Full of Irish charm is this vintage Tara Toys ted, with ‘Made in the Republic of Ireland’ foot label. Owen is 56 cms (22″) tall, and has a faint working growler.
His amber glass eyes are original, along with his embroidered mouth, while his nose has most likely been resewn in the past. He’s stuffed with cotton flack and woodwool, and is fully-jointed.
Owen’s rexine pads are now mostly worn down to the cotton cloth backing, but in good condition, and all his claws are intact. He’s a lovely chunky bear with plenty of bright gold mohair. and is wearing his tatty old scarf pinned with a prefect badge.
Owen dates from 1953 when Erris Toys changed their name. They produced teddy bears at Elly Bay, County Donegal, and in the mid to late 50s replaced glass eyes with plastic ones.
His label was introduced in 1950, changing from the previous ‘Made in Eire’ label. This reflected Ireland leaving the Commonwealth.
Due to a decline in the early Sixties, the Elly Bay factory closed in 1969 and production moved to Crolly. This signalled the end of quality teddy bear production.
Future soft toys were generally unjointed and made from synthetic materials, under the Soltoys name, and the company finally closed its doors in 1979.