How Old Is My Jakas Teddy Bear?

The Jakas company began producing teddy bears in the late 1950s, in Melbourne.

1950s-The earliest teddies were distinctively different to those made from the 1960s on-wards. Fully jointed, and with brown glass eyes, they were made from a wool/synthetic fabric, with woven fabric for the pads (possibly being reversed pieces of the body material). The label was machine-stitched on beige fabric, reading JAKAS TOYS/ WASH IN LUX€™.

Teddies produced from the 1960s to the 1980s have a distinctive look, and can more easily be recognised and dated, according to their labels, fabrics and €˜look€™.

1962-One of the most recognised teddies in Australia would be €˜Big Ted€™ from the longest running children€™s television show, €˜Play School€™. Big Ted was produced by Jakas and has the outstretched arms and face that were to become synonymous with Jakas. He has plastic lock-in eyes, pioneered by Wendy Boston, which met the newly-introduced government regulations for child safety. His label, as do the other teddies made at this time, would read€™ JAKAS TOYS/WASH IN LUKEWARM LUX€™, embroidered in red on a white background. Foam-filled, he is able to be fully submerged, which allows him to be hygienically washed. The teddy shown in the featured picture is also a 1960s teddy.

These unjointed teddies were produced in a range of sizes, from 15 cm, which included a satin hanging ribbbon, for attaching to a cot or bassinette. The majority were made in shades of beige, yellow or orange, though blue, pink, and other colours were also manufactured.

1970s-This teddy was made in the late 1970s. His face is very similar to those of the 1960s, with the small, black vertically-stitched nose and small, straight mouth. This sheild-shaped nose and mouth are distinctive to the company. The fabric has a shorter pile, but is also a synthetic plush. As can be seen, his head is round, with a flat muzzle. He was made, as most Jakas teddies of this time were, in the seated position, with arms outstretched. He doesn€™t have any pads. and is 32cm tall. His label reads €˜JAKAS TOYS€™, sewn onto the inside of his right leg, embroidered in red on white cotton.

1980s-The fabric used at this time, and for this teddy, had a longer pile, and so teddies produced during the 1980s appear more fluffy than earlier versions. This example also has a smile, whereas most others retained the horizontal mouth. His tags reads JAKAS TOYS€™, printed in red ink on a white background.

1989Jakas also produced a limited edition range of high quality synthetic toys and teddies, to compete with the influx of cheaper Asian imports, by offering quality for discerning buyers. This included a pussy cat with a lovely smiling face, and of wonderful quality. Her eyes are high-quality plastic, and she has embroidered features. The pink plush used for her body is woven-backed, and very thick. Pads are of pink cotton. Her tag reads JAKAS SOFT TOYS/MELBOURNE-AUSTRALIA€™, with the €˜Made in Australia€™ symbol on the right hand side, and is printed in green ink on white.

1990-A limited edition of mohair teddies was also produced in this year. These teddies are quite hard to find.

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