Jean Hoefler began as a tin toy manufacturer in Fürth, Germany, in 1923. The company switched to plastic production in 1956. Animal figures can be marked W. Germany, or with any of several names of companies that used the animals as premiums. These include NIGRIN, a shoe polish maker, JAQUET, a chocolate maker, COLONIL, also shoe polish and TRIPP, who made dog food. In 1962 the company name changed to BIG, and is now part of the Simba Dickie Group.