Sunday, October 7, 2018

Let The Good Times Roll With This Vintage Steiff Molly Dog On Wheels

Mark Twain once wrote, “The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man’s.” And who could disagree? No company can match Steiff's attention to detail, quality, and appeal when it comes to our favorite canines. Next to Teddy bears, dogs have always been Steiff's most beloved and popular editions.  

Steiff's pre-war dogs on wheels could easily be considered the best of all worlds. These endearing, softly proportioned pets are adorable on their own, as well as the perfect pals for turn of last century dolls. Their wheels give them a distinctly playful - and old fashioned - appearance. So Steiffgal was more than delighted to learn of a very large - perhaps lifesized - 1920s era Steiff Molly on the go! This particular Molly on wheels is scaled to be either a large pull toy, or a small riding animal for a toddler. 

This Steiff pretty puppy is the wheel-deal indeed. She is standing, unjointed, and 35 cm tall. She is made from very long tipped tan mohair which has faded overall to a vanilla color over time, but is still very lush and full. Her floppy ears are "folded over" as they have been since her launch in the mid-1920's. She has oversized brown and black pupil eyes and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth. She rides upon four red wooden wheels. Molly on wheels was made in 28 and 35 cm from 1927-1943 overall. This example was made in the earliest part of that time frame, given that she retains her long trailing "f" button and traces of her red ear tag, as pictured here.  

Steiff's Molly the Puppy is a very important design for three key reason.

1.  First, she is one of the very few Steiff dogs that doesn’t have a “breed” associated with her. For example, Terry is the Steiff Airedale, Foxy is the Steiff Fox Terrier, and Snobby is the Steiff Poodle. This model is simply known as Molly the Puppy.

2.  Second, her 1925 introduction was so successful that she can be credited for opening the floodgates to a huge influx of Steiff dog designs. Between 1925 and 1938, close to 40 new canine species were noted in the Steiff catalogs after her debut. These included the now classic Bully Bulldog, Arco the German Shepherd, and Peky the Pekinese, as well as some lesser-known designs including Cheerio, the laughing dog, Putzi, a caricatured standing dog, and Lord the Great Dane.

3.  And third, she was a prime source of highly successful “theme and variation” product launches. Through the early 1940s, Molly appeared sitting and standing and in numerous color combinations, including red and white, green and white, and blue and white. She appeared as a puppet, purse, pincushion, music box, and Charleston animal, among other items. Smaller versions appeared standing on eccentric wheels, while larger ones, like the example under discussion today, appeared on centered wheels. Steiff used her basic appealing, endearing “young dog” pattern on other lesser known dogs of the 1920s and 1930s, including Trolly (a white, yellow, and brown St. Bernhard puppy), Flock (a blonde and white puppy), Zotty (a white puppy) and Fellow (a black and white puppy). A picture of Fellow and Molly are featured here on the left, the photo is from Theriaults. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on Steiff's prewar Molly the Puppy on wheels has been more fun than a joyride for you!

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