||Joseph Eisenmann opened Chiltern Toy Works at Bellingdon Road,
Chesham, Buckinghamshire. The company name "Chiltern"
was taken from the Chiltern Hills surrounding the area.
||Chiltern produced their first bear i.e. "Master Teddy"
||Leon Rees inherited the Chiltern Toy Works from his
father-in-law Josef Eisenmann of Eisenmann & Co.
||Leon formed a partnership with Harry Stone, formerly
of J K Farnell, and formed H G Stone & Co.
They relocated to larger premises at the Chiltern Toy Works, Waterside,
||Chiltern Toys trade name appeared.
||A new factory was built at Bernard Road, South Tottenham
||Registered as a private limited company
||Harry Stone died
|| Toy making stopped at Chesham due to the war but
some toys were made throughout the war in London
||A new factory was built at Pontypool, Monmouth in
||Amersham Toy Works in Chesham closed, all production
work was transferred to Pontypool
||Leon Rees died
||Company taken over by Dunbee-Combex
||Chiltern was taken over by Chad Valley - for a while
bears produced from that date bore a Chad Valley Chiltern label
Chiltern's first bear Master Teddy was
produced in 1915. He had a large round head with small ears and large
glass eyes. His nose had vertical stitching and he wore a smile showing
his small pink felt tongue. His linen body was dressed with a cotton
jacket/shirt and wore felt dungarees. Master Teddy was made in five sizes, he is now very rare and very collectable.
In 1923 the very popular Hugmee range
was introduced - this range may be one of the most loved Chiltern bears. Due to it's popularity the Hugmee was produced until
the 1960's. They were made in many colours i.e. golden - the most
popular, blue, pink, white, green, and blonde.
Characteristics of the 1920/30 (pre-war) Hugmee's include:
long muzzle, noses have elongated upward stitches
on outside edges
clear or amber and black glass eyes which were
sewn in and tied at back of head
large thighs which taper at ankles (drumstick legs)
- large tummy
- body stuffed with kapok
- long curved arms with spoon-shaped paws and four claws
- pointed feet, larger bears had cardboard inserts to help keep the
- velvet or cotton paws and footpads with embroidered claws
Later bears had some changes which, generally, meant using less fabric
as it was difficult to acquire after the war i.e.
shorter and thinner arms and legs
- flatter faces
- smaller feet
- pads made of rexine
- nose was shaped like a shield. In 1960 the plastic nose was
In the 1950s Chiltern produced a Ting-a-ling bear, which was fully jointed and it's body contained a metal ring of teeth and a metal clapper which, when the toy is moved, makes a musical sound. Another toy of the 1950s was a musical Bruin bear. Bruin was a standing bear, he was approximately 30cm (12") tall. Bruin's arms and legs were not jointed but, when wound by the key in his back, his head moved from side to side and the music box played a tune.
These are just a few examples, visit our Vintage
Bears where, depending on availability, you will see more
We've already given quite a detailed description of the very popular
Hugmee above but Chiltern made many other bears, here are some of
their general characteristics:
Eyes: early bears may have clear glass eyes
with black pupils but most Chiltern bears have large brown
glass eyes which are sewn in and tied with a knot at the back
of the head
Fabrics: high quality, coloured mohair. In
the early 1960's Chiltern introduced the Washable Chiltern
Toy series with toys made of nylon plush and stuffed with
'fairy foam' - a one-piece foam filling.
Filling: generally bears had soft (kapok)
stuffing in body and limbs and wood-wool in their head and
around any squeaker and joints.
Muzzle/nose: Earlier Chad Valley bears usually
have shaved muzzles, this trend changed and unshaved muzzles
became characteristic in the 1950's. The nose stitching had
long, upward end stitches until the 1940's when the shield
shape was used. Black, moulded plastic noses were first introduced
around 1958 but weren't used in earnest until the early 1960's.
- Labels: cardboard labels were used until the 1940's - they are
very rarely found today. Fabric labels were then introduced with
a red printed label, often sewn in the side seam, and then in
the 1950's a white label, with blue print, was used:
- When Chiltern was taken over by Chad Valley in 1967, the Chad
Valley Chiltern white label, again with blue print, was used:
MADE IN ENGLAND