Born 24th July 1847 in Giengen an der Brenz, Margarete contracted polio as a baby and for all her life was confined to a wheelchair. She became a seamstress and began making stuffed animals based on a design she found in a magazine. Originally they sold as pincushions, but children began playing with them and in the following years she went on to design and manufacture many animal-themed soft toys.
In 1902, along with her nephew; Richard, she produced her first ‘Teddy Bear’ the design of which went on to be world renown.
The Steiff name is still well known today standing for high quality but expensive toys. The early ones are now keenly sought after by collectors;
The record price for one – a 1905 ‘Teddy Girl’ Steiff bear – was sold in a Christies auction in London to the Yoshihiro Sekiguchi Museum, Tokyo, for £110,000.