Steiff Bears – Teddy Bear, History, Information

Steiff, one of the most famous makers of bears, was started in Germany in 1877 by Margarete Steiff. Crippled with polio and confined to a wheelchair, she made stuffed toys with her nephew Richard, using felt left over from her uncle’s fabric factory. The first bears were based on sketches he had drawn from his visits to Stuttgart Zoo. The very first bear, made in 1902, was a 55 PB with very primitive joints attached by a string. It was presented at the Spring Fair in Leipzig in 1903 and a buyer from George Borgfeldt and Co., a major New York importer, placed a sizable order. In 1904, an improved bear, registered as Bar 35 PB, was introduced. It was smaller in size with improved joints and light mohair plush. It was very successful with 12,000 being sold that year. Later in 1904, the 28 PB, a smaller version of the 35 PB was introduced with newly patented metal rod joints and then in 1905 the very successful 35 PAB was introduced.

In the early years, every seventh bear made by Steiff had a seam down the middle of it’s head to make economical use of the fabric they had.

Two of the most rare and desirable colors of mohair for Steiff bears are white and cinnamon.

Characteristics Of Steiff Bears
Early Bears
Long arms
Hand sewn seam down the stomach

Steiff Teddy Bears
PB Rod Bear – Held together by metal rods with tightly packed wood wool and kapok stuffing.
PAB Bear – Made with cardboard joints and stuffed with kapok and excelsior.
Muzzled Bear – Very rare bear based on performing bears that toured circuses in Europe and the United States.

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  1. veronica medina sanchez 7 Apr, 2013

    Estoy iniciando una colección de osos y me agrada la información que dan.

  2. Sande 17 Sep, 2015

    How can I clean a beautiful Steiff bear on wheels 30 years old and dusty? Would like to make it perfect for my grandchildren.

  3. […] I. The sales manager, Mr. Taylor, used to be a traveling salesman for the German bear manufacturer Steiff, hence the similarities between the bears. Harwin & Co. closed down in 1930, affected by the […]

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