Thursday, 9 August 2018

Norah Wellings Novelty Animals , Bears

I wrote an article on Norah Wellings Teddy Bears  in 2009 on this blog,  I can't believe it was 9 years ago. I have been asked if  I have more information so this time I am including other Bears that Norah Wellings made. The first one had the name 'Bruno' but  the following year his name was changed to 'Bear' as were all the following models that Norah Wellings made.  Most were made of wool plush which unfortunately does not seem to age very well . The Traditional Fully Jointed Teddy Bear does not feature in any Norah Wellings Catalogues or any of my research. I often wonder if she ever made one as a Proto Type,but never produced it or for a  Special Order. So far I have no evidence of this. If anyone has any other  Norah Wellings 'Bears' they would like to share please email me.

Please Note all photographs used and all articles are copyright by me unless otherwise stated. If you wish to use anything please ask.




Not a very good picture I am afraid but this is from a photo copy in the 1929 Norah Wellings catalogue. This is the first bear  Norah Wellings made and in 1929 his name was 'Bruno' but the following year it was changed to  'Bear', still with the same model number.  Norah Wellings  included him in her  'Mascot Animal' Range, he was model 163 and only came in one size. The catalogue description says he is 6 inches in length and was made of Art Silk . From this photo he appears to have boot button eyes,  He does not appear in the 1933 catalogue .








I must give a Big Thank You to Steve of Woodenhill Bears for allowing me to use these wonderful pictures of  an early 'Bear'. He measures 6 inches in length, filled with kapok and woodwool and has boot button eyes. His little felt ears have been a little nibbled but they are there. He has his Norah Wellings label inside his back leg. Thank You Steve.



This is a picture from the 1936 Catalogue of  'Bear', he is a similar design to the earlier one but has a new model number 5116 and  appears in the Norah Wellings 'Novelty Animal' Range. He looks darker in colour and is now made of Mohair Plush. He has felt ears and felt circle eyes with embroidery. He continues to be made to the end of the 1940's.







In 1933 Norah Wellings introduced another 'Bear' to her 'Novelty Animal' Range he was model 570. Made in quite a few different sizes 8", 9 1/2 ", 11 1/2", 14", 19", 20 1/2" and a massive 36 inches . This style 'Bear' was made until the end of the 1940's.






Here is the early 'Bear' looking very similar to his catalogue photo. The outfits did vary sometimes in colour. He is 19 inches tall with wool plush head, arms and feet, hand paw pads are felt. He has glass eyes and only his head is jointed. His velveteen pants and cotton top are an integral part of his body, velveteen jacket can be taken off and ties with a ribbon at the neck. Often this jacket goes missing. He has gold buttons sewn down the front of his top. Label on the bottom of his foot.




Three more 'Bears'. It is interesting to note that the middle bear is the only one I have seen made of mohair the others have been wool plush. He stands 16 inches tall. The bear in the mustard is the smallest size made 8 inches tall and the one in red the next size up 9 1/2 inches tall. All three bears have velveteen tops instead of cotton, cotton appear to be the first ones made . They all have a label to the bottom of the foot.



This is the earliest example of the 'Bear' Nightdress Case introduced around 1935. he is model 973. This particular one is just how he appears in the 1936 catalogue. He is 17 inches tall with his head, hands, feet and trim down the skirt in wool plush. The rest is made of velveteen with silk pompoms. Opening at the sides with poppers and lined inside. He also has glass eyes. Once again different colour variations made. Label is on the bottom of the foot.







Another slightly later 'Bear' Nightdress Case, this time cotton is used for the top and body with felt used for the skirt and shawl around her neck. Not only different colours  used but also materials due to shortage in the War Years . They were made until the late 1940's. Label on the bottom of the foot.







The Polar Bear was made in the late 1930's and is model number 5142. He is made very like the 1936 'Bear'. Made of wool plush he is 6 inches in length, felt ears, embroidery eyes and shaved muzzle. His label is on his tummy. He was made right up until the 1950 catalogue but  his number changed to 5169.





The last 'Bear' made by Norah Wellings was made in the 1950's. This particular 'Bear' was given  to Mrs Hassell who worked at the Factory by Norah WEllings when the Factory closed down in 1958 . Mrs Hassell kindly allowed me to use this photograph. He is 16 inches tall, fully washable plush, glass safety eyes and wears printed cotton dungarees with a ribbon around his neck. It is interesting to note that the Norah Wellings  round paper label has changed to show a Rabbit on the front rather than a Doll that was previously used.


I hope you have enjoyed finding out more about the Norah Wellings 'Bear' and do not forget to email me if you have any you would like to share. I can add photo's and information to this article. I hope to hear from you. Happy Hunting


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