History of the Teddy Bear

PB 55 ReplicaThe teddy bear is the most recognisable cuddly toy ever. The History of the Teddy Bear is short as the teddy has only been around for about 111 years, conceived at the same time by two different toymakers with creative genius.

Prior to this time children would have owned a stuffed animal or some other form of plush toy such as a doll.

The concept of a child’s cuddly toy is supposed to go as far back as Egyptian times but this is not true in the way that you think.

The artwork and hieroglyphics suggests stuffed animals were present but more for animal depictions in ceremonies and celebrations more than the cuddly toys we know today.

Early stuffed toys and dolls made an entry around the 1830’s using cloth and straw as the stuffing, looking more like a knitted sock material on the outside.

In the 1880’s the stuffed animal and cuddly toy took on more of a look that we see today, toymakers started using softer more commercial materials.

The history of  the teddy bear started in 1902 when plush teddy bears were conceived simultaneously by Morris Michtom and Richard Steiff, Michtom from the USA and Steiff from Germany.

The Steiff Bears are now a very sought after collectors items.

Teddy Roosevelt and a Teddy BearThe teddy bear is named after Theodore Roosevelt Jr, the US President at the time.

It is said that in November of 1902 Roosevelt whilst on a hunting trip declined to shoot a black bear that had been caught for him and tied to a tree.

The bear was suffering after the dogs had chased it down in the hunt. Roosevelt said that the act of killing a bear in this manner was unsportsmanlike.

Teddy Roosevelt with Bear CubA reporter from The Washington Post reported the event in caricature depicting the bear as a small cuddly plush toy.

Morris Michtom seeing the article had a fully made plush toy teddy bear in his shop window for sale by the next day, and so the history of the teddy bear began. 

Another famous animal that was made into a stuffed toy around this time was peter rabbit originally a book written by Beatrix Potter.

Things have progressed at an amazing pace in the world of the teddy bear since the early 1900’s.

Today you can get anything from an Elvis teddy to your own personalized teddy bear.

They even make movies about teddies. In fact recently I went to the cinema to watch a hilarious movie that was extremely coarse about a cuddly toy teddy bear called ‘TED.’ But this movie is definitely not one that is for the kids.

If you suffer from a case of arctophilia (love of the teddy bear) and wish to know more check out Merrythought, the oldest bear manufacturer in England or do some research on how to start collecting antique teddy bears.

You never know even something as simple as a garage sale might net you something unique and valuable, as it did a friend of mine fifty cents to one thousand five hundred dollars.

So - Good Luck!!!

If on the other hand you are not that ambitious and simple want to make a bear click on this link for our welcome page.  To get started straight away click on the links below.

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