16 November Schreyer
& Company, which is commonly known as Schuco,
was founded in Nuremberg, Germany by Heinrich Muller, an ex
employee of Gebruder Bing, and Heinrich Schreyer, an ex furniture
salesman. The trademark was a small tumbling man.
The first advertisement for wheeled animals,
including a bear, appeared.
||The partners were conscripted and the factory closed for the
duration of World War I.
||Schreyer left the company, believing there to
be no future in toy making. A new partner, Adolf Kahn, a wholesaler,
||The company relocated to Singerstrasse, Nuremberg..
||Schuco, an abreviation of the full company name,
was adopted as trademark and added to the picture of the small
||The company relocated to larger premises in Further
||Adolf Kahn, a jew, left the company when Hitler
came to power. He moved to England and then joined his son in
the USA in 1940.
||During WWII Alexander Girz joined the company which made telephone
equipment during the War.
|1946 - 1949
||Operated at reduced capacity making household
items and toys.
||Adolf Kahn and his son, Eric, established Schuco
Toy Co. Inc. with rights to import all Schuco products for the
USA and Canada..
||Muller died. His son, Werner, took over and worked
alongside Alexander Girz.
|1960's - 1970's
||The company sold toys made by Herta Girz &
Co, trademark "Hegi" and operated in the Schuco premises,
still at Further Strasse.
||Hegi collaborates with Anker, a soft toy manufacturer
based in Munich, the toys being sold as "Schuco".
Unable to compete with Japanese imports the Company was sold
The "Schuco" trademark was sold to George Mangold
GmbH & Co. who used it for model cars.
The famous Schuco patented yes/no bear first appeared
at a toy fair in Leipzig, Germany in 1921. The bear's head could
be moved left to right and up and down by moving a lever in the
tail. Six sizes were produced ranging from 25 to 60 cms and in different
mohair fabric types. The four smaller sizes contained squeakers,
the two larger contained growlers. These bears are sometimes referred
to as "Patented Yes/No Bear".
After WWII, in about 1950, the yes/no bear was reintroduced as
the "Tricky Yes/No Bear". Made in seven
sizes, of various mohair colours (blond, gold, red-brown) it contained
a growler and some contained Swiss musical mechanisms. Their arms
are distinctive as they have downturned paws and seem to be begging.
These bears continued being made until the 1970's when the company
was taken over.
In 1924 Schuco introduced a series of miniature bears, for which
it is renowned. They ranged in size from 9 - 15 cms and came in
various colour mohairs (pink, mauve, green, blue to name a few)
- the range was known as Piccolo. In 1927 the range
was extended and Compact Bears were produced, they
were designed to fit into a handbag and contained a mirror, compact,
lipstick and powder puff or a perfume bottle or a manicure set.
The "Janus" bear is another favourite
with collectors. This tiny bear is just 9cm (3.5") tall. It was made in 1954, has two faces, one ugly with red
tongue sticking out and the other smiling. A small brass knob is
positioned at the base of the body and is turned to move the head.
They were fully jointed, made of golden mohair over an internal
metal frame and had black, metal bead eyes.
In the 1960's the "Bigo Bello" design
was introduced, taking over from the Tricky yes/no bear, these bears were posable and carried the Hegi label.
- Early yes/no bears had short mohair and black boot button eyes.
- Tricky yes/no bears, introduced in the 1950's, had downturned
paws, broad flat feet and their muzzles often shaved. They wore
a red bow and plastic medallion on their chest saying "Schuco
TRICKY patent" on one side and "Made in the US zone
of Germany" indicating it was manufactured before 1953.
|1960's Schuco Bigo-Bello Label
- Schuco fully jointed bears, made in the mid 1920's, were made
of brightly coloured mohair. They had large glass eyes, often
painted redish brown, set close together.
- Nose: early bears had horizontal stitching, but like many other
German manufacturers they changed to vertical stitching, with
elongated central stitches, on larger bears
- Many of the mechanical bears resemble those designedy by Gebruder
Bing; with small facial features, a slightly upturned nose, slim
body, narrow straight arms and legs.