Sunday, November 1, 2015

Playing Dress Up With This Gorgeous And Very Rare Steiff Pressed Felt Faced Doll

All dressed up and nowhere to go? Not this beautiful Steiff girl doll! Although Steiff is best known for its wonderful mohair Teddy bears and animals, the company also produced extraordinary and high quality felt dolls through the early 1950's. This sweet treat is the best of all possible worlds, with her fabulous and well coordinated outfit and amazingly appealing presentation.  Let's take a look at her and see what makes her so special from the product design and historical  perspectives. 

This sweet flower is Steiff's Rosl. She is 35 cm, standing, head and leg jointed, and made from flesh colored felt. Her arms hang softly at her sides. She has well defined hands, a sweet and toddler-esque face, and shapely limbs. She comes to life with a blond mohair wig, lovely inset blue glass pupil eyes, and delicately hand painted facial features. She was made in this size only from 1939 through 1941.  

Like all of Steiff's early felt dolls, Rosl is absolutely dressed to the nines. Her elaborate, well coordinated outfit consists of a red and white cotton calico dress, a blue and white silken apron, lace trimmed white cotton underwear and slip, white socks and felt shoes, and a blue hood. The material on her apron and hood is the same. Each garment is gorgeously tailored and detailed with ric-rac, lace, and/or matching trims. It has always been Steiff's tradition to dress their dolls, especially the girl ones, in great shoes and head wear.

Steiff's pressed felt faced dolls debuted in 1936 and were produced on a commercial scale from 1937 through 1943, and then again in 1949 and 1950. Overall, about 27 different versions of these dolls appeared in the line through 1950. Over time, both boys and girl models were produced in 35 ad 43 cm. These dolls were created to replace the company's better known and very collectible early dolls with center seamed faces. Steiff had been working since the 1920's to find a way to produce seamless faced dolls. But due to the nature of the felt material, this proved to be very complicated from a production standpoint. After years of trying, the Steiff designers finally mastered the art of creating felt pressed faces by reinforcing the molded material with a plastic backing.  
 
Rosl, and all of her pressed felt faced cousins, have very delicate and well formed head features - including lifelike ears. However, her ear shape and position was not conducive for the company's traditional "button in ear" branding. As such, instead of Steiff buttons in their ears, each Steiff pressed felt faced doll was given a special red rubber bracelet that had their button and yellow flag attached like a charm, as well as a named chest tag.
 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's delightfully dressed Rosl doll has you feeling pretty today.
 

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