Saturday, May 13, 2017

This Tiny Steiff Bully Dog Has Enormous Wheel-Appeal!


Don't you just love it when you come across a Steiff treasure that you didn't realize even existed? That's the case with this week's fine find, a tiny and early post war Bully Bulldog on wheels. Steiffgal found him hiding amongst a delightful collection of vintage playthings at a booth at a regional doll and antique toy show in the New England area. Come take a look at this petite treat and see what makes him so dog-gone charming from the collector's perspective. 

This diminutive doggie has enormous wheel-appeal. Bully on wheels is based upon Steiff's smallest standard line postwar Bulldog pattern. He is 10 cm, standing, made from tan mohair, and is head jointed. His head, body, and tail are gloriously hand-painted with delightful brown and black spots and striping. He has brown and black pupil eyes, a black hand embroidered nose, felt ears, and an elaborately and realistically constructed velvet muzzle. His airbrushed claws are black. Bully retains his original red collar and raised script style Steiff button as his ID. Steiff's overall Bully Bulldog pattern was produced in 10, 17, and 22 cm from 1951 through 1974; Bully on wheels was produced in 10 cm only from 1954 through 1957 and then again in 1960.

Rolling along, now let's take a look at Bully's dynamic details. Bully glides along on four red off-center wooden eccentric wheels.  The wheels are connected with two silver metal rods - one in the front and one in the back. This wheel configuration gives Bully the appearance of bobbing up and down as he is pulled along. Each of his four feet is connected to the rods with tan thread stitching. There are little grooves in the rods that secure the stitching in place. Bully had a matching pull string attached to his front rod when he left the factory in Giengen, Germany; this unfortunately has been lost to time.  

Steiff has a long and lovely history of putting their most popular animal patterns on wheels. The earliest rolling Steiff treasures were on metal wheels; by the nineteen-teens to early 1920's most if not all examples had wooden wheels. Wooden wheels were sometimes left natural in color, other times they were brightly painted in bright, primary hues including red, green, and blue. 


Strangely, Steiff's "eccentric wheel" detailing debuted in 1912. Steiff even holds a patent for this unusual wheel and axle configuration! Eccentric wheels were "invented" accidentally, but Steiff quickly realized the opportunity created by their roller drilling mistakes. Steiff's dogs, cats, birds, and farm animals look particularly charming on eccentric wheels, given the way they waddle and jiggle in real life! The photo on the left shows two of Bully's eccentric wheeled 10 cm "canine colleagues" from his same general timeframe. Bazi the Dachshund (on red wheels) was made in 10 and 14 cm from 1950 to 1961 overall and Cockie the Cocker Spaniel (on blue wheels) was made in 10 cm from 1954 through 1957 and then again in 1960.

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this unusual Steiff Bully on wheels has been enjoyable to you, even in a roundabout sort of way.  

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

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