Farnell Teddy Bears
One of the world’s foremost teddy bear experts delves into the history of the famous brand that inspired Winnie-the-Pooh.
The family firm of J. K. Farnell & Co. Ltd. occupies a position of unparalleled importance in British soft toy history, firstly because it was the very first British toy company to manufacture teddy bears, and also because it created the actual bear that inspired A. A. Milne to write the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Yet impressive as those facts undoubtedly are, they comprise just a small fraction of the fascinating Farnell story.
Founded in the nineteenth century, for decades J. K. Farnell & Co. Ltd. was the most respected and influential soft toy manufacturer in Britain. Thanks to the superior quality of its products, the company experienced enormous commercial success at national and international levels—even in Germany, home to its biggest rival.
Surviving economic depression, devastating fire, the ravages of World War II, and other traumatic events, the company kept going until fundamental changes in the British toy market forced its closure in 1970. Since then, the Farnell name has been forgotten by all but a dedicated band of teddy bear enthusiasts and the true story of this pioneering British firm has fallen into obscurity. Now, thanks to Kathy Martin’s intensive research, the facts about J. K. Farnell & Co. Ltd. and its fabulous teddy bears are revealed in this informative and entertaining book.