Sunday, August 4, 2019

Things Are Twice As Nice With This Spectacular Steiff Pull Toy!


It's been a few weeks since Steiffgal's been able to share a new surprise with you; she's been traveling and just didn't have a moment to write. In a round-about sort of way, this post should make up for all of that!

Today's highlight is nothing short of the wheel-deal! Steiffgal won this precious pull toy at an auction in early July, and it recently arrived at her home "across the pond." Here we have a Steiff "Roly Droly." The baby Jocko is 10 cm, fully jointed, and made from brown mohair which has mellowed to a caramel color. He has a felt face, as well as felt feet, hands, and ears. He retains his long trailing "f" button in his foot. His sidekick is a standing, unjointed bear made from brown mohair. He is a "circus bear" given his nose ring and chain. His tiny face comes to life with glass pupil eyes and a black hand embroidered nose and mouth. He also retains his long trailing "f" 
button in his ear. 

Now let's check out their ride. These seatmates are each perched on a 8 cm in diameter yellow wooden disk. The bear holds onto a green wooden pole, and the monkey holds onto a red wooden pole. Each disk turns as the cart is pulled along. The chassis is made from metal and is green; it rides upon three red wooden wheels. The wagon itself is about 18 cm wide overall and has a red and white pull cord. The handle of the pull cord is red wood; when it was new, it had a Steiff button on the tip as decoration.

And just what makes this item a fifth-gear find? Roly Drolys are really, really rare, and for good reason. Unlike other types of Steiff treasures, these were specifically made and designed as hands-on play toys. And toys - especially with moving parts or designed for rough play - wear out, fall apart, or just get lost to time. For example, think about Steiff skittles. Those were designed as a sporting game, so losses and wear on skittle pins and balls are almost expected! This Roly Droly absolutely shows playwear, and even a little restoration. But given one makes an appearance every blue moon or so... it still is quite the bucket list score. Another example of a Roly Droly, this one with two little yellow mohair chicks as riders, is pictured to the left. 

Here's a bit more about this ingenious design. Roly Drolys are excellent examples of Steiff's prewar creativity. They were developed as a result of a mandate from Richard Steiff in the early 1920s to create more interesting, innovative, and novel items for the line. Roly Drolys get their name from the the German words "rollen" (to roll) and "drollig" (funny or droll). They appeared in the Steiff line from 1924 - 1934. These rotating pull toys were made with a variety of riders, including two chicks, two bears, a chick and rabbit, a dog and a cat, and two rabbits, among others. Other "wheeled wonders" of that era included "Wiwags," which appeared in the line from 1924 – 1927 and see-sawed up and down, and "Galop" toys which appeared in the line from 1926 – 1929 and moved back and forth. The catalog page from the mid-1920s featuring Roly Drolys is pictured here on the left. It is from Carsten Esser's 1920-1929 Steiff Kataloge. You can click on the image to make it easier to view and read. 

Steiffgal hopes you found this discussion on Steiff Roly Drolys really headspinning, but in the best possible way. 

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

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