||Margarete Steiff was born in 1847 and died in 1909
Development of the first soft-filled fabric toy animal
1892 The first
Steiff catalogue was published
1893 Steiff attended its first trade
1902 The Teddy bear was born - Steiff invented the first plush
1904 The "Button in Ear" was used to protect all products
Steiff sold 974,000 Teddy bears
The first Steiff animal: a felt elephant
Front cover of the 1892 catalogue
|1877 Margarete Steiff sold garments and household articles that she had
made herself in a newly formed ready-to-wear felt clothing establishment.
|1880 The first Steiff animal was created - an elephant made of felt, that
was intended for use as a pincushion. The elephant was the first soft-filled
fabric toy animal and soon became very popular with children, who enjoyed
playing with it.
|1886 5,170 elephants were sold and other animals were added to the
product range. The family business expanded. Fritz Steiff, Margarete's brother,
assumed responsibility for sales.
|1892 The first Steiff catalogue was published to give the customers an
overview of the products that had been added to the range.
|1893 The first trade fair: Steiff felt toys were presented for the first
time at the Spring Fair in Leipzig. The company was entered in the commercial
register as a toy factory.
|1895 The first foreign business contacts were established with Harrods in
|1897 Richard Steiff, Margarete's nephew, joined the company
Richard Steiff attended art school in Stuttgart. He had always
been fascinated by the relationships between humans and animals. This gave rise
to the countless drawings of animals that he produced during visits to the
"Nill" zoo. These drawings were as the basis for new Steiff articles.
A replica of 1904 Bear 35PB with Richard Steiff's original
|1902 Richard Steiff created the most famous of these in1902
- the first Steiff bear that was given the designation "55PB" (55 cm tall,
sitting, P = plush, B = jointed ["beweglich" in German]). Mohair plush, a new
material, was used for the first time to make this unusual new product.
Clifford Berryman's famous caricature showing Theodore Roosevelt with
the young bear in the backgound, was published in the Washington Post in
|1903 The legendary jointed Steiff "55PB" bear was presented
and sold for the first time at the Leipzig Spring Fair.
President Theodore Roosevelt - nicknamed "Teddy" - played an important role in
the success of the Steiff bear and in the choice of name. "Teddy" was a
passionate bear hunter.
||Clifford Berryman, a well-known American artist, began adding a
decorative little bear to all of his Roosevelt caricatures. The popularity of
"Teddy" Roosevelt and Berryman's drawings contributed towards making "Teddy's
bear" and later the "Teddy bear" world famous.
This heralded the start of
the Teddy boom and 3,000 Steiff bears were sold worldwide during the same year.
The work of the people employed by Steiff - still numbering around 1,000 as in
the past - continues to be primarily oriented to the handicraft tradition, with
the number of operations required to produce each Steiff animal averaging at
more than 30.
A total of more than 1.5 million Steiff animals were produced
over the last year. The main production facility is located in the German town
||Over the years, Margarete Steiff GmbH has become the leading
manufacturer of high-quality toys and collectors' items.
Today's Margarete Steiff GmbH is a company with an annual turnover of around 116
million DM, with national sales accounting for just under two thirds of this and
international sales accounting for the remaining third.