Steiff is famous for their hand-made German Teddy Bears with The Steiff Button In The Ear. Each Classic, Collectible Steiff Teddy Bear is meticulously hand-sewn and hand-finished with jointed parts and silky mohair coverings by a team of talented artisans in Giengen, Germany.
The Steiff Company was founded in 1880 in Giengen an der Brenz, Germany by Marguerite Steiff. Marguerite suffered from polio, as a result, she lived her life in a wheelchair and had limited use of her right hand. However, she did not let her disability hold her back. At 17, she enrolled in a sewing school and started training as a seamstress. She excelled at her craft and was rewarded by her father who converted part of the family home into a tailor shop for Marguerite. Soon after, she started her own felt clothing business.
One day, Marguerite saw a sewing pattern for a small elephant, which she thought would make an ideal pin cushion. So many people commented on her pin cushion that she decided to turn the little elephant into a stuffed toy. Her brother Fritz began selling the elephants at a local market and soon they became a popular children’s toy. The Steiff stuffed animal business had started. Soon many other animal designs were added and the business grew.
Marguerite’s nephew, Richard Steiff, joined the company in 1897. His sketches became the basis for many of Steiff’s creations. In 1902, he designed “Bear 55PB”. This was the world’s first stuffed toy with moving arms and legs. When searching for the perfect covering for his bear, Richard discovered mohair from a local supplier which was cuddly and the perfect color for his bears. Soon an American trader discovered the bears and ordered 3000. The bears became extremely popular in the USA and from 1906 on were known as Teddy Bears after President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Steiff tradition continues to this day. Manufacturing is still done by hand in Steiff’s 100-year-old factory in Giengen, Germany. Steiff is recognized worldwide for their quality stuffed animals. The value of their stuffed animals and teddy bears increase as they age and continue to fetch top dollar on the auction market.
Steiff has expanded their market to a more general audience by introducing Steiff Soft Cuddly Teddy Bears. These more affordable, cuddly teddy bears are the perfect introduction for children and new collectors.
Excerpt from The Steiff USA Web Site
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The "Button in Ear"
A worldwide trademark of unmistakable quality
In 1904 Franz Steiff, Margarete’s nephew was looking for a way to protect Steiff products from imitation. His great idea later became the epitome of quality and handiwork: a metal button in the ear as a protection label. Initially engraved with an elephant motive, the metal button soon wore the trademark and therefore became inseparable with the brand.
"Steiff - Button in Ear" is a world wide renowned and unique trademark, which still stands for quality, richness of ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.
Light, fine and extraordinarily soft: this is one of the most exquisite raw materials in the world - Alpaca. For the Incas it was worth its weight in gold and the appreciation of the hard wearing luxury hair has not changed until today. Steiff animals made of Alpaca are extraordinarily soft, hard wearing and remain beautiful for a very long time. And because exquisite materials never lose their beauty, touching your Steiff animal is still just as nice in many years time as at the beginning.
Steiff's Purity Law
When we say that "for children, only the best is good enough" then that's no empty promise but rather a creed we have been living for generations: children are our present and our future. All cuddly animals we produce and sell must therefore more than comply with the highest demands with regard to quality, safety, processing and material characteristics.
We place this standard above all other specified international controls and tests. Steiff's purity law is a fixed component of Steiff's corporate culture and is the basis for the trust our customers have bestowed in us for many years: that's what the Steiff seal stands for.
Yes, admitted we are very strict towards ourselves and our animals and Teddy Bears. In this respect we know absolutely no compromise: All Steiff creations must comply with the very highest demands.
Over the years, we have therefore developed the strictest criteria where quality, safety, workmanship and materials are concerned. We also set these standards above all prescribed international controls and tests summarized and anchored in Steiff's Purity Law.
This purity law is a fixed component of our corporate culture and our responsibility towards our customers. After all, we enjoy their trust. A trust grown from more than a century of company history across generations. And this is a trust you cannot buy, but rather is given from people like you. And that is something we are proud of. The seal stands for all of this.
- FREE OF POLLUTANTS
We voluntarily go above and beyond the standards required by law, as we are convinced that only toys that are completely harmless to health deserve the good name of Steiff.
- HARMLESS DYES
With all dyes, we have voluntarily set the limit values more stringently than required by law. There is no worry whatsoever over children putting Steiff products in their mouth.
- TOP QUALITY MATERIALS
In our own Steiff Schulte weaving production facility in Duisburg, we weave the finest natural fibers such as mohair and alpaca or woven fur made of synthetic fibers.
- FINEST PLUSH QUALITY
The plush of a Steiff toy has always been something special: it is exceptionally lifelike, soft, durable, and sheds almost no hair. We use only top quality outer material.
- HARMLESS STUFFING
We use only brand new, harmless materials for the stuffing in our Teddy bears and cuddly toys.
- BEST SEAM WORKMANSHIP
This is ensured by the standardized Steiff seam width as well as the high stitch density that is typical only for toys from our company. A Steiff toy therefore will last a lifetime.
- HYGIENIC PRODUCTION
In the production of our toys, we pay careful and thorough attention to compliance with all hygiene and purity requirements. We therefore use metal detectors throughout the entire production processes.
- INDEPENDENTLY CHECKED
We have had our products checked by independent institutions for decades and we work intensively with further independent institutions such as TÜV and Dekra. In our laboratory at Giengen an der Brenz we additionally carry out over 12,000 tests per year. The Steiff quality management is certified according to DIN EN ISO 9001.
- UNRIVALLED QUALITY SINCE 1880
Our production is completely environmentally friendly across all the stages and keeps in mind the immaculate quality and durability of our products. A Steiff toy can therefore be a companion right through childhood and still give great pleasure even into adult life.