In 1881 Eisenmann & Co., German fancy goods and toy exporters was founded by brothers Joseph and Gabrial Eisenmann. Joseph dealt with the British side of the firms dealings at 45 Whitecross St, London and Gabrial with the German side. In 1900 Leon Rees moved from Germany to England and became Joseph's partner and later son in law.
Chiltern Toy Works was opened by Joseph Eisenmann in 1908, at Bellingdon Rd, Chesham, Buckinghamshire, UK.
The company took its name from the Chiltern Hills which surround the area.
The Chiltern toy factory initially only produced dolls, but in 1915 their first bear, the Master Teddy, was made.
On Joseph's death in 1919 Leon Rees, inherited the Chiltern factory. In 1920 the firm relocated to larger premises at Waterside in Chesham.
In 1920 Leon went into partnership with Harry Stone, formerly of J.K. Farnell and a new company H G Stone and Co. Ltd. was formed. Leon was responsible for marketing and sales and Harry for design and manufacture.
In 1921 the company opened a second factory at Grove Rd Tottenham, London. The new company continued to use the established Chiltern trademark and the name Chiltern Toys was registered by the company in 1924.
In 1923 a range of bears called Hugmee's were introduced, and proved so popular that they were still in production up to 1967.
In 1929 the firm built a new factory named The Chiltern Works in Bernard Road, South Tottenham, London and closed their Grove Rd factory. To celebrate the firm introduced a new bear to its range, 'Silky Teddy' their first artificial, silk plush bear.
In December of 1932 the company finally decided to register as a private limited company.
Harry Stone died in 1934.
Throughout the war toy making stopped at the Chesham factory, although some toys were still produced in London. At the end of the war toy making in Chesham was moved from the Waterside factory to the Amersham works at Chesham, another Rees owned factory.
In 1946 a new factory was built at Pontypool, Monthmouthshire in Wales, to cope with the increased demand. It came into production in 1947 under the management of Mr Thwaites and at its peak employed a workforce of around three hundred people.
The Amersham toy works continued production until 1960.
Leon Rees died in 1963.
In 1964 both the Chiltern and Rees companies were taken over by the Dunbee-Combex group which in 1967 became a subsidiary of Chad Valley. A special Chiltern/Chad Valley label was used on bears made after this period.
Principal designers for Chiltern were:
Pre 1939, Ann Cameron-Banks.
1945 - 1958 Madeline Biggs.
1958 - 1968 Pam Howells.