Steiff Bears: A Peek Through History

vintage steiffSteiff bears have been around for more than a century, 115 years to be exact, but its lavish and interesting history dates further back and today we’ll go on a little trip as we peek through history and see how these iconic toys have began.

1847 – On the 24th of July, Margerete Steiff was born in Giengen Germany. At the time, dolls and wooden toys were all the rage.

1849 – A year and a half later, young Margarete suffered from a severe fever that left both her legs paralyzed and rendered a painful sensation on her right arm. It was later found out that she contacted polio, the infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system and causes temporary or permanent paralysis and immobility, often of the limbs.

1862 – Margarete’s two older sisters set up a dressmaker shop. Ever since, she’s been interested in sewing so she managed to convince them to allow her to work as a part-time seamstress.

1864 – In order to pursue her becoming a seamstress and dressmaker, she attended school and took classes at 17 despite her father’s qualms about it. He was then worried that her state of predicament would make it hard for her. This, Margarete proved wrong. When her sisters got married, they left the shop to Margarete who later converted their family home into a workroom for her projects. Eventually, she managed to save up enough to buy her own sewing machine. Before that, everything was hand stitched.

1879 – On December 8th, an issue of Modenwelt magazine came with an elephant pattern project called the “Elefantle”. Margarete fancied the idea and made miniatures to serve as pin cushions. She later sold them to the women in her village. However, she later noticed that children loved playing with them and so its initial purpose of being a sewing tool was forgotten. This signaled the birth of the Steiff company.

1880 – In just a little over a year, Margarete and her brother Fritz already sold more than 5,000 Elefantles. From here, they started designing and creating lush toys fashioned after different animals.

1890 – The project was such a hit that the two managed to raise enough funds to open Filz-Spielwaren-Fabrik, a manufacturing house. Translated, it means “felt toy manufacturing facility”. Steiff produced plush animal toys like cats, dogs, horses, giraffes, rabbits, donkeys, pigs and mice.

1902 – Steiff Bears were born only after Margarete’s favorite nephew Richard came to the company. He was very fond of bears that he designed a toy in the likes of it. His prototype was then called the “Bear 55PB” with mohair and jointed arms and legs. The rest after that as they say is history.

The Villains and Superheroes of Your Collectible Teddy Bears

LV teddy bearCollectible teddy bears are a thing. Yes and they’re hugely popular too. A few clicks on your search bar will reveal that they happen to be one of the most sought after items among collectors. Also, that a particular teddy sold at a Monaco auction for a whopping $2.1 million and now resides at a beautiful museum in the province of Jeju, Korea.

So if you happen to be on the bandwagon or are still planning to, you’d likely find this article useful. That’s because today, we’ll tell you a thing or two about the superheroes and the villains that can make or break your toy collection.

The Villains

  1. Dust and Dirt – As time goes by, dust and dirt are bound to accumulate on your collectibles. They’re inevitable so cleaning supplies are always handy.
  2. Food Spills and Stains – Not only do they cause discoloration and a need to immediately have the teddy cleaned but food spills and stains are likely to attract insects and mice.
  3. Bugs and Rodents – Speaking of which, these pests will not only nibble on your pieces but they too are likely to thrive in it to the point that it becomes irreparable.
  4. Poor Storage System – The first three villains are more likely to cause terror because of this. Without good storage units, your teddy bears are bound to soak in more wear and tear. It also opens it up to more risks like accidents.
  5. Humidity and Moisture – These two will encourage the development of molds and will cause the rotting of the fur and the stuffing.

The Superheroes

  1. Ample Knowledge – If you want to be a collector and you’re serious about it, start with knowledge. There is more to collecting teddies than simply having them with you. Adequate know-how and information about your pieces and how to take care of them will really aid in better upkeep.
  2. Regular Maintenance – You need to clean, dust off and inspect them on the regular. This prevents any of the villains above to penetrate through. It shall also avoid a bad situation from getting worse.
  3. Adequate Storage – Display and storage units come in different forms, shapes and sizes. The most popular ones would be open shelving and glass door cabinets.
  4. Reach Limits – Since these items are more for display and not for play, putting them high enough so that pets and kids cannot easily reach it would be necessary.
  5. Repair Shops – Collectible teddy bears are not like your regular toys so any damages must be treated by someone with the professional expertise and the right tools.

A Guide to Buying Toys for Children

shopping-toysThe holiday season is fast approaching and do you know what that means? It is gift giving season once again and with that comes the fun but sometimes nerve wracking task of buying presents and competing on the racks with other giddy shoppers. One of the most purchased items for children during this time would have to be toys. No brainer there. But one has to make sure that you not only get something that’s fun but also one that is safe for the kids. With that said, has the following tips to a kid friendly toy shopping spree!

  • Always check the label. Government agencies and private organizations have made sure that manufacturers adequately inform their customers about their products. With toys, this is done with appropriate tags and labels sewn and stamped into the toy or on the packaging. You will know the materials used especially for kids that suffer from allergies, age appropriation and care instructions among others.
  • Avoid choking hazards at all costs. The rule of thumb is to avoid getting an item with pieces that can go in a kid’s mouth. It has to be large enough to prevent them from stuffing the toy into their mouth.
  • Avoid anything with pointed features and edges. It’ll likely cause serious injuries particularly to the eyes and mouth. This includes items that are able to shoot things into the air, doll houses with sharp corners and the like.
  • Always go for durability. Children are not the most kind of people when it comes to play so you will want to purchase something that is durable enough and will not break or crack or tear under pressure.
  • Do not buy items that are not marked as “non-toxic”. The sense of taste is a kid’s initial sensory knowledge so they are likely to put everything in their mouths. Toys that are painted should be scrutinized to ensure that materials used are toxic free and do not contain things such as lead.
  • Keep your toys age appropriate. Not everything is for everyone. Small pieces can choke while very large ones can put weight on and disable breathing. Simply put, you have to assess each toy and examine if they will fit the age of the kid you are planning to give it to. What good would it be if it’s merely for fun and danger?