Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's Twice As Nice With These Two Steiff Tabby Cats From The Late 1920's

Although by nature more of a "dog" person, Steiffgal has started to put a few more Steiff kittens into her meow mix lately. Her most recent additions have something in common - they are both sweet "Tabby" style cats from the late 1920's. Check out these two fantastic felines and see if they have you "feline groovy" too.

Standing Tabby in all of her glory.
This first Tabby has a purr-fectly angelic look to her. She is 10 cm tall, standing on all fours, is head jointed, and made from tan mohair that has been striped with orange highlights. Her limbs and tail are elegant and shapely Her face comes to life with oversized teal and black slit pupil style glass eyes, a light pink embroidered nose and mouth, and a spot of red right on her lips. She has a particularly inquiring look on her face. This Tabby even retains a few of her original monofilament whiskers remaining on her muzzle and forehead. This cool cat was made in mohair in 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, and 22 cm from 1928 through 1937.

Lying Tabby closely observing something.
The second Tabby appears to be lying down on the job, but that's ok in this case. She is unjointed and measures 5 cm tall and 10 cm long (not including her tail.) She is lying in a very relaxed way, as if she's observing something very interesting in the room - perhaps a dust bunny, or a window shade moving in the breeze? Tabby is made from tan mohair that is striped in more tan or light brown colored highlights. Her sweet face comes to life with oversized light teal and black slit pupil style glass eyes, a light pink hand embroidered nose and mouth, and a spot of red right on her lips. She retains most of her original monofilament whiskers. Lying Tabby, in all honesty, was made in 8 sizes ranging fro 5 to 20 cm from 1928 through 1935.

Close up of standing Tabby's face.
Both of these Tabby patterns reflected Steiff's approach to cat design and production in the 1920's. It was at this time that the company started diversifying their cat offerings, as well as matching their cats’ appearances to the cultural preferences of the time. Steiff’s cats from the mid-1920’s onward were distinctly feminine, fluffy, and playful in appearance - much like all things popular from the “roaring ‘20s.” Felines from this period often had oversized, childlike eyes; were made from brightly colored materials; and had youthful detailing or textures. They were in great demand both as playthings for children as well as companions for adults. It is also interesting to note that it was at this time that the company began giving “real” names to its cat designs, with the first one being “Fluffy,” a blue-tipped mohair sweetie who was introduced in 1926. Prior to that, any cat in the line was simply named “Cat." Fluffy was a smashing success, and remains a collector's favorite today.

Close up of lying Tabby's face.
It is safe to say that Fluffy let the cat out of the bag in terms of creating a huge demand for Steiff's cat offerings. As such, Steiff quickly followed up on Fluffy’s popularity with a number of additional cat introductions. Like Fluffy, these were all designed and named to evoke softness, gentleness, and cuddling. These included the adult “Kitty,” who was standing on all fours, fully jointed, and featured a “tail moves head” mechanism; baby “Tabby,” who was standing on all fours or lying; the exotic, blue eyed, sitting “Siamy” Siamese Temple cat; and “Susi,” a very pretty sitting, head jointed tabby cat. Kitty, Tabby, Siamy, and Susi were all manufactured through the early 1940’s. And due to their popularity, they all reappeared in the line in the late 1940’s after the factory reopened for toy making business at the conclusion of WWII.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on the company's early Tabby cats has made for a pleasant paws in your day.  

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