Half dolls are reminiscent of both the 19th and 20th centuries. Records mention half-doll pincushions as early as 1747. The early ones were made mainly in France and Germany, by craftsman such as William Goebel, Cuno & Otto Dressel, J, D. Kestner, and Gerbruder Heubach. The finest of them were made by Goebel. Often the 20th Century dolls had number or marks from the manufacturer.
Many were stamped "Germany" and later "Japan". They can be made of any material, but most that you find today are porcelain; some are papier mache, and even painted chalk from the 1950's. They were used on pen wipers, dresser puffs, brushes, powder box covers, and tea cozies. Imagine them setting on M'Lady's dresser or atop the teapot as she held her parties.