So today I thought I’d do something a little different and that is to start sharing a few of my childhood memories. I was born in 1977 and therefore a child of the 80s and a teenager of the 90s.
Today I’d like to start with a much loved toy and collectors item which gained huge popularity during the early 1990s. These are the Troll Dolls.
This is my current collection of cuties. Some made it with me through childhood and some are more recent cheaper replicas. I did of course have a lot more many years ago.
So where did these adorable things originate from. Well there’s quite an interesting story, which can be read online. It all started back in the 1960s and with a woodworker named Thomas Dam. He made his daughter a wooden troll and quite quickly others starting asking for similar trolls for gifts too. He opened up a factory and began creating the dolls out of plastic. Original Dam trolls differ to the more well known 1990s trolls and will have the Dam marking on the foot. I only have one of them in my collection. The one in the stripy outfit.
1990s – The Dam company didn’t stop troll production but in the USA during the early 90s the dolls began to be licensed as Russ trolls. Russ being the Russ Berrie company. This is when the troll business boomed in the Uk and Europe. And if you was a child or teen in the 90s then it’s likely you probably owned or knew someone who had these.
Russ trolls were smaller than Dam trolls and had the Russ mark on the foot.
They all came with unique names and unique collections and styles. Kids were hooked, more so girls than boys and huge collections adorned shelves and bedrooms. You could buy accessories and clothing for the trolls. There was rainbow trolls, treasure trolls, Rock trolls and so many more. It was enormous and they were in every toy store.
Unfortunately due to the trading laws at the time, other companies saw an opportunity to cash in on the troll market and other troll doll replicas were released.
The Dam company went through a lengthy legal battle to retain their rights to troll production and eventually became the Troll company. This legal battle meant that others could no longer produce troll dolls including the Russ company who eventually stopped producing the dolls.
There have been a few similar looking dolls since then but these will have different names and features. One of the recent releases was the Zelfs which are much smaller than trolls. They have some similarities but are more based on animals.
In 2005 there was a failed attempt to bring back trolls with a trollz tv series but it didn’t do very well. This was followed by many replicas over the years which didn’t really catch on either. That was until 2008.
Dreamworks acquired the full rights to the Dam trolls company and released the much known Trolls movie in 2016. Bringing out a second movie a few years later and a whole load of merchandise and brand new troll dolls with it. These are the trolls of today that my youngest daughter now loves.
So the trolls have never really gone away, they’ve just evolved and changed over the decades. It would be great to bring back the 90s collections but it’s doubtful that will happen. However eBay, Etsy and other online stores are full of sellers selling their original collections so they can still be got if you want them.
Did you collect trolls? Do you still have any? Please comment below!