15 March 2021
Gems produced by the renowned and world-famous Steiff family are now on display
True gems produced by the renowned and world-famous family-owned company Margarete Steiff GmbH, Giengen (Germany), are now on display at the Spielzeug Welten Museum in Basel. Who does not remember the moving shop window scenes during the Christmas season? They were the highlight of Christmas strolls for many people.
Such mechanical showpieces, produced for advertising purposes, can now be admired in motion. The Weekend in the Animal Kingdom is one of the show’s main attractions. It was originally produced in 1928 with 47 Steiff animals. Some of these animals have special mechanical devices to enable them to move. The theme of this showpiece works equally well today.
The animals are enjoying a weekend in the wellness area. This includes a sauna visit, group gymnastics exercises, and a small boxing match. The building complex was built in a very modern style for that period, based on the Bauhaus style. The original showpiece had impressive dimensions of over five meters in length and two meters in depth.
Although best known for the invention of the teddy bear (1902), the Steiff family-owned company is one of the largest and most important doll manufacturers in the world, not least because of their diverse and artistically very valuable doll creations. From the beginnings of Steiff’s doll art around 1890 until modern times, the toy manufacturer has always managed to inspire young and old with spectacular innovations and developments. A wonderful example of this extraordinary skill is the felt dolls of the showpiece Die Mühle im Grund (The Mill in the Valley). You will see over 70 original Steiff felt dolls in idyllic rural surroundings covering about 15 square meters. This is a unique and authentic piece of European doll history, made in 1926 by the Munich doll artist and Steiff consultant Albert Schlopsnies. The miniature people consist of humorous as well as characteristically reproduced realistic village and peasant characters going about their everyday work. These two showpieces were exhibited at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.
Furthermore, there are 13 smaller moving mechanical showpieces from Steiff on display and, in addition, some imposing showpieces such as the Teddy baby with an impressive body size of 1.5 meters and the dinosaur and the giraffe peeking out of the showcase.
More information about the exhibition, and the items included, can be found at www.swmb.museum