Hi everyone! And welcome to “What is the History of Teddy Bears? ”. This is part 1 of series dedicated to Teddy Bears, hope you like it!
Teddy Bears are awesome and i would like to share some knowledge so you learn more of this beloved toy and how it came to be.
Developed simultaneously in the early years of the 20th century (1901-1909) by toy makers Richard Steiff in Germany and Morris Michtom in the US, teddy bears became an iconic children’s toy, that have been inspiration for stories, songs, and movies.
In the US:
The name “ Teddy” originated after US President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, he participated in a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi. While hunting Roosevelt declared the behavior of the other hunters was “unsportsmanlike” as they cornered, tied and clubbed a Black Bear, then suggesting Roosevelt should be the one to shoot him, but he refused to kill it. Although as the animal was suffering he did ask for the bear to be put out of his misery.
Word spread of what happened in the bear-hunting trip, causing many newspapers in the country to make political cartoons showing “Teddy and the bear”;
(BTW Roosevelt loathed the nickname “Teddy”)
Toymaker Morris Michtom saw the drawing on the newspapers and was inspired to create a Teddy Bear. He made a soft, tiny bear cub, showcasing it on his shop with a sign “Teddy’s Bear”, but before that, he sent a bear to Roosevelt to ask permission to use his name, which he got.
As you can imagine they were a success! and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co.
Not only an inspiration to create a toy, but this event inspired many other’s, an example is educator Seymour Eaton who wrote the children’s book series “The Roosevelt Bears”.
Now let’s go to….
As I mentioned, Teddy Bears were developed simultaneously, but unlike the inspiration and success for the toy in the US, the stuffed animal debuted at the Leipzig Toy Fair in Germany 1903 sadly it did not attract attention, but luckily for Richard Steiff his designs were seen by Hermann Berg, a buyer for George Borgfeldt & Company in NY. He bought the entire lot of 100 bears and ordered another 3,000!! just before the exhibition was about to end.
Records show that the bears (type 55 PB) were produced and sent to the US, but there’s none to confirm if they arrived, leading to think they might have been shipwrecked. Although, notes recorded in 1953 by Gunther Pfieffer says it’s more likely that the bears (type 55 PB) were not sufficiently durable to survive until the present day.
The bear above is the first and oldest model that has survived to this day, known as the “Rod Teddy Bear”, made in the 1904-1905!. It is said that there is only 50 of them still around owned by collectors. Last time one was seen in an auction they asked 10,000 but it was sold by more than 30,000!.
In our day we still have some antique bears by Steiff, known to have a small metal clip in the ear, and be extremely valuable. If you come across one, you might want to hold on to it.
It’s said that although Steiff and Michtom were making bears around the same time, neither would have known of the other’s creation due to the poor transatlantic communication.
The first teddy bears were made to look like real bears, you know; extended snouts and beady eyes. Now they tend to have baby features, such as large eyes, big foreheads and smaller noses, enhancing the cuteness.
We also have teddy bears representing the different species, such as; pandas, polar bears, grizzly bears, etc. Not to mention you can find them in different types of fabric to match your tastes, before the standard material was Mohair which is a silk like fabric made from the hair of the Angora Goat, also known as the “Diamond Fiber” as it is very durable and high quality.
This is all the information for this post, what do you think? Aren’t the teddy bear origins awesome?
Leave a comment and share your opinion!
I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of the -Teddy Bear Series- and come back for more! See you soon!
If you would like to buy a teddy bear check out the links below!;
They have some pretty awesome ones!
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