In this study, the author explains the decline of the manufacture of the famous Bébés Jumeau, the unfortunate attempts of recovery by Emile Douillet, while Emile Jumeau was impatient to withdraw from the business, and how they were in the necessity to buy heads of dolls in Germany to obtain a rate and a sufficient production, in front of the competition.





Taille réelle de la belle
publicité ci-contre : 30 X 40 cm

When the Bébé JUMEAU was created - in 1876 - Emile Jumeau, who had succeeded his father François Jumeau in the management of the company, had given himself the means to make heads necessary for his babies: so he could henceforth get out of buying them from a French manufacturer or to import them of Germany as had made his father. These means it was the factory of Rue Arago to Montreuil, built specially for china heads, with an oven of 6 m3.

The success of the Bébé JUMEAU was lightning. According to advertisements, the production of the babies, which was from 10 000 to 1879, was from 85 000 to 1881, more than 100 000 in 1882, to exceed 130 000 in 1886, and 300 000 in 1889. In ten years, manufacture expands so in considerable proportions: it is necessary to adapt . In good administrator, Emile Jumeau will know how to take bend by enlarging his premises and his lands to accommodate in it his workshops.

Of the small craft factory using 30 employees in 1879, he will spend in the heavy industry, with 1 000 workers in 1890, a real buzzing hive of activity.

Emile Jumeau bet on the quality. Anyone of the babies taken out of the factories presents a defect or a lack of solidity.

Chased by the competition, since 1881 Jumeau hears indeed be recognized by marking all the babies of his manufacture and to protect the prestige of the brand, all the babies are verified, heads quite specially. The workers porcelainiers know well that details going out of the oven are not always exempt from defects. They verifie so minutely. The too defective details are eliminated, the one that present a small defect are put in second choice..


4ème de couverture d'un catalogue de la Galerie de Chartres


But in JUMEAU workshops until 1890, it could not be question of second choice. As we were noticed a lack of painting in the decoration of the face, an inconvenient beauty spot, a bubble(bull) or a harshness in the biscuit, the head went irreparably to the breakage. The inhabitants of Longny-au-Perche, where the family Twin had its house of fields, know well that a part of the ground adjacent to the house was banked up by important quantities of this waste; this ground is now a parking.

The happy development of the company allowed this austere selection. But in 1890, many things are going to change. It is the moment of the appearance on the French and foreign markets of dolls in composition, extremely cheap.

The French as German, undertake in this new way. In 1886, Falck had produced 205 000 dolls, in 1889: 643 000, Grandjean announced 1.170.482 dolls in 1889.

This new fabrication threatened seriously Jumeau, whose dolls remained luxury objects . Now the outlets of the luxury doll were threatened with tariff barriers imposed by North America, and export had an important part in babies' salesJumeau.

And then, Jumeau had just undergone an important damage in the treason of one of his commercial directors who, by leaving him to set up his own business, had taken a big part of the clientele of Department stores, the " Louvre " in particular.

Doubtless shaken by all these new threats, although to the top of the glory, Emile Jumeau thought of removing. To tell the truth, it(he) had never had a real vocation for dolls. Architect background, man of company, he had succeeded his father only by the fact of the premature death of the elder brother in 1873, and then if he adopted dolls, it was to please his young wife who, she, had the passion of them; Well assisted and advised by her, he had been able to raise himself to the rank of a big manufacturer. l.

In the last years of century, the moment seemed so come of think of passing off of this threatened burden while it still kept all its prestige.

It is with an young engineer freshly honed by " l'Ecole des Arts et Manufactures, Emile Douillet, that Juemau chooses to deal..

Au Bon Marché 1893

He elaborated supple and careful terms of sale. He would begin with a period of association: the JUMEAU & Cie.

It is in 1890 that Emile and Stéphanie Jumeau sign with Emile Douillet. While remaining owners of the factory, Jumeau took a lessening part of profits, in the inverse proportion where Emile Douillet abandoned his to the company At the end of 7 years, the two associates had to be equally, and it was foreseen that then Emile Douillet would be only owner, with the condition always to keep naming " MAISON JUMEAU ".

