The two figures featured above were recently excavated from an early twentieth century privy (outhouse shaft) in the Marcus Hook area. Archaeologists from CHRS (Cultural Heritage Research Services, Inc. of Lansdale, PA) discovered the objects while performing work in conjunction with a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) project.
Although the figurines might appear to be monsters, they are in fact Snow Babies. Snow Babies were first manufactured in 1864 in Germany. Originally, Snow Babies were made of candy and used as Christmas decorations. In the 1890s, Hertwig & Co. in Thuringia, Germany began the manufacture of porcelain figurines. The porcelain snow babies were designed to look like babies in snow covered suits.
The effect of snowy icing on the surface of the figurine was created by rolling the damp baby models in crushed bisque before firing them in the kiln. After World War I, snow baby manufacturers in Japan began to compete with those in Germany. In 1987, snow baby figurines began to be made in Taiwan for Department 56. More recent examples of snow babies are shown below.
Contributed by Kenneth J. Basalik, Ph.D., President – CHRS, Inc.
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