While American Girl dolls are called American Girl, the dolls have never been made in America. Throughout their history, American Girl dolls have been manufactured in 2 different towns: Rodental, Germany, and Shenzhen, China. I thought it would be fun to talk about these two different towns and compare their dolls!
American Girl dolls were first manufactured in Rodental, Germany by Gotz. Gotz was founded in 1950, and the look of their Romina doll inspired the face mold for Samantha, Kirsten and Molly. American Girl dolls were manufactured in Germany until the purchase of American Girl by Mattel.
German-era American Girl dolls are known to have bigger cloth bodies, chunkier limbs and softer vinyl and eyelashes.
Rodental is a small town with 13,000 residents, and was created in 1971 via the union of several smaller towns. Despite it's size, Rodental is noted for manufacturing novelty goods, both with the production of Gotz dolls and porcelain. It is also noted for it's Gothic style texture.
After Mattel bought American Girl, production of dolls moved to China. Due to a large population and labor costs, China is the biggest manufacturer of toys in the world. Many factories have manufactured American Girl dolls in China, but the majority of them are in Shenzhen.
Chinese-era American Girl dolls are known to have slimmer cloth bodies, smaller limbs, more firm vinyl in the limbs and harder eyelashes.
Shenzhen is the fourth most populous city in China, with a population of over 17 million. It is a global hub for technology, business and finance, and is nicknamed China's Silicon Valley, with several Chinese technology companies headquartered there. Shenzhen is located in the Guangdong province, where over 70% of toys made in China come from.