Although the Teddy Toy bicycle – with its folding handlebar reminiscent of the postwar Corgi 98cc motorcycle – was an innovative and interesting design that would undoubetedly appeal to children, it was not easy for a small company such as Teddy Toy Co to survive in a postwar British marketplace dominated by Triang on one side and the major cycle manufacturers on the other. Triang swallowed up most, and, if viable, would continue a line as their own, otherwise discontuniung it to avoid unnecessary competition and expense. Though British made toys did well in the home market after the country had recovered sufficiently from the austerity following the war, the Japanese toy industry was waiting in the wings…
1949 Teddy Toy Children’s Bicycle (Red)
Monocoque construction. Folding handlebars
HEIGHT: 29″ (with Handlebars Up)
and handlebars folded down…
TEDDY TOY Co Ltd
45 Golden Lane, London, EC1
The ban on German imports during WW1 boosted British industry. Teddy bears had become very popular, with many companies forming to manufacture them, including Ealon Toys, or The East London Federation Toy Factory, founded by Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst. It was during this period that the Teddy Toy Co was founded by B.C. Hope and Abe Simmonds.
After patenting Softanlite teddy bear kapok stuffing, the company exhibited at the British Industries Fair in 1920 and 1929. (Kapok is a very light, waterproof, oily fibre covering the seeds of the silk-cotton tree – Ceiba Pentandra – which is ideal for stuffing).
In 1920, Rupert Bear first appeared in the Daily Express, while A.A Milne published Winnie the Pooh in 1926. Following the success of the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ stories, Pooh Bear toys and games were produced in Great Britain By Chad Vally and Teddy Toy Co, and in the US by Parker brothers and F.W. Woolnough.
During WW2, toy manufacturers turned their factories over to war production. Teddy Toy Co made leather ‘bayonet frogs’ and helmet liners (marked with their company initials TTC, above). Bayonet frogs were also made by Marks & Spencer, among others. After WW2, many companies who had helped with war production received backing to make bicycles for export. Presumably that’s how Teddy Toy Co ended up making this bicycle. The company ceased trading in 1950 (below).
EXCELSIOR CORGI 98cc MOTORCYCLE
In my opinion, the Teddy Toy bicycle was designed as a chidren’s version of the Excelsior Corgi motorcycle. They have the same profile, the seat fitting is identical and the handlebars fold in similar fashion.
The 98cc Corgi had become very popular after the end of World War 2. It was essentially a civilian version of the famous Excelsior Welbike used by British airborne forces during the War. I’ve had four of them over the past 40 years, and fitted a sidecar to the last one I owned (below, sold in 2008).
The Excelsior Corgi was exported in quantity after WW2. It was rebadged and sold in the USA as the ‘Indian Papoose’.
Teddy bear history extracted from – http://www.ancestralbears.com/The-Teddy-Bear-and-The-War-Years-p/tbt2.htm