I have a love/hate relationship with most stuffed animals and toys. I find that what I see on the shelves at the local toy stores are not the best quality and I cringe when my daughter begs for one. I still remember going to my aunt's home as a child. She had the most gorgeous stuffed bear imaginable. I always begged to play with it, and she kindly let me pretend to have a tea party with "Paddy" the bear. Paddy was a Steiff. At the time, I had no idea what that meant, but now I know it means quality and the best of the best of the plush toy world.
Steiff is the world’s oldest plush manufacturer. Steiff was in 1880 by Margarete Steiff, a seamstress who was limited to sewing with one hand due to polio. Steiff is best known as the company that invented the Teddy bear.
In 1902, Richard Steiff, a nephew of Margarete and a gifted artist/inventor, presented the idea to Margarete. At first, she was not enthusiastic. But with Richard’s persistence, she finally relented. And the rest is history.The famous “Button in Ear” trademark, introduced by Franz Steiff, another of Margarete’s nephews, in 1904, distinguishes every Steiff Teddy bear or animal.
Steiff plush are made with woven plush, while nearly 100% of the world’s output of stuffed animals is made with inexpensive knitted plush. Woven plush can be as much as 12 times more expensive than knitted plush. That’s one of the reasons Steiff products cost more, but they last so much longer! And Steiff are still made in the century-old manufacturing facility in Giengen an der Brenz, Germany using traditional hand labor.
If you have even been to an auction or antique store, you are bound to see at least one Steiff. They really last forever. We have a few and could not be happier. My daughter is partial to her Trampili Elephant (EAN 064395) (as pictured with her maniacally smiling because I agreed to let her take him to school for show-and-tell). Trampili (renamed Holly is also her bedtime pal). Her Unicorn Starly with Handbag (EAN 105052) has become the perfect accessory for play dates. My personal favorite is the Jona Teddy Bear (EAN 001055) because he brings back fond memories of Paddy and playtime as a child. He is small enough to carry around, but for now, he holds a place of pride in my daughter's dollhouse.
I truly believe that quality always outweighs quantity. I am willing to spend more money to get something I know my daughter will have forever (and maybe someday she will be making another little girl or boy very happy by letting them play with Trampili, Starly and Jona).
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