A bobblehead, also known by nicknames such as nodder, wobbler, or wacky wobbler, is a type of small collectible figurine. Its head is often oversized compared to its body. Instead of a solid connection, its head is connected to the body by a spring or hook[1] in such a way that a light tap will cause the head to move around, or "bobble," hence the name.[2]

Bobblehead figures


German Wackeldackel, English bobblehead dachshund, Dutch waggel(y) teckel

During the seventeenth century, figurines of Buddha and other religious figures called "temple nodders" were produced in Asia.[3] The earliest known Western reference to a bobblehead is thought to be in Nikolai Gogol's 1842 short story "The Overcoat," in which the main character's neck was described as being "like the necks of plaster cats that wag their heads."[4] During the nineteenth century, bisque porcelain bobbleheads were made in limited quantities for the US market.[3] Many of the bobbleheads in the US were produced in Germany, with an increase in imports during the 1920s and 1930s.[5] By the 1950s, bobbleheads had a substantial surge in popularity, with items made of either plastic or bisque porcelain.[3]

By 1960, Major League Baseball (MLB) produced a series of papier-mâché Bobblehead dolls, one for each team, all with the same cherubic face, and a few select players over time.[6] The World Series held that year brought the first player-specific baseball bobbleheads, for Roberto Clemente, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Willie Mays, still all with the same face.[7] Over the next decade, bobbleheads were also made of ceramic.[8] Within a few years, they would be produced for other sports[9] as well as cartoon characters.[10] One of the most famous bobbleheads of all time also hails from this era: the Beatles bobblehead set,[11] which is a valuable collectible today.[5]

The next increase in popularity was in the late 1990s.[12] Although older bobbleheads such as the baseball teams and the Beatles were sought after by collectors during this period, new bobblehead dolls were uncommon. Prompting their resurgence were cheaper manufacturing processes, and the main bobblehead material switched, this time from ceramic to plastic. It was now possible to make bobbleheads in the limited numbers necessary for them to be viable collectibles. On August 2, 1997, the Birmingham Barons gave away the Barons Bobblehead Doll Bobbleheads at a game.[13] The first MLB team to offer a bobblehead giveaway was the San Francisco Giants, which distributed 35,000 Willie Mays head nodders at their May 9, 1999 game.[14]

The variety of bobbleheads has grown to include even relatively obscure popular culture figures and notable people.[15][16] The new millennium brought a new type of bobblehead toy, the mini-bobblehead, which was two or three inches tall and used for free gifts in some packaged foods. Post Cereals packaged 22 million mini-bobble heads of MLB players with its cereal before opening day in 2002.[17][18]

On November 18, 2014, it was announced that the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum would open in 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum held a preview exhibit at RedLine Milwaukee from January 7, 2016, to April 30, 2016,[19] which showcased the largest public display of bobbleheads in history.[20] The 2000s also saw the rise of a competitive market for personalized, on-demand bobbleheads, typically 6–7 inches tall, from a number of online vendors.[21] In 2015, the Pope Francis bobblehead became so popular that a nationwide shortage was reported.[22]

January 7, 2015, was the inaugural National Bobblehead Day in the US.[23] In 2016, the Guinness Book of World Records mark for the world's largest bobblehead was set at 15 feet, 4 inches tall. Named "Goldie," St. Bernard, the mascot of Applied Underwriters, it was created for Applied Underwriters, designed by Nate Wells, and constructed by Dino Rentos and BobbleHeads.com.[24]

Thanjavur dolls of India

Thanjavur bobblehead doll

Thanjavur dolls are a type of Indian bobblehead doll known as "Thanjavur Thalayatti Bommai" in the Tamil language, meaning "Tanjore Head-Shaking Doll." They are a native art form in the Thanjavur region of Tamil Nadu. These dolls are usually 6" to 12" tall (15 to 30 cm). They are made of clay or wood and painted over in bright colors, and they are often dressed up in fancy clothes.[25] They form part of an elaborate display of dolls known as "Golu (kolu)," exhibited in Indian houses during the "Dasara (Navaratri)" festival in September-October.[26] These dolls are examples of how to start separating out the movements of three distinct parts of the body, namely the head, torso, and hip and skirt parts.

A different version of these, 'Thalayatti Bommai' are the king and queen versions, where the purpose is to show that the semi-circular bottoms, filled with sands, do not topple with a structure that is sharply raised, a mode that is used in building the Thanjavur Peruvudaiyar Koil. The recent excavations near the walls of the temple show bases filled with sands of different colors that indicate that the architecture of the temple has a lot more planning than simple stacking of the heavy stones.


