A Brief History of Teddy Bears

They are the toys we’ve come to know and love above all others, notably the classic teddy bear. Dating back to 1902, the beloved novelty toys took over store shelves and now we simply can’t get enough of them. Of course, not only bear shaped we can have them in any shape and colour we like not to mention, ‘build a bear’ kits. Let’s discover a brief history of the bear and how we’ve come to love them so much. 

According to the Dorset Teddy Bear Museum, the teddy bear came about, from the events when President Theodore Roosevelt was hunting in Mississippi (1902).  Having been unable to shoot a bear for the entire trip, the hunting party tied a bear to a tree in desperation for the president to be able to make his kill. When Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the scene, he refused to shoot the bear as he considered it to be unsportsmanlike. To mark these events, two shopkeepers; Morris and Rose Michom created a plush bear toy for their window, naming it ‘Teddy’s Bear’ after seeing the famous newspaper cartoon illustrating the events.

Around the same time, Richard Steiff came up with a new toy design based on the bear he saw at the zoo whilst working with his aunt Margarete Steiff. This design then went into production around the 1902-1903 period. An American buyer thought they were fantastic and 3000 shipped over to the US. Thus, the teddy bear craze was born.

Nothing like we have today, the first teddy bears were often made with mohair; goat hair with wool mixture. Inside you would have found excelsior packing or ‘wood wool’. This meant they were quite heavy not at all alike today's push toys. For eyes, the bears used black leather shoe buttons which could easily be torn away.  The toys often resembled figures by the way their arms and legs could be moved to make the bear sit or stand. By today’s standards, we wouldn't consider them a bedside friend at all. Yet it comes to show how well loved the classic bear is, that even over a century later they are still such a cherished toy – being recreated and adapted continuously to keep up with modern times. There certainly aren’t many other toys that have stood the test of time like in the same way as the class


Popular Posts