Timeline of Mannequin Design and Development

by Lynn Ellen Bathke




1350 B.C.

King Tut

In 1923, Howard Carter found an armless, legless wooden torso constructed to the measurements of the pharaoh next to his clothes chest.

17th -18th c.

Pandora Dolls

Small and Life-size dolls in the contemporary European 17th & 18th c. fashions. Two main styles: Grande Pandore (court attire) and Petite Pandore (everyday attire).

mid 18th c.

Artist Lay Figures

Wooden lay figures, with moveable brass joints, were used to model clothing and fabric draping for artists such as Arthur Devis and Joshua Reynolds.



Wickerwork mannequins with legs, but no head and arms are made to order.


Marie (Madame) Tussaud

Creates her first wax sculpture of Voltaire.


Figure of Madame de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour figure discovered and destroyed by revolutionaries at Choisy-le-Roi.



Basketwork dummy filled with stuffing and leather, too light and unstable for use.



Parisian ironmonger introduces wirework model with legs, but no head and arms.


Professor Lavigne

First patented “trunk-mannequin”—Headless mannequin torso, made to accommodate large skirts and bustles of the time. Lavigne opened a mannequin house in Paris.



English artist displays headless mannequin with articulated wire to accommodate any position, 7000 pieces

1869-20th c.

Fred Stockman

Stockman, student of Lavigne, opened his own mannequin house in Paris. Offered flexible mannequins with legs, moveable hip and knee joints to be displayed riding a horse or bicycle, jointed fingers, realistic papier mâché or cast wax heads, stuffed with sawdust.

late 19th c.


Papier mache and wax heads were manufactured at mask factories such as Robert Capia.

early 20th c.

Pierre Iman

Mass production of mannequins. Mannequins constructed with papier maché torsos with wadding and canvas. Wax head, hands, and neckline, and articulated waist and arms. Iman developed invisible locksmith feature to attach mannequin to the floor.

early 20th c.

Raymond Loey

Discovered showroom lights melted wax mannequins at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. He introduced a new plastic, cira dura (mixture of natural wax, stearine, paraffin, and carnoba).

early 20th c.

Pierre Iman

Pierre Iman’s workshop developed a more durable plastic for hands and arms, carnesine (plaster and gelatin), and reduced overall weight.



A mannequin was covered with pieces of broken mirror at the Salon d’Autumne at the beginning of the Cubism movement.

early 20th c.


The Siegel mannequin company partnered with Stockman to form Siegal & Stockman. Solid papier mâché body, wax faces, very heavy (250lbs).


Giovanni Rosa

Founded first Italian mannequin manufacturer.


Siegel & Stockman

Victor Napoleon Siegal merged with Stockman to form Siegal & Stockman. Developed hollow paper mâché mannequin cast in one piece from head to toe. Employed artists and fashion designers to create surreal, stylized mannequins for the latest fashion designers. They won first prize at the Arts Decoratifs.


Jérôme Le Maréchal

Sculptor Yani Paris produced mannequins based on latest fashion drawings from artists like Préjelan and Boutet de Monvel.


René Herbst

Designed a stylized mannequin from a carved wooden plank with detachable arms and head.


Jean Léon, André Vigneau, Herbault, Laverièrre and Hussenet

Succeeded in producing a translucid mannequin from cira dura



Mannequin manufacturer founded in New York City.


Lifelike mannequins had equal footing with stylized figures, all body types were depicted.


Lilian Greneker

Flexible and athletic mannequins were used for Lord and Taylor


Cora Scovil

Mannequins were constructed to look like the latest Hollywood stars.


Lester Gaba

Designed mannequins that resembled New York heiresses and socialites for Saks department store, later depicted Hollywood stars in papier mâché. Mannequin supports in soles of feet. Gaba posed for Life Magazine with his mannequin Cynthia, documenting a night out on the town in New York.


Mannequins were made entirely of plaster due to lack of materials during wartime, mostly depicted as blonde.


Maury Wolf and David Vine

Developed first fiberglass mannequin


Nanasai Co.

Japanese mannequin company founded. First female mannequin made from fiberglass in 1947. Later created period mannequins for the Kyoto Costume Institute (KCI), representing body types from 18th c. to early 20th c. body types, used in museums worldwide.


Mary Bronson

Designed the “New Look” mannequin to accompany Christian Dior’s fashions. The mannequin had sloped shoulders, nipped in waist, and full hips (a large contrast from the broad shouldered, slim hipped mannequins of the previous decades).


Romano Bonaveri

His Italian mannequin company was founded. Coined the Ferrari of mannequins.


Charles James

Sculpted mannequin for Butterfly gown. The mannequin had a convex abdomen, tucked derriere, and shoulder blades that extend farther back than the buttocks. Mannequin studies carried out at The Brooklyn Museum.


Victoria Nat

Siegal employed Nat to design a children’s mannequin with chubby legs and large eyes.


Earl Dorfman

Founded Dorfman Museum Figure, Inc. in Baltimore, MD.


Jean-Pierre Darnat

Created the Darnat Girl mannequin with a slim line and adolescent attitude, big enamel eyes with eyelashes, real hair wig (employed famous hair stylists and make-up artists). Later, he focused on the development of fiberglass and polyester mannequins.


Adel Roostten

Employed sculptor John Taylor to produce a new line of mannequins inspired by London’s youth generation, and developed to reflect the changing postmodern woman of every race. (Used models such as Twiggy in the 60s, featured loose breasts and prominent nipples in the 70s, and became more muscular in the 80s and 90s).


Prifo Abstracts

Created an abstract humanoid mannequin, the Long Jenny, with almond eyes, long limbs, and egg-shaped head.


Cyril Peck

Founded Hindsgaul Mannequins, naturalistic model, and Darrol Mannequins, stylistic model, in Denmark.


Ralph Pucci

Designed Action Mannequins (jogging, diving, handstands) at the beginning of the aerobics craze of the 80s and 90s. Each decade, he collaborated with contemporary artists and designers to celebrate pop culture in his mannequin designs.


Robert Filoso

Founded Filoso Mannequin Inc. in Los Angeles. He manufactured realistic mannequins, sculpted from life, in one pose with slight variation of arm and hands.



Created realistic and abstract custom museum mannequins and fashion mannequins for costume exhibition and retail.


Bonaveri Co.

Bonaveri Co. started manufacturing the Swedish Schläppi mannequin, which became popular in museums worldwide to display fashion exhibitions.