French and German antique porcelain dolls can be found going as far back as the 1840s. Bisque figures, having a realistic non-glazed skin-like look, continued its productivity until the late 1920's. Between 1860's to 1890's fashionable lady figures were the biggest trend, always wearing glamorous gowns often trimmed with lace. French designers were widely known for these lovely figures of fashion. One of the most well known producers of the antique bisque figures was from the Jumeau Company. In the middle 1840's Pierre Francois Jumeau established his own doll company. Within a few short years Pierre Jumeau's company was the leading doll manufacturer, winning medals for his talent largely to do with the fashionable dresses worn by his lovely French fashion figures. In the 1850's, the even more improved porcelain figures had been designed and added to the inventory. He began making his own porcelain heads and even started selling them to other companies. His works of art were always dressed in the latest fashions, wearing beautiful feathered hats, shoes and carrying purses, parasols and sometimes muffs. In 1877 Pierre's son, Emile- Louis, started managing the company and introduced a baby look-a-like figure. In 1878 the company was awarded with a gold medal at the Paris Exhibition for having beautiful, well-dressed creations. The company of Jumeau, continued to get awards for their high quality figures. It has been noted that the company had over two hundred employees from the 1870's to the 1890's. Each year one hundred thousand figures were made there.
In the 1850's Adelaide Huret was known for designing popular French fashion figures as well. These attractive figures would be wearing exquisite costumes, hats and accessories. Huret's lovely creations are well sought after today and usually cost around fifteen thousand dollars each. French baby figures, looking like well-dressed infants and children were also becoming popular in the 1850's. Other Bisque designers were Gaultier, Rohmer and Bru, whom all designed French baby figures which, until the late 1890's, monopolized the doll industry. Jules Nicholas Steiner opened for business in Paris in 1855 offering an exquisite looking series of French babies. Steiner's series of French bisque babies also included a small child look-a-like that cries. He eventually closed his doors in 1908. Steiner and Brus, were each talented artists who designed their own porcelain heads, which had captivating faces, and beautiful glass eyes. In Paris wealthy families would buy these enchanting treasures for their children. Bru Babies are more difficult to find than Jumeau figures. Bru Babies were usually painted creatively, with child like bodies and having bisque hands. Most of his figures were patented with special features. There was a variety of Bru figures, such as a walking baby, a nursing baby, a musical baby and one with which children could feed their baby. He had many more infant-like creations available in the late 1800's. Eventually, many brands of baby look a likes became more popular than the sophisticated figures of fashion. These baby look a like figures were usually wearing the finest clothing designs, which resembled outfits being worn by small children of the elite. Such masterpieces created by Bru or Jumeau, will likely cost about twenty thousand dollars today.
In the late 1800s and early 1900's, German companies, such as Halbig, Simon and Kestner, made figures often said to be 'dolly faced' creations. Kestner created lovely fine quality collectibles which are readily sought after in the present time. Kammer, Reinhardt and Heubach also made very realistic child-like figures in the early 1900's.The German companies continued to flourish. In1899 most of the French doll makers formed an association to build a strong French manufacturing group. They were named the SFBJ which (in English) translates to mean The Society and Manufacturers of Babies and Toys. The team united in order to compete against the German manufacturers who mass produced more affordable baby figures. Collectors may easily find German made dolls manufactured from about 1890 to 1930. The French Babies were high in demand from 1850's to late 1890's, just as reborn baby dolls are popular, today.