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The Steiff toy factory was founded in 1880 in Geingen/Brenz, Germany. Margaret Steiff, the company's
founder, was a victim of polio and confined to a wheelchair. She became a seamstress to help support herself and
began to make stuffed toys for children. In 1892, the company's first catalogue was published, offering a variety of
stuffed animals for sale.
In 1897, Richard Steiff, Margaret's nephew, joined the company. He designed a toy bear with movable arms and
legs in 1902. To make the bear cuddly, he covered it with mohair. The toy bear was displayed at the Leipzig toy
trade fair. An American trader ordered 3,000 of the bears and began to sell them in the United States as "teddy
bears." The bears became extremely popular, especially with American customers.
The original Steiff bears were made with rods through the hips and shoulders to allow for joint movement.
These bears are marked with a button in the ear showing the Steiff logo. Richard Steiff continued to design bears,
and his toys set the standard for other toy manufacturers. With a few ups and downs due to wars and economic hard
times, Steiff has continued to manufacture bears to this day.
Margaret Steiff's first stuffed toy was an elephant that she made from a pattern as a pincushion. The
small elephants became popular as children's toys instead
Steiff currently operates Steiff galleries, a Steiff collectors' club, and the World of Steiff experience museum in
In 2000 ,a Steiff Louis Vuitton teddy bear sold at auction for $2.1 million, making it the highest price ever paid
for a teddy bear