Sunday, June 17, 2018

There's Nothing Scary About This Fantastic Pre-War Steiff Tom Cat

It's time to cast a little black magic, in the best possible way. Cats are one of Steiff's most popular and prolific lines, but there is one example in particular that has every collector feline groovy. That's the company's Tom cat, the all black kitten on all fours with an arched back and prominent tail. Steiffgal would like to introduce you to a somewhat rare example she recently added to her collection.

It's no tall tail to say that this Steiff Tom cat is quite the looker! He measures 14 cm head to toe, and 25 cm top of tail to toe. He is standing, unjointed, and made from black mohair. His body, limbs, and head are made from shorter mohair, while his tail is made from much longer mohair. His tiny triangular shaped ears are made from velvet. He has a red embroidered nose and mouth, and three matching red claws on each foot. His teal-green and black eyes are in the slit-pupil style, and he has clear monofilament whiskers on his muzzle and forehead. He has a very serious, pensive look to him. His red silk ribbon may be original to him, his brass bell has been lost to time. He retains his short trailing "F" button as his Steiff ID. Tom cat was made in 8, 10, 14, 17, 22, and 28 cm from 1923-1943; the two smallest sizes were made with velvet bodies and heads.

Steiff's Tom cat design literally has had nine lives - or maybe even more! The original Tom cat was produced in both black and white velvet. Both versions were very skinny, standing on all fours, unjointed, and had arched backs and open mouths. They all left the factory in Giengen, Germany wearing a silk ribbon and bell. Black Tom cats were produced in 10, 14, and 17 cm from 1904-1918. White Tom cats were produced in 14 and 17 cm for three years only - from 1906-1908 - and are exceptionally rare. Steiffgal has never actually seen an early white velvet Tom Cat! Steiff's next version of its Tom cat was the one under discussion today. Then once the factory reopened for toymaking business after WWII, Steiff produced its Tom cats in 8, 10, 14, 17, and 22 cm from 1950-1976. These post war models were very similar in appearance to their 1920's-40's versions.

One thing that's the cat's meow about this pattern is how long it has appeared in the Steiff line. It debuted in a photograph featured in the 1903-1904 Steiff catalog... in the same picture that introduced PB55... the world's first jointed Teddy bear! This got Steiffgal thinking about other named Steiff legacy pets that have stood the test of time and have not changed significantly in appearance over many decades - appearing prominently both pre- and post- war. Of course, there's Jocko the Chimp, who's design debuted in 1909. Molly the Puppy was "born" in 1925, while Waldi the Dachshund appeared on the scene in 1933. These timeless treasures remind us how good design transcends years, generations, and borders.

Steiffgal hopes you found this discussion on Steiff's pre-war Tom cat close to purr-fect.


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

No comments:

Post a Comment

The teddy bear search engine