Chiltern Toys started out as a toy export company in the late 19th century, founded by Josef and Gabriel Eisenmann. Gabriel was based in Germany and Josef in London and it was Josef, together with his son-in-law, Leon Rees, who founded the Chiltern Toy Works in Buckinghamshire in 1908. The company was originally called Eisenmann & Co. and traded under the name Einco. The other company involved with Chiltern was H G Stone & Co. Ltd., founded in 1920 by Harry Stone, who had previously worked for J K Farnell. The Chiltern Toys trademark resulted from collaboration between Stone and Rees and was registered in 1924.
Chiltern’s first bear, produced in 1915, was called Master Teddy. He was a comical looking dressed bear with googly eyes. The characteristics of early bears include curved arms, chunky thighs, slim ankles, two long stitches running up on either side of the nose and ears folded and stitched into the facial seams. Chiltern’s most famous range of bears is the Hugmee. (Early Einco bears had a label which read “Hug Me and I’ll Growl”). Its design changed over the years resulting in a flatter face, shorter limbs and a shield-shaped nose.
The unjointed bear in a seated position was designed by Pam Howells who worked for Chiltern from 1957 to 1967. It is two tone colour in pink and white and continues the Chiltern tradition of having wood wool stuffing in the head and kapok in the body.
The ‘Hugmee’ bear is typical of 1960s Chiltern design. The bear retains his original ribbon and paper label. He was given to the Museum brand-new by the company just a few years before it was taken over by Chad Valley.