The Margarete Steiff Toy Company was established with the help of her brother Fritz and eventually Fritz?s children, devoted to the production of felt toys. In the early 1900s, Margarete?s nephew, Richard, an accomplished artist and longtime lover of bears, convinced his aunt to produce a jointed mohair bear he designed. Mohair is the wool from an Angora goat and is a very durable natural fiber that requires little maintenance. Margarete agreed and when the toy was introduced at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1903 the overall reception was mixed; some even ridiculed the toy. Fate intervened and at the conclusion of the fair, an American buyer from the George Borgfeldt & Co. noticed the bear and ordered three thousand pieces on the spot. That was the lucky break every company hopes for but only few can pull off. That order put Steiff bears into mass production and the company continued perfecting their designs resulting in the bear becoming the best seller in the Steiff toy line. Steiff continued to successfully produce teddy bears in a variety of styles, as well as animals of nearly every known type, and felt dolls of very fine craftsmanship and quality. The company obtained a license to produce Mickey Mouse in Germany in 1931, and also produced the German comic-strip characters Max and Moritz and their friends from Wilhelm Busch?s popular cartoon, beginning in 1909. The dolls manufactured by Steiff are all felt, with a seam down the center of the face and represented sailors, soldiers, clowns and a wide variety of nationalities, including Native Americans and Eskimos.
Steiff North America, Inc.
24 Albion Rd. Suite 220
Lincoln, RI 02865
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