Promotional merchandise by American corporations


In film


See also



  1. ^ Not Panicking Ltd (2 January 2012). "h2g2 - Nodding Dogs - Edited Entry". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Master's Guide on Making a Bobblehead Step-by-step by Yourself". www.cheapbobbleheads.com. Retrieved 2022-04-27.
  3. ^ a b c Frank Hoffmann, Frederick J Augustyn, Jr, and Martin J Manning (2013). Dictionary of Toys and Games in American Popular Culture. Routledge. p. 22. ISBN 9781135418533.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Steve Rushin (2013). The 34-Ton Bat: The Story of Baseball as Told Through Bobbleheads, Cracker Jacks, Jockstraps, Eye Black, and 375 Other Strange and Unforgettable Objects. Little Brown. p. 205. ISBN 9780316200943.
  5. ^ a b Jean McClelland (February 7, 2016). "Bobblehead figurines a fun beginning for collectors". Herald Dispatch.
  6. ^ "Bobblehead collection SRO at Minute Maid Park". ESPN. Associated Press. September 20, 2007.
  7. ^ Blane Ferguson (February 25, 2015). "Bobbleheads signify a dream come true for Brewers". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  8. ^ David Seineman (June 3, 2015). "Record Price For Vintage Yankees Bobbing Head Doll, $60k, Signals Hot Memorabilia Market". Forbes Magazine.
  9. ^ Harry Rinker (September 25, 2007). "A big $500 nod for 1962 football bobblehead doll". The Morning Call.
  10. ^ Robert Santelli, Jenna Santelli (2010). The Baseball Fan's Bucket List: 162 Things You Must Do, See, Get, and Experience Before You Die. Running Press. p. 193. ISBN 9780762440313.
  11. ^ Tim Neely (2011). Warman's Beatles Field Guide: Values and Identification. Krause Publications. p. 39. ISBN 9781440228247.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Sharon M. Scott (2010). Toys and American Culture: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 47. ISBN 9780313347986.
  13. ^ Ticket Information, Birmingham News, April 3, 1997.
  14. ^ "Willie Mays – 1999 Giants Giveaway". Archived from the original on 27 September 2022. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  15. ^ Daniel P. Finney (October 14, 2016). "This Iowa man can put your face on a bobblehead". The Des Moines Register.
  16. ^ Marc Bona (February 11, 2017). "Dying man donating bobblehead collection to hall of fame". Washington Times.
  17. ^ Terry Lefton (February 14, 2002). "Posting Up: Cereal Brand To Launch MLB/Bobblehead Promo". Sports Business Daily. Archived from the original on April 1, 2017. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  18. ^ "1993 Post Cereal Canadian Baseball Cards". Post Cereal Baseball Card Museum. Archived from the original on 3 August 2017. Retrieved 11 February 2023.
  19. ^ Gary D'Amato (December 13, 2016). "D'Amato: Bobblehead plan gets a nod". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  20. ^ Barry Adams (January 10, 2016). "On Wisconsin: Sports, history, business and fun with bobbleheads". Wisconsin State Journal.
  21. ^ Daniel Finney (October 23, 2016). "Man builds personalized bobbleheads as business". Washington Times.
  22. ^ Susman, Tina (24 September 2015). "Pope Francis inspires a craze, and a quest, for a bobblehead doll". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  23. ^ Paula Jacobs (January 7, 2017). "When National Bobblehead Day Isn't A Laughing Matter". Forward Magazine.
  24. ^ "Goldie becomes world's biggest bobblehead". albanyherald.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  25. ^ Trisha Bhattacharya (March 3, 2013). "Elegance in motion". Deccan Herald.
  26. ^ Lalithaa Krishnan (September 10, 2015). "Heralding Navaratri". The Hindu.
  27. ^ "Practice Your Bobble!". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  28. ^ YouTube, a Google company. YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-11. Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  29. ^ Fans Waiting in Line for Release of Wackel-Elvis, 06/11/2001, Die Welt (German)
  30. ^ Elvis Audi Werbung. 26 May 2008. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 26 January 2016 – via YouTube.
  31. ^ Wackel Elvis. 22 July 2007. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 26 January 2016 – via YouTube.
  32. ^ "Bobbleheads".
  33. ^ "The Office Episodes - Valentine's Day Episode". the-office-tv-show.com. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  34. ^ Jacob E. Osterhout (September 7, 2010). "B'klyn teen creates world's largest bobblehead - NY Daily News". New York Daily News.
  35. ^ "Chicago Sun-Times - Chicago : News : Politics : Things To Do : Sports". Chicago. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  36. ^ "Selling Out". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  37. ^ "EXHIBITOR magazine - Article: What About Bobbleheads?, March 2007". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  38. ^ "What's next for Dave Brown?". 22 May 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  39. ^ "Action News 5 "Bobblehead Dave Brown" OFFICIAL PROMOTION RULES". 24 April 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  40. ^ Cher in Bobbleheads: The Movie trailer