' 'Kids and Splashin' 'Kids (all vinyl, usually in a bathrobe or (possibly) a swimsuit) come out. Headmolds 17 and 18 appear, too.

1988: Toddlers come out this year...my favorite CPK line. Grow Hair 'Kids are also introduced. This is the year that Coleco files for bankruptcy...OAA buys back the brand frmo the licinsing company, and the first huge milestone in the 'Kids' history goes into action... (Also headmolds 19 and 20.)

1989: Coleco turns over production to Hasbro. Early on, there were a lot of "Transitional 'Kids", which were dolls with leftover Coleco molds, but with Hasbro bodies. I have one such with a poseable Hasbro body and a #5 Coleco headmold.

The Designer Line came out, and headmolds 30, 36, 44, and 45 come out. Babyland and Sippin' Babies came out, as well as an Asian 'Kid type. CK "Friend" Sets sold--a regular 'Kid and a Toddler packaged together.

1990: Poseable 'Kids come out. Before, if you wanted to pose a cloth 'Kid, you had to buy the poseable long underwear, which was a jumpsuit with thick wire inside. The Poseable 'Kids had the wires inside their bodies. Their arms and legs tend to be noticeably thicker than regular 'Kids because of this.

Hasbro also continued the (bean butt) Babies line.

Info after this is incomplete and sketchy. But I shall do my best!


1991: Pretty Crimp and Curl CPK are sold--their hair is wiry and holds its form. Iffy on the year for this one, but the one I have has 1991 on its tag. Later on, "Easy" Crimp 'n' Curl 'Kids are sold--10" dolls meant for smaller hands.

Preschool 'Kids, which are 12" dolls like the Toddler 'Kids, also came out, as well as My Own Baby.

1992: Crimp 'N' Curl Ponies and Splash 'N' Tan'Kids come out. (I love the Splash 'N' Tans.) Also Olympic 'Kids...official Olympics mascots.

1993: Zora Mae, a special edition CPK is released for the tenth anniversary. Ruff 'N' Tuff 'Kids, and all-boy line, also came out.

1994: Mattel takes over CPK

Much of my info comes from my own memories, other CPK sites (all of which are in my links section), Wikipedia, and the Open Cabbage forums...also any other sources I can find. My thanks to these sources!