History of Dolls from Olot
Olot is well known for its religious imagery industry, but in the 30s of last century dolls were also manufactured in this town. In spite of the informations that can be found in the bibliography, the dolls were only manufactured in a single workshop: the N.O.C company, Nines Olotines Coll (Dolls from Olot by Coll).
The owners of the company were Joan Coll i Molí (Geografia, Història y Guia de la M. L. Ciudad de Olot, R. P. Juan Vila – piarist– Olot 1946 – pages 158 and 172) and two associates: Joan Masies and Antoni Bandranes. The company worked since 1934 to the fifties.
Once Joan Coll passed away, his son Agustí Coll i Cantero ( 1923–2006) took care of the company. He gave us most of the information about the Dolls from Olot. Today the workshop does not exist anymore but at that time it was at the current September 11th Avenue, number 24. Offices, and moulding and packaging sections were located at ground floor; retouching section was at first floor; painting at second floor; and drying was at the top of the Building.
Dolls were manufactured according to the same procedure that the religious statuary: chalk was mixed with paste made of wood and board but bucaran was used instead of sackcloth because it was thinner and softer.
Dolls from Olot by Coll, marketed undressed and dressed dolls, mainly in Barcelona. 80% of its production was sold to the company Vídua Anglada (Anglada’s widow) company in charge of marketing the dolls in the famous (at that time) SEPU and Capitolio stores. The remaining 20% of sales were marketed in the Canary Islands.
Curiously, in Olot these dolls were sold only to friends and acquaintances and, time to time and only in important dates, in shops.
Besides of dolls, also bibelots (decorative pieces representing romantic ladies in vintage dresses) were manufactured.
At the end of the Spanish Civil War and due to the circumstances all of us know, with repression on the catalan culture, the company kept the same initials (NOC) but changed to NOVEDADES OLOTENSES COLL (Novelties from Olot by Coll)At that time different molds were used to make dolls. The most sold dolls were the Shirley Temple, the prodigious girl, absolutely in fashion; the “Babys” and Crybabies (Ploraners) with a small loudspeaker in the belly were second and third in sales..
Josep Traiter and Esteve Muntanyola, amongst others, worked in the company as sculptors.
In the fifties, the Tortuga German dolls (more resistant) and the rising of the plastic as raw material caused the fall down in sales of the dolls from Olot. Finally the production was stopped, and the company went back to the roots: “saints” were produced until the definitive closing of the company.
Agustí Coll Cantero, 1923-2006, his father was an associate of the company and himself worked in it for some years
Book “La Joguina a Catalunya” by J. Corredor-Matheos, Edicions 62 – 1981 ; pages 143 & 144 and cover
Book “Geografia, història i guia de la M. L. Ciudad de Olot” by R. P. Juan Vila – piarist – Olot 1946; pages 158, 172 & cover
Paper published by Mariona in La Comarca, January 22nd 2009 about her research of the Dolls from