This youthful Steiff fellow is called Infantryman. He is 28 cm tall, fully jointed, and made from felt. He has truly human proportions. His olive green uniform is integral to his body. It is trimmed in red felt and tiny brass buttons that are detailed with tiny stripes. His matching felt hat is "stenciled" with the number 28, most likely to coordinate with his size in cm. He wears light brown oilcloth boots that have tan felt heels and soles. His face and hands are made from flesh colored felt. His face comes to life with piercing blue and black glass pupil eyes, a pert nose, a painted mouth, and rosy cheeks. Infantryman was made in 28, 35, 43, and 50 cm from 1914 through 1920 overall.
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In addition to his breathtaking appearance and condition, this doll also deserves a salute for his absolutely incredible, and all original, field equipment. It is really unbelievable that all of these tiny objects have survived together, and intact, for a century. These include two perfectly scaled wooden ammunition boxes on the front of his leather belt; a wooden rifle with a leather shoulder strap; a grey felt water canteen; a buttoned canvas rucksack; a metal sword suspended from a decorated leather scabbard; a rolled up, grey felt blanket wrapped with leather ties; and a brown short pile plush backpack on leather straps. This fully functional backpack closes with metal fittings. The canteen, rucksack, and sword and scabbard all hang from the back of his leather belt on leather straps.
Steiff made many military themed dolls in the early part of the 20th century. In a span of about two decades, starting in the early 1900's, Steiff produced examples representing German, Scottish, Moroccan, Turkish, Dutch, Russian, American, Belgian, French, Italian, and Austrian armed forces, among others. Well over 100 distinct designs were produced over this time frame; most of these patterns were produced in multiple sizes. In tribute to some heavy hitting militaries, like Germany, England, and the USA, Steiff produced dolls at numerous ranks and in various uniform types. The doll's uniforms, for the most part, closely matched those of their real-life counterparts, down to colors, trims, and styles.
However, this particular Infantryman style doll is among the most detailed of all the models produced, given the amazing attention given to its accessories, scale, and overall presentation.
It is interesting to note how distinctly "friendly" and youthful this doll appears. This is absolutely on purpose. As mentioned previously, this doll design debuted in 1914. At this point in history, World War I had begun. Because of this geopolitical reality, Steiff’s doll designers were instructed to update their soldier doll patterns - which to this point were somewhat caricatured - and make them good looking, charming, and credible. The company's previous, more "cartoonish" soldier designs were seen as disrespectful to the real life men fighting in the trenches for their country.
Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this well accessorized Steiff soldier has filled in all the details for you.