But things did not happen as expected. A little because economic conditions in this end of century were hard; and maybe also because Douillet had no adequate competence for this profession. Indeed, to lead a company as the MAISON JUMEAU, it was necessary to have certainly technical knowledge ( that Douillet possessed ), but was needed also the experience, and a commercial sense sharpened to conquer and to keep markets.

The act of association stipulated that Emile Douillet had to dedicate himself exclusively to the company, but that Sir and Madam Jumeau could give to him only the time which they wanted. Curious clause, which explains himself by the fact that Twin wanted to remain free to dedicate himself to a new company which he had just created and which fascinated him: the Maison Jumeau and Jannin devoted to the photography.

Which were first measures taken by Douillet?

Is it he who urged Jumeau to institute a lawsuit to Anatole Danel, the precedent tactless director who had entered competition with him? We would be tried to believe, knowing that, in these years, the father of Emile Douillet was a judge in the Commercial Court of Paris. But this father probably acted only as of advising, because he was not among the judges of the lawsuit. And moreover, Emile Jumeau as many of his contemporaries, was enough pettifogger.

Au Bon Marché 1891


The lawsuit was lost for Danel, whose company did not get up it. On the other hand, it appears as more likely than the JUMEAU & Cie acquired cheap the spoils of the loser, the marchandises, the material, the manufacturing processes, and even brands and registered patterns (PARIS BABE, BEBE FRANCAIS). JUMEAU & Cie registered those trademarks for the boxes of packaging in 1896.

Maison Jumeau finds so its official buyers of Department Stores but conditions of discount, of delivery at the end of year are rigorous. And to keep this market, the house creates a special baby for every shop: " BEBE LOUVRE " , " BEBE PRINTEMPS" , " BEBE SAMARITAINE " etc...Babies say " fabrication Jumeau ". These babies, who wear a shirt created specially for the shop for which they are intended, appeared in 1893.

As for the true BEBE JUMEAU, with whom the head and the body are marked, one adorns it with a characteristic dress : a shirt with flowers marked with a label in the belt.

. These dolls " of manufacture Jumeau " are less expensive than the others. For it, they gave up if need be controls and they are often heads of second choice that one delivers. What moreover does not harm at presentation. Only a specialist can recognize the light defect of cooking or decoration of these heads. It is a new politics to try to fight against the competition and one will award to these dolls of second choices sold from 40 to 60 % less expensive, the names of BEBE FRANCAIS, BEBE MODERNE,, BEBE MIRACLE, BEBE PRODIGE, according to their quality and their functions(.

But the Jumeau Company still possessed only an oven of 6m3. It was insufficient to face the demand, and from before 1897 the house contacts German manufacturers of heads. It is always a question, let us remind it, of porcelain heads. It) gives preference to the House Simon and Halbig whose products seemed best to correspond to the wished quality..

Magasins du Louvre 1893/1894


According to J. and M. Cieslik, the Simon & Halbig firm supplied to Jumeau Society a whole series of heads-character wearing a number; a head with double face, number 202, has even deposited.

In fact we found in a JUMEAU inventory of the House dated 1897, the numbers of this series. It is about numbers 200 - 220; number 213 is not mentioned; number 209 is specified the whistling ; there is no specification for the number 202.

.. We think that these heads-character JUMEAU, little known in France, are well German fabrication and that, therefore their popularity was bigger in the United States and in Germany than in France.

By studying closely these heads, especially figures engraved in hollow on the nape of the neck, we can notice that their handwritting corresponds well to the German figures of time. We so studied all the heads of dolls JUMEAU of the end of the XIX ° century, in particular those marked with the red rubber stamp " TETE JUMEAU ", and we noticed that most of these heads had the same handwritting. To confirm this detail, we find so engraved in hollow on the height of the nape of the neck, either brand DEP, or a number in 3 numbers. These heads have an almost horizontal cranial cut unusual to the heads of French manufacture dolls , lips red coral and lower lashes painted upright. It does not make any doubt, they are heads of German manufacture.

