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An Interesting Tale About The Steiff Bear

steiff elefanteleA Steiff bear is no doubt on the frontline of the toy industry for many reasons. Apart from the brand’s undeniable quality in the manufacture of their toys from beginning to end, it’s also no secret that they started it all. Yes, German brand Steiff was the pioneering company to first produce the ever beloved toy we adore then and now.

It’s over a century old but it still has the chops when it comes to these hit cuddly wonders. Ever wondered how it came to be?

It all began with the birth of its founder, Margerete Steiff, in Giengen Germany back in the 24th of July in 1847. At a year and a half old she was diagnosed with polio, an infectious viral disease affecting the nervous system that leads to temporary or permanent paralysis, which caused both her legs to become paralyzed accompanied by a painful sensation on her right arm.

Despite her condition, Maragrete grew to become a happy child who had a certain knack for creativity. Despite her father’s hesitation, she went to school and took up sewing classes that by the age of 17 she has completed her seamstress training. When her sisters opened a dressmaker shop in 1862, she participated as a part-time seamstress. When her sisters married later and left the shop, Maragarete took the reins. A decade later, she has converted what was once their family home into a workroom for her dressmaking projects.

But it wasn’t until December 8, 1879 when the idea of plush toys began. After seeing a photo of a fabric elephant in an issue of the magazine Modenwelt, she decided to use the pattern to make a pincushion in the shape of an elephant which she called as the “Elefantle”. But after selling them off, she noticed that kids played with them instead. This led her to the idea and the birth of the Steiff brand as a toy manufacturer.

In 1880, over 5000 pieces of the Elefantle was sold. With the help of her brother Fritz, they began making more stuffed animal designs and opened a manufacturing house called Filz-Spielwaren-Fabrik.

But it wasn’t until 1902 that the Stieff bears were born. Margarete’s favorite nephew Richard started to help out in the company and designed toys. He was particularly fond of bears that he decided to make a toy like it. Known as the “Bear 55PB”, it was a 5-jointed mohair plush toy with movable arms and legs. Since then, it was an uphill soar.

Check out http://www.steiffteddybears.co.uk for more on Steiff.

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Places to Shop for Steiff Teddy Bears

steiff-teddy-bearSteiff teddy bears are no doubt a favorite when it comes to stuffed animal toys. Both children and the kids at heart would attest to that. Their charm is undeniable and the quality in which they have been manufactured is immensely commendable. These teddies are popular not only in their regular and mass produced designs but all the more for their limited edition variants and vintage pieces. There is a lot of history and a whole slew of stories neatly tucked within each toy. For sure, you’d love to get yourself one or maybe two or even three! If that’s the case then behold the following list of places for you to scout for Steiff teddy bear!

  • TOY SHOPS

This one is the most predictable and obvious item on our list. Where else would your reflexes lead you but to the toy shops, boutiques and department stores in town! This is the place to be if you are looking for the latest designs in the market. Obviously if you are going for vintage, limited edition and collectible pieces, this won’t cut it.

  • ONLINE STORES

For convenience, you may also shop from online stores like steiffteddybears.co.uk . They sell a whole assortment of Steiff teddy bears in a very wide range from the newest designs all the way back to the oldest ones. Your challenge here however is in authenticating the seller or website from whom you wish to buy from.

  • GARAGE SALES

Don’t discount garage sales as they can tremendously surprise you. People tend to let go of their old and unused belongings and what might seem redundant or useless to them might be of worth to you. It’s worth a try.

  • THRIFT STORES

Stores like Goodwill and other thrift places contain gems only if you know how to find them. The best part is they often come cheap and affordable. Just see to it that the bear is still in really good condition.

  • ANTIQUE AND VINTAGE SHOPS

Just like garage sales and thrift shops, antique and vintage stores are considered to be a treasure chest on its own. There are hundreds of bits and bobs for you to find and Steiff teddy bears could be one of them. It’s a hit or miss but why not try?

  • AUCTIONS

This is the place to be if you are really into collecting vintage and exclusive Steiff teddy bears. Auctions can be pretty expensive but this will overall depend on the toy at hand.

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