Tuesday, November 8, 2016

This Steiff Silk Plush Foal Is This Week's Mane Attraction!

Pony up and check out this fantastic find from a new friend on the West Coast. Apparently she purchased him as part of group of other vintage and antique toys, including a few dolls and other stuffed animals. But in addition to his pretty presentation, this farm friend also has tremendous horsepower from the historical and product development perspectives. Here's why!

It's off to the (horse) races with this sweet example of Steiff's young "Foal." He is 28 cm tall, standing on all fours, unjointed, and made from white and tan artificial silk fabric. His body is lightly airbrushed with brown on his back, legs, and head. His diamond shaped forehead blaze is white. Foal's ears are lined in a felt-like material and highlighted with pink airbrushing on their insides. His hooves are made from brown felt. His mane and tail are made from slightly longer artificial silk plush. Foal's dear face comes to life with brown and black glass pupil eyes, painted nostrils, and a touch of airbrushing around his eyes for dimension. He proudly wears his short trailing "f" button in his ear as his Steiff ID. Foal was made in this size only in this material in 1948.  

This artificial silk plush foal occupies a most distinctive stall in the barnyard lineup, spanning both pre- and postwar production. Here's where he fits into the timeline of his great pattern.

  • 1932-1943:  The first version of this foal appeared in the Steiff line in 22, 28, and 35 cm and was made in wool plush.
  • 1948:  Here is where today's silk plush foal fits in; he was made in 28 cm only.
  • 1949-1951:  Foal again was made in wool plush, but only in 28 cm.
  • 1952-1961:  Foal is now produced in 14 cm and 28 cm; the 14 cm version is made from velvet with felt ears and a mohair tail and mane while and the 28 cm version is made from mohair. The velvet version is pictured below.

It is interesting to note that wool plush was a fabric of choice for this pattern both before and after the war.  Wool plush, which has a "durable" construction and a denser texture than mohair or artificial silk plush, was a popular fabric used on Steiff items in the 1930's and early 1940's, and then again postwar through the 1960's on handful of legacy items.  It has a distinctly old fashioned look to it and takes airbrushing well.  For the most part, Steiff used wool plush as an alternative fabric choice during challenging economic and manufacturing periods.  As such, wool plush fabric is often associated with Steiff products manufactured +/- ten years around the WWII period. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this proud pony has put a little gallop in your step today.

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

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