The "Saucy Walker" doll made by the Ideal Novelty & Toy Co. is one of many walker-type dolls produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s that relied on a vertical rod as the main part of the walking mechanism. The dolls were designed to walk when a child held the doll's hands and moved it slowly forward. The legs, which were mounted on a metal axle, would then swing independently as the doll "walked," one leg after the other. Repairing a Saucy Walker, or any other walking doll, looks complicated but is simple once you understand how the mechanism works.
Examine the entire doll to determine what needs repair. Remove the head, arms and legs if the walking mechanism is no longer functioning.
Remove the standard swivel-type head by gently pulling the head to one side and disconnecting the rubber tie that is fastened to a metal S-hook in the neck plug. Place the head and rubber tie aside.
Remove the legs, which are mounted to a metal axle, using two screwdrivers. Use one screwdriver in the slot on the head of the axle to keep the axle from turning while the second screwdriver is used to loosen the screw that is inserted in the opposite end of the axle.
Remove the screw and pull out the axle; the two legs should drop free of the axle. Replace the screw in the axle to prevent it from getting lost.
Remove the doll's arms by removing the rubber tie that connects them. The rubber tie is strung on an S-hook that is attached to the end of each arm. The tension of the rubber tie that connects the two arms holds them in place and allows the arms to move in the shoulder socket of the doll body. Place the arms and rubber tie aside.
Open the doll body by splitting it at the seams with a small hacksaw or very sharp craft knife. Cut along the manufacturer's original seams.
Replace the voice box if needed. Check the rubber ties, the neck plug that holds the S-hook for the head, and the S-hooks on the arms for any damage. Change these before reassembling the doll. These parts can be purchased from a doll repair supply company.
Reseal the doll body using a soldering gun. Reattach the legs to the metal axle.
Restring the arms and check that the tension is correct. The arms should not hang down loosely, nor be so tight that they are difficult to move.
Reattach the head making sure it has enough tension to sit in the neck socket straight, but not too tight, as the head should move from side to side when the doll walks.
Things You Will Need
- Screwdrivers (2)
- Rubber ties to be used as head and arms connectors
- Small hacksaw or craft knife
- Neck plug
- S-hooks (if needed)
- Voice box (if needed)
- Soldering gun
Work in a well-lit area on a clean flat surface covered by a towel or soft cloth. This will help prevent the doll parts from slipping as you are working and prevent breakage.
After the repairs are made, clean the doll with a soft, damp cloth dipped in warm water and a mild soap. Avoid getting water in the doll's eyes or on the hair. Dry the doll thoroughly with a soft cloth.
Avoid using clamps when working on any hard plastic doll since many are brittle with age and can crack or break under pressure.