Merrythought have been producing soft toys since 1930. The company was established in Ironbridge, Shropshire by Gordon Holmes after he decided to expand on his previous experience in the milling and weaving of mohair yarn; the perfect teddy bear material.
Early pre-war Merrythought toys are identifiable by the celluloid button in their eye (a marking technique modelled on the Steiff example) and also an embroidered label on their feet. From the very beginning, Merrythought produced an impressive catalogue of domestic and wild animals as well as their teddy bears.
Production was interrupted during the war years as the Merrythought factory was taken over by the military and used for map-making and many of the staff worked on producing helmet linings, sleeve badges, gas mask bags and other such textile items for the armed forces.
Post-war saw production resumed initially on a small scale due to a shortage of supplies. Later came the introduction of the printed label, still placed on the feet, and in 1957, the infamous ‘Cheeky’ bear. The ‘Cheeky’ bears are very popular with collectors today and the early examples are the favourites. They are very distinctive bears with domed heads and large flat ears having bells sewn into them which are positioned lower down the side of the head. They are still made today.
It is interesting to note that the company’s emblem of a wishbone is actually the definition of the word ‘Merrythought’ and definitely brought the company good luck as they have been very successful throughout the years and are still very much in production today as the last remaining British teddy bear manufacturer.
Senior Valuer Michael Dowse
For more information or if you have similar items, please get in touch with us, full details can be found on our company website