With life size plush toys, a whole new way to play is immediately opened up for a child; no more pretending a lion or tiger is about to pounce in their make-believe jungle, but rather, they can have a soft toy that is almost as big as the real thing. With toy bears that are 7.5 feet in length or giraffes that are 4.5 feet in height, life size plush enables a child to bring the real animal to ‘life,’ all in the comfort of their own home.
The economy in Germany was nothing short of a disaster after the country’s defeat in the war in 1918. With the Treaty of Versailles in place as of June 28, 1919, the territory was given up to Poland, Belgium, France, and Czechoslovakia. Under the newly formed League of Nations, all German colonies were given to the Allied Powers to administer which meant that the former German markets were much smaller than they were before. It was during this newly created environment that the once lauded German teddy bear industry that had become lost to British manufacturers during the war, was able to bounce back.
The original Steiff teddy bears (which were the first teddy’s ever created) were made with mohair, but after the war it was very hard to come by in Germany. In order to resume the production of teddy bears, other types of materials had to be found. The creator of the Steiff company, Margarete Steiff decided to use a cellulose plush which was made from nettle fibres. This particular bear was called ‘Brennessel Bär,’ and it was quite uncomfortable to hold since the fibers it was made from were very coarse. Between 1919 and 1921, a total of 19,556 of these bears were produced and today they are highly valued by collectors because of their novelty value.
After the war, Steiff also returned to using boot-button eyes on their teddy bears but as soon as they could get glass eyes again (which is what their original bears’ eyes were made of), they were used universally. Most of the teddy’s from the early 1920s had clear glass eyes with backs that were painted brown and black pupils. The classic teddy bear Steiff was known for, stayed very close to its 1905 design – a bear that had long arms, large feet with narrow ankles, a humped back and a protruding muzzle. In 1921, Steiff introduced kapok stuffing and every bear from then on was lighter and fatter than before. In the same year, a conveyor belt system was introduced in the [Steiff] company which ultimately sped up production, but all the work on the soft toys was still done by hand (as it is today).
After the horror of the war, peoples spirits needed lifting and Steiff brilliantly read the international mood just right. In the 1920s, they introduced a variety of cheerful, lively bears that couldn’t help but bring a smile to the lips of all who owned them. Some of these teddy’s were dressed (including one called ‘Teddybu’ which was a classic bear that was white, golden, or dark brown) in a vest that was full of color. Other teddy bears had brightly colored fur – Teddy Rose – a pink, long-haired bear that was available in 1925.
One of Steiff’s most popular novelty bears was Teddy Clown which was introduced in 1926. It was available in 11 sizes that ranged from 9 inches to 45 inches and wore a distinguishable white Pierrot’s hat and ruff around its neck. Petsy was another teddy bear introduced around the same time as Teddy Clown and it stood out because of its blue eyes and pink-red embroidered nose. Petsy was ‘blessed’ with large ears and with the use of an internal wire frame, could be moved around into different positions. Ten different sizes of Petsy were released in addition to a glove puppet and some that were on a wheeled chassis.
Just imagine the endless hours of fun that could be had with a life size plush teddy bear. Any child would fall all over themselves with joy after setting their sights on something so marvellous. If you’re in the market for the next gift to give for a special occasion, look no further than life size plush.