Old Bears Everywhere

Chiltern Bears

Chiltern Toy Works began originally as the German export firm Eisenmann & Co. which was founded at the end of the 19th century by Josef and Gabriel Eisenmann. With a move to Chesham in England and a change of name, Chiltern Toy Works was opened in 1908 by Josef, who initially concentrated on the manufacture of dolls. By 1915 they had produced their first bear - Master Teddy (the earlier ones had googly eyes), and teddy bear creation began. Upon Josefs death in 1919, his son-in-law Leon Rees took the helm, and in 1920 formed a partnership with Harry Stone under the trade name of H.G. Stone & Co Ltd. They opened a second factory in London in 1921, and introduced Baby Bruin - the Bear Cub in 1922. In 1923 they released the well known Hugmee Range of Teddy Bears, and finally in 1924, Chiltern Toys was registered, and they moved manufacture to Ambersham, producing bears until its closure in 1960. Meanwhile they continued to bloom and offer new designs including the Wagmee series, with their initial release in 1937. Chad Valley bought out Chiltern in 1967 (four years after the passing of Leon Rees), and for awhile, Teddy Bears produced bore a Chad Valley Chiltern Label.