From a small-scale maker of plush toys and novelties founded over 120 years ago, GUND grew to become a leader in the toy industry. Its huggable toys for children still loved by children and collectors alike.
Founded 1898 by Adolph Gund in Norwalk, Connecticut as Gund Manufacturing Company. The company initially manufactured toys and novelties on a small scale, including plush teddy bears, dogs, and bunnies.
Adolph Gund patented innovative mechanisms that animated plush toys with movement, such as walking and jumping.
GUND’s first dedicated manufacturing facility was established in 1922 in New York City.
Adolph established strict safety standards for both its toys and manufacturing practices.
Adolph retired from GUND in 1925, and long time manufacturing employee, Jacob Swedlin, purchased the company. Swedlin kept a promise to Adolph to maintain operations under the GUND name.
To support the war effort in 1945, GUND produced a plush toy to promote the purchase of war bonds. The toy was outfitted in military-inspired attire.
GUND began licensing properties for new products in the 1960s. This included popular characters such as Pluto, Mickey Mouse, Winnie the Pooh, and Popeye.
After Jacob Swedlin died, his son-in-law, Herbert Raiffe, took over as president in 1969.
The company continued to innovate by adding exotic animals, such as the panda bear in 1972, to its line of plush toys.
Panda bears experienced a surge in popularity in the 1970s thanks to Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, two real pandas gifted by China to the United States.
GUND set its sights on younger consumers with the launch of its KinderGUND and babyGUND lines in the 1990s.
GUND was purchased by giftware company Enesco in 2008.
GUND is currently led by Bruce Raiffe, grandson of former GUND president, Jacob Swedlin.
GUND celebrated its 100-year anniversary in 1998. To mark the occasion, the company auctioned a commemorative plush bear that raised $100,000 for children’s charities.
In 2002, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp celebrating 100 years of the teddy bear. The stamp featured an image of a 1948 GUND teddy bear.
GUND continues to make plush toys under parent company, Spin Master, which purchased GUND from Enesco in 2018.
GUND toys are sold worldwide. Its earliest toys and novelties remain popular with collectors, particularly the plush creations featuring the company’s early signature, a four-circle design.