Leon Rees inherited the Chiltern Toy Work in 1919 from his father-in-law Josef Eisenmann. Together with Harry Stone, former J.K. Farnell, he founded the H.G. Stone & Co in 1920, which would become one of the leading toy animals factory in its time. One of the first Teddy Bears from Chiltern was Baby Bruin, the Bear Cub in 1922.
The trademark ‘Chiltern Toys’ refers to the place of business in Chesham, in the Chiltern Hills.

The cornerstone of the company was the Hugmee-bear, which appear first in 1923.

Towards the end of the Second World War it became clear that the H.G. Stone factories in Tottenham (North England) and Chesham (Buckinghamshire) couldn’t fulfil the demand for Chiltern-toys. That’s way the company bought some terrain in Pontypool in South-Wales, to build a new, bigger and more modern factory.

In 1964, H.G. Stone & Co. Ltd. became part of the Dunbee-Combex-group, who made toys out of vinyl and rubber. In 1967 they became a subsidiary company to Chad Valley. They put bears on the market under the name ‘Chad Valley Chiltern Hygienic Toys’


[1] – [2] – [3] – [4] – [5]

In 1915 the first Chiltern-beer, Master Teddy, wore a simple cardboard label [1], which was attached to his chest with a piece of string. The now famous Chiltern-name wasn’t even on it. Only from the forties, Chiltern used a permanent, fabric label; earlier bears had a round, orange, cardboard chest label, which read: ‘Chiltern Toys Trademark – Made in England’ [1].
Also blue printed, white labels [4] were used ever since the fifties, which were glued to the right foot. Some bears had a red printed label [2], but these were sown into the side seam. In 1967 they became a subsidiary company to Chad Valley. They put bears on the market under the name ‘Chad Valley Chiltern Hygienic Toys’ [1+5]. A label from the Sixties [3].

Collecting Chiltern

Pre-war Hugmee-characteristics: Shaved, pointy snout; notable shape noise with two longer, outer stitches; remains of the characteristic, broad smile; long, bent arms and crooked legs with velveteen soles.
Hugmee bears were available in different colours, among them pink and blue; a white one is very rare. They have a squeaky voice en originally wore a chest label which read: ‘I growl’. Some early Hugmees had a music box inside.

In the Second World War and the years after, lots of material was put on rations. Due to a shortage of fabric, the Hugmee-pattern had to be altered, so less fabric was needed. The Hugmee-bears got a shorter snout, which gave him a down-hearted expression. The absence of claws on the hands was also due to cut-backs.

H.G. Stone put a nose of moulded plastic on the Chiltern-bears for the first time around 1958. In the beginning the noses were sown on. Later they were fastened with a lock-nut, which was according to new safety regulations.

The Hugmee-bears from early twenties en thirties are among the most wanted bears. They are beautiful in colour, from great mohair and filled with a mix of wood-wool and kapok.
In the fifties the face changed somewhat, due to the shaved snout, but furthermore the model and construction were unchanged.

Teddy Bear prices

See what prices Chiltern teddy bears make at international auctions.

Teddy bear examples

left: year: 1927, height: 23″/58cm, This was one of the first Hugmee-bears. He has two-colour mohair with dark roots and blond ends. The head was filled with wood wool, the limbs and body with kapok. This bear also had a squeaky voice with a double straw.
right: year: 1915, height: 8″/20cm, Master Teddy was made in five different sizes. His bulging, squinted eyes were typical for that period, when they tried to imitate the popular caricatures of that era. This was one of the first Teddy Bears made by Chiltern. It still has his carton, chest label with his name on it.

left: year: 1940, height: 16″/42cm, This bear had a wind up mechanism which played Brahms.
middle: year: 1953, height: 11″/29cm, A Ting-a-Ling Bruin Bear, when you turned him upside down, a mechanism would make tinkling sound.
right: year: 1958, height: 11″/28cm, Bear on a tricycle.