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12 Hair-Raising Facts about Troll Dolls

The Dreamworks movie Trolls is out this weekend, so we may as well learn something about the little dolls that inspired it. They were everywhere in the 1960s, and make a comeback every couple of decades or so. Their origin goes back to one craftsman in Denmark.

1. THE FIRST TROLL DOLLS WERE WOODEN.

Danish fisherman Thomas Dam was very often out of work, but he had a talent for carving figures out of wood. Though he initially carved little gifts for his children, his wife recognized the monetary potential in his hobby. She encouraged him to sell some door-to-door, which turned into a job making larger Christmas displays for a department store window in 1956. Customers began asking to buy the trolls from the displays, and before long, Dam was spending all of his time carving troll dolls to sell. Soon after, he opened a factory and switched to the more economical method of making the bodies out of rubber stuffed with wood shavings. By the end of the ‘50s, he was selling more than 10,000 trolls in Denmark each year.

4. DAM HAD A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR.

Dam seemed to know he had a damn funny name (it’s pronounced more like "dahm" than the American "damn"). Once his trolls took off, he named his toy-making company Dam Things, and the highest quality of these trolls became known as Dam Dolls. One design even went by the name Dammit.

The rest of the trivia list is actually a recounting of the troll dolls' history, and you can read it at mental_floss.


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I had one troll doll. The best thing about it was it's hair which you could play with for hours when really bored (like in school). I tried making it something to wear but my homemaking skills were rudimentary at best. Settled for wrapping a sheet of felt around it and tying a string around it's waist to keep it on. No idea what happened to it. Maybe it's lurking under my bed as I write...
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