Sunday, December 13, 2009

Slo-ing Things Down For The Holidays

With the holidays quickly approaching, Steiffgal is certain many readers are running around like crazy, managing festive details like shopping (hopefully a new Steiff item for everyone on your list!), seasonal cards, and joyful get-togethers with friends and family. To give Steiff lovers a cause to paws (pun intended), slow down and take a look at this wonderful jumbo vintage Steiff turtle Steiffgal and Steiffguy found last weekend at an antiques show in southern Florida!

Say "shell-o" to Snuggy Slo! Snuggy was designed as a "sitztier" or sitting animal for children. He was produced from 1957 through 1974. This laid-back beauty is unjointed, 43 cm, and made from cream-colored mohair that has been exquisitely and carefully airbrushed with brown, olive, green, and black to give the look and feel of a real life turtle. He has a cheerful open mouth that is lined in peach felt and olive colored felt claws on the end of each of his limbs.

And what specifially makes Snuggy Slo a "sitting animal?" On his underside, he has a very study black metal frame which helps him keep his standing shape as well as support the weight of a child sitting on him. When he was new, he had rubber feet on the ends of his metal frame, to keep him in place and prevent floor scratching. It is easy to picture a little boy or girl resting on his back, enjoying a good book or snack!

Snuggy Slo's design is based on Slo Schildkroete, or Slo Turtle, a popular reptile that was introduced in the line in 1955 and produced through 1975. Interestingly, as far as Steiffgal can tell, Slo was the first turtle ever to appear in the Steiff catalog. Slo was made from mohair and came in 10, 14, and 22 cm. The 10 and 14 cm versions had a rubber or plastic shell and a closed mouth, while the 22 cm version was made entirely from mohair and had an open felt lined mouth. The picture above shows Snuggy Slo with his Slo cousins, so you can see the “family resemblance.” Slo was also produced as a 35 cm riding turtle on wheels from 1959 through 1975. He received a "makeover" in 1976, appearing in velvet with a PVC shell in 14 and 22 cm. This design remained in the catalog until 1984.

Snuggy Slo was part of a series of "functional playthings" Steiff started producing in the late 1950's. Steiff's universal appeal really took off a few years after the end of WWII, possibly because soldiers returning from assignments in Europe often brought Steiff items back home with them. As a result, Steiff began expanding its offerings to keep up with demand and explore the potential of new product lines. In addition to Slo, other sturdy, metal framed "sitting" mohair animals in the Snuggy series included a 30 cm may beetle (produced from 1968 through 1969), a 40 cm frog (produced from 1959 through 1966), a 35 cm elaborately airbrushed starfish (produced from 1959 through 1969), and a 55 cm elephant (produced from 1957 through 1966). All but the starfish were based on existing, beloved Steiff patterns of the time.

Readers, Steiffgal hopes this discussion around turtles and sitting items has added a much-welcomed respite to your frenetic holiday activities. (It certainly has for Steiffpug, pictured here "test sitting" Snuggy Slo!)

In a hurry to learn more about one of your Steiff treasures? Let's talk! Click here to learn more.

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