Say "Bru Dolls" to most antique doll collectors, and they will fall immediately into a reverie, either dreaming of their lovely Bru Bébé in their collection, or dreaming of the Bru Bébé doll they hope to own some day. Besides the classic and highly desirable Bru Bébés from 1879-1889, Bru also made fashion dolls starting in 1866 and later, less popular Bébés and a variety of novelty Bébés.
Bru (1866, Paris) was the first doll manufacturer to be settled on the Rue Saint Denis. Later other doll makers followed. Early Bru bébés were beautifully formed, delicate molded heads. The dolls had a slightly raised bust.
The earliest Bru bodies were made of goatskin and had bisque lower arms and beautiful hands. Lower legs were usually made of wood.
Early Bru dolls were not always marked. BS possible to indicate dolls of this type and origin. Early Bru dolls were marked with an incised circle or half circle and a dot; Commonly you find incised on back of shoulder B Jne. & Cie.; and E. Depose was incised on the front. In 1898, since French companies worked together many Bru dolls were marked more than once.
The findings are that genuine dolls may have a "Jumeau" marked body with a Bru marked head. In joining the S.F.B.J. Group (Société Francaise de Fabrication de Bébés et Jouets) the French companies no longer produced bisque or porcelain heads themselves. It was less expensive to import pieces from Germany than to manufacture their own. In the business, they did not change the long used French neck mark. They paid commissions and continued as designers and trendsetters.
In 1883, Bru was taken over by H. Chevrot. The company name changed to Bru Jne. & Cie., and stands for Bru Junior and Co. Under Chevrot leadership Bru dolls won many gold medals.