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Tressy is an American fashion doll whose most distinguishing features is a growing hair mechanism. Tressy was first produced by American Character Doll Co in the 1960s and later by Ideal Toy Company in the 1970s.
The trademark name "Tressy" was first used for a very successful doll with "hair that grows" that was manufactured and sold by the American Character Doll Co. from 1963 to 1965. The American Character Tressy was sold as a 15" pre-teen doll and as an 11½" fashion doll similar to Mattel's Barbie. The doll was originally invented and patented by modern furniture designer Jesse Dean and his wife, Diana. Ideal acquired the dies, patents and trademarks only after American Character filed for bankruptcy and used both trademarks Tressy and Cricket (the original Tressy's sister) on their own products in the 1970s. Ironically, Ideal initially rejected Dean when he tried to sell them the doll and only bought it after American Character turned it into a resounding success.
The Ideal Tressy doll was a 18" fashion doll introduced by Ideal Toy Company in the year 1970 as "Gorgeous Tressy" and in 1971, as "Posin' Tressy". The Ideal Tressy Doll was specially produced for and sold only by Sears & Roebuck Co and is considered by some collectors to be part of the Crissy "family" of dolls. She was advertised next to Crissy in Sears catalogs and like the Crissy Doll, Ideal Tressy's major appeal was her "growing-hair" feature. Tressy was pictured in Sears catalogs modeling exclusive Sears catalog outfits created for her and the Crissy Doll. However, Crissy Doll fashion packages do not mention the Ideal Tressy Doll as they do Crissy's companion dolls, the Kerry doll and the Brandi Doll.
In 1970 Ideal's "Gorgeous Tressy" came dressed in a yellow and white geometric print dress and panties with black bow tie shoes. This same issue can also can be found in an orange and white dress variation. This issue was released with a straight body in a white or black version. Tressy's white version had black hair and blue eyes, and the black version had black hair and brown eyes.
Ideal's "Posin' Tressy" was released in 1971 (white-only) with the Posin' body style, meaning the doll had a swivel waist that had limited movement in both the horizontal and vertical planes so the doll could strike various poses for the child at play. In 1971 Posin' Tressy could be purchased wearing a belted turquoise, satin and white lace long-sleeved mini dress and panties with matching bow tie shoes.
The trademark name "Cricket" was first used for a doll by the American Character Doll Co. in the early 1960s. American Character's Cricket was marketed as Tressy's sister. In 1971 Ideal released 16 inch tall "Posin' Cricket" with copper-colored hair, brown sleep eyes and featuring the Posin' body style. Like Tressy, Cricket was produced for and sold only by Sears & Roebuck Co.
In 1972 Sears also offered the "Posin' Tressy" doll in a special gift set. This was a satin wedding dress set which coordinated with the bridesmaid dress set also available with the Cricket doll.