Monday, April 16, 2018

Horsing Around With This 1930's-Era Steiff Pony On Wheels

Whoa Nelly! Can one simple digit make all the difference when identifying and dating vintage Steiff?  In this case - yes!  Check out this lovely vintage horse on wheels. Everything about her goes by the numbers!

This pretty pony belongs to one of Steiffgal's Steiff pals. The horse measures about 28 cm by 28 cm. She is standing, made from soft, very lightly textured brown and white fabric, and comes to life with a black plush mane and tail. She is authentically dressed in red leather reins and a saddle, along with a green felt blanket. She rides upon four red wooden wheels. This is one of Steiff's most beloved and legacy pre-war patterns, and was produced in a number of materials and sizes - ranging from 12 to 80 cm - in the c. 1892 through 1943 time frame. Early on, she was also available paired with a number of complementary items, including a doll, jockey, cart, or sled. Pony retains her long trailing F button and her fully legible red ear tag, dating her initially in the broad c. 1926 to 1934 time frame.

Given her materials, presentation, and age, this is one excellent equine indeed!

But there's something really interesting about this horse that sent Steiffgal into a full gallop. At very first glance, both Steiffgal and her pal thought she was made from felt. If that were the case, her condition truly would be outstanding, given how prewar items made from felt or with felt detailing (like paw pads) almost always have at least a few holes or nibbles in them. But this fabric was flawless! So what's going on here? Check out her red ear tag, which reads "1228." This corresponds to: 1=standing, 2=short pile plush/coat plush, and 28=28 cm. 

Hold your horses! It turns out that Steiff was making their horse on wheels pattern in another fabric called "coat plush" in 22, 28, and 35 cm from 1932 through 1934.  It is interesting to note that in the 1930's, the company started using alot of "substitute" fabrics like wool plush, curled wood plush, and artificial silk plush on some of their most beloved patterns. That was most likely due to supply chain and socio-political issues of the era. These alternative fabrics were still available and affordable. And except for artificial silk plush, all were really quite durable - which helps to explain in part why this horse is in such nice shape. If you look closely at the horse's fabric, you will see that indeed it has a light "fuzzy" texture and feel to it.  And, because the surface is not flat and almost completely even like felt, the seams are not as smooth and "fluid" between the different fabrics. 

Steiffgal hopes this discussion on this great 1930's Steiff horse has set you a'blaze!

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

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