It was not until 1919 that the first mohair Teddy Bear came from France. This Teddy Bear was produced by a company called Pintel.
Marcel Pintel first began producing stuffed toys (les jouets bourres) for his Father's firm in Paris in 1913. The first ‘Pintel' Teddies, however, were infact rather delicate, firmly stuffed and had tapered limbs. These Teddy Bears proved to be so popular that production had to be sent to other French soft toy companies including Thiennot. Sadly, during the Second World War the company had to close down, but after the war, they started production once again using whatever materials were available to them. M. Pintel Fils, carried on production up until 1976, when the factory doors were closed for good.
Pintel Teddy Bears that were produced before the 1930's had a metal button attached to their chest.
Early French toy production centred around mechanical toys, hence thecountry's first Teddy Bears were mechanical. Pintel produced a Teddy on a tricycle around 1915. This was a very popular toy and continued in production up until 1940.
Pintel also produced Bears on Wheels between 1927 and 1930, just like so many other toy companies.
Some distinguishing features of a Pintel Teddy Bear are :
- Eyes stitched into the back of bears head ;
- A long muzzle ;
- Large feet ;
- Paw pads with three claws ;
- A voice box.
Another French Company, Fadap (Fabrication Artistique d'Animaux en Peluche) began Teddy Bear production in 1925 from their factory in Divonne-les-Bains. Early Fadap Teddy Bears are rather tubby, they have long arms and thick paws. They are indeed very close in their looks to the Pintel bears but one giveaway to identifying a Fadap Teddy Bear is they tend to have upturned noses and they also have a seam under their chin. Old Fadap Teddy Bears also wore a metal button in their ear, with the words ‘'Fadap'' and ‘'France'' embossed on it. Sadly, Fadap closed it's doors in 1978.
Emile Thiennot worked for Marcel Pintel earlier in his life, but in 1919, he set up on his own selling bears and other soft toys under the trade name of Jouet Champenois.
Thiennot trading as Le Jouet Champenois was one of the first French bear makers in about 1919 although Pintel Fils who produced a tumbling clown 1913 was about the same time. This was followed quickly after the war by Fadap and a number of other makers.
In 1920, Thiennot won a prize for one of his Teddy Bears. In 1957, the firm, however, changed it's name to Creation Tieno. The firm closed it's doors in 1993. Many early Teddy Bears made by this company are quite difficult to identify and could and often do, get mistaken for Pintel Teddy Bears.
Jan Jac - This company is one of the many French soft toy companies to have produced Teddy Bears in the 1950's. Teddy Bears produced by this company can be identified by :
- Short arms ;
- Red felt tongue ;
- Shaggy mohair.
Today, French Teddy Bears are very collectible and are easily identifiable, just like their British or German counterparts. A modern French Teddy Bear maker is the firm Blanchet and, as far as we know, they are still making bears to this day.
French bears are identified by:-
• Short bristle mohair or cotton plush.
• They are often coloured.
• Simple jointing which often shows.
• They are seldom labelled.
• Pintel and some early bears have a button.
• They can have colourful ear linings.
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