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Soft toy figure

Soft toy figure

  • Place of origin:

    Germany (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1912 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Margarete Steiff GmbH (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    stuffed felt

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Mary Clemow

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The German company Steiff started making dolls in the early 1890s and they were specifically marketed as having unbreakable heads to distinguish them from the more common porcelain or bisque dolls of this time. From the beginning, the design of Steiff dolls leaned towards the comic and they were described as cartoon character dolls. In 1907 the company began to make a different type of doll. These were more hard wearing being made primarily of felt and soft stuffed. They had childish faces and, instead of having removable clothes, had bodies that represented clothes.
During the years just prior to the First World War Steiff produced large quantities of soldier dolls most of whom were designed in a comic way. There were over 120 different types of soldier doll dressed in a variety of national uniform and representing all ranks. As the war progressed the comic and friendly look of Steiff soldiers became less and less popular and, with a decrease in the availability of materials, the company reduced production significantly.

Physical description

A soft toy soldier doll, dressed in a felt navy blue jacket that has brown leather epaulettes with gilded edging and attached with metal buttons. The jacket has a high red collar and is decorated with red piping. There are three metal buttons sewn onto the front, and six onto the back of the jacket. The doll has black felt trousers, with red trim and black boots. The doll wears a felt navy blue and red hat with two felt circles on the front (white and black and red, white and black). At the left side of the doll, there is a brown leather strap sewn onto the doll, with a metal loop connecting to a black metal sword. The sword has a handle at one end and is rounded at the bottom. The soldier is jointed at the neck, hips and shoulders. It has painted hair and features and small black boot button eyes.

Place of Origin

Germany (made)


ca. 1912 (made)


Margarete Steiff GmbH (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

stuffed felt


Height: 28 cm

Object history note

The doll belonged to Edith Mary Buck (b.1893) who went to school near Hamburg aged sixteen. The doll was probably given to her by her fiancé Wilheln, the brother of a friend of Edith’s, who was killed in the war before the marriage took place.

Descriptive line

Soft toy felt soldier figure made in Germany by Steiff in about 1912


Felt; Leather; Metal


Stitching; Stuffing


Children & Childhood; Dolls & Toys; Military


Museum of Childhood

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