Pre-Mattel dolls (or PM Dolls) is a fandom term for dolls that were released before Mattel purchased American Girl. When Mattel purchased the company, they made several changes to the doll structure. Many outfits that have been made after Mattel's purchase may and often do fit poorly on Pre-Mattel dolls.
Transition Dolls--released from about 1999 to about 2002--can have traits of both Mattel and Pre-Mattel dolls.
Features of Pre-Mattel Dolls
- Faces are chubbier and many are molded differently.
- Less face paint on cheeks and lips.
- Eyelashes are softer and match the doll's hair color closer.
- "© Pleasant Co" imprint on the back of the neck; however, this can also be on the back of Mattel Dolls as the molds were not immediately switched.
- Chubbier limbs. This can result in newer outfits not fitting arms and legs well.
- Larger feet. PM dolls may not fit Mattel Shoes.
- Softer body vinyl.
- Chubbier overall body shape. Newer outfits are shaped for Mattel dolls and can fit very tightly on a Pre-Mattel doll. Some collectors have removed the internal stuffing to slim down a PM doll to fit outfits.
- Green eyes are a less bright shade of green than in later Mattel dolls.
- Do not have the tiny "x" or star hidden in arm and leg joints, similar to the artist's mark on some dolls.
Some dolls have significant differences specific to them.
Only six Historical Characters can be PM dolls: