Steiff History

  Steiff History
Margarete Steiff was born in 1847 and died in 1909

1880 Development of the first soft-filled fabric toy animal
1892 The first Steiff catalogue was published
1893 Steiff attended its first trade fair
1902 The Teddy bear was born - Steiff invented the first plush animal
1904 The "Button in Ear" was used to protect all products
1907 Steiff sold 974,000 Teddy bears

The first Steiff animal: a felt elephant


Front cover of the 1892 catalogue
1877 Margarete Steiff sold garments and household articles that she had made herself in a newly formed ready-to-wear felt clothing establishment.
1880 The first Steiff animal was created - an elephant made of felt, that was intended for use as a pincushion. The elephant was the first soft-filled fabric toy animal and soon became very popular with children, who enjoyed playing with it.
1886 5,170 elephants were sold and other animals were added to the product range. The family business expanded. Fritz Steiff, Margarete's brother, assumed responsibility for sales.
1892 The first Steiff catalogue was published to give the customers an overview of the products that had been added to the range.
1893 The first trade fair: Steiff felt toys were presented for the first time at the Spring Fair in Leipzig. The company was entered in the commercial register as a toy factory.
1895 The first foreign business contacts were established with Harrods in London.
1897 Richard Steiff, Margarete's nephew, joined the company

Richard Steiff attended art school in Stuttgart. He had always been fascinated by the relationships between humans and animals. This gave rise to the countless drawings of animals that he produced during visits to the "Nill" zoo. These drawings were as the basis for new Steiff articles.


A replica of 1904 Bear 35PB with Richard Steiff's original sketchbook.
1902 Richard Steiff created the most famous of these in1902 - the first Steiff bear that was given the designation "55PB" (55 cm tall, sitting, P = plush, B = jointed ["beweglich" in German]). Mohair plush, a new material, was used for the first time to make this unusual new product.

Clifford Berryman's famous caricature showing Theodore Roosevelt with the young bear in the backgound, was published in the Washington Post in November 1902.
1903 The legendary jointed Steiff "55PB" bear was presented and sold for the first time at the Leipzig Spring Fair.

American President Theodore Roosevelt - nicknamed "Teddy" - played an important role in the success of the Steiff bear and in the choice of name. "Teddy" was a passionate bear hunter.
Clifford Berryman, a well-known American artist, began adding a decorative little bear to all of his Roosevelt caricatures. The popularity of "Teddy" Roosevelt and Berryman's drawings contributed towards making "Teddy's bear" and later the "Teddy bear" world famous.
This heralded the start of the Teddy boom and 3,000 Steiff bears were sold worldwide during the same year.

The Present

The work of the people employed by Steiff - still numbering around 1,000 as in the past - continues to be primarily oriented to the handicraft tradition, with the number of operations required to produce each Steiff animal averaging at more than 30.
A total of more than 1.5 million Steiff animals were produced over the last year. The main production facility is located in the German town of Giengen/Brenz

Over the years, Margarete Steiff GmbH has become the leading manufacturer of high-quality toys and collectors' items.
Today's Margarete Steiff GmbH is a company with an annual turnover of around 116 million DM, with national sales accounting for just under two thirds of this and international sales accounting for the remaining third.

 

 

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