Margarete Steiff

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Margarete Steiff

Margarete Steiff (July 24, 1847 - May 9, 1909), was a seamstress who in 1880 founded Margarete Steiff GmbH, making toy stuffed animals.


Born in Giengen, Germany she used a wheelchair, due to polio that she contracted as a baby. She started making stuffed animals as a hobby.

These toys began as elephants, which were originally a design Steiff found in a magazine and at first sold as pincushions to her friends. However, children began playing with them, and in the years following she went on to design many other successful animal-themed toys for children, such as dogs, cats and pigs. She designed and made most of the prototypes herself.

She died of pneumonia in Giengen.

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