What explains why, in this same inventory of 1897, one finds mention of " German heads with or without eyes ".

In the last ten years, the Maison Jumeau, maybe at instigation of Emile Douillet, widely mattered and went up on its own babies heads made in Germany. .

Au Bon Marché 1896

Bébé Jumeau à tête marquée 758



Sa nuque

But the clientele did not make a mistake there. In spite of the resemblance, moreover rough sometimes, it preferred a doll directly imported by Germany, even less expensive than the French doll.

The financial position of the Company became catastrophic. The statuses were modified as a consequence; property capital was devalued, Emile Jumeau accepting more favorable conditions for the transfer.

It was necessary nevertheless to mortgage grounds, workshops. Difficulties with the workers, strikes, fire, threatened the proper functioning of the company, which had to have appeal to loans.

When Salomon Fleischmann, whose business(case) continued to prosper, suggested to several French manufacturers uniting to maintain the French doll, Jumeau found there a good occasion to give up his company.

Conditions mattered for him little, because he had besides another company which went well . He required only that the name JUMEAU was maintained. .


The JUMEAU & Cie was dissolved, favors remaining to JUMEAU who gave up his factory, grounds, premises, workshops and all the marchandises being there. The buying price by the new company took into account mortgages, what explains evaluation few in touch with the true value of the company in state of walking.

The new Company, called S.F.B.J, took advantage of House JUMEAU installations , to continue without interruption the manufacture of dolls, and to increase its orders of dolls heads at Simon and Halbig, the oven of Rue Arago to Montreuil not being able to be enough for demands, other associates having to stop making the porcelain heads .



Anne-Marie POROT - may 2004



(1)Feischmann and Bloedel had diversified their manufacture, few dolls up-market, especially dolls in composition, less expensive, and toys.




Any reproduction rights (text and photos) even partial, rigorously
reserved © Registration of copyright B.N.F. 1998 official list 4-D4 PER-88



Au Bon Marché 1893

As a supplement to the Study which precedes, Madam A-M POROT sent us what follows:



Première Manufacture du Monde pour la fabrication des Beaux Bébés.

Le Bébé Jumeau est le JOUET NATIONAL par excellence; il est partout, il a figuré à toutes les grandes expositions françaises et étrangères et a obtenu un éclatant succès. Ses victoires ne se comptent plus, et dans ces luttes commerciales il a largement contribué à propager en pays lointains la renommée de la fabrication française.
D'une fabrication extra supérieure, il est unique en son genre, et absolumnet parfait; et si nos charmantes fillettes l'ont adopté avec joie et bonheur, c'est qu'il réunit toutes les qualité indispensables à cette perfection : Beauté, Solidité, Légèreté.
Le Bébé Jumeau est beau. -
Il doit cette qualité à son heureux modèle exécuté par le gracieux statuaire Carrier-Belleuse, et sa tête en fine porcelaine possède un décor idéal qui la distingue de toutes les autres.
Le bébé Jumeau est solide.- Il doit cette solidité à son genre de construction. Tous ses membres sont faits en bois de deux essences différentes mortaisés et collés ensemble, ce qui les rend insensibles aux variations atmosphériques et les empêche de se fendiller.
Le Bébé Jumeau est léger.- Quoique nécessitant un travail difficile, cette légèreté est obtenue en enlevant aux membres une partie de leur poids par un creusement fait avec précision avant la réunion des deux bois nécessaires à leur construction.
Avec toutes ces qualités, le Bébé Jumeau se place de lui-même au premier rang de la fabrication française et peut largement revendiquer le nom de Jouet National.

Dans leur carton, les Bébés sont toujours placés les pieds du côté de l'étiquette extérieure.

GARANTIE La tête du Bébé Jumeau a été reconnue propriété exclusive de la Maison par jugement confirmé par arrêt de la Cour d'Appel de Paris.

DEPOT La forme de son nouveaqu corps a été l'objet d'un dépôt au Conseil des Prud'hommes.

BREVETS Le système de ses yeux mobiles est breveté, ainsi que le carton qui contient le Bébé. Il est donc en règle contre les contrefacteurs.