Can you imagine a world without our favorite bear toys: without our Teddy Bear? With their soft coats,
sad eyes and gentle expressions teddy bears were created to demand caresses and love.
Cherished by everybody all over the world, the charismatic Teddy is unique.
The teddy bear, that cherished companion of both the young and old, seems always
to have been around, played with by generations of children as far back as anyone can remember.
For collectors, it is difficult to believe that there was ever a time before they existed.
Surprisingly, however, their origin is relatively modern and he is just 105 years old.
First appearance of Teddy Bear
There are many theories about where the teddy bear first appeared. The English story is that teddy bears
were named after King Edward VII and others say that he was German, but the most popular version
of how the teddy bear came into being maintains that his true father was another famous
Teddy - Theodore Roosevelt, former President of the USA.
Theodor Roosevelt and toy Teddy Bear
The basic story of the original toy teddy bear goes like this: Theodor Roosevelt was well known for his love
of hunting. On a hunting trip in Mississippi in 1902, the president found himself nose to nose with poor little bear cub.
Because the president does not have real taste for an easy victory, he uttered his now famous remark:
"If I killed this little bear, I could never look my own children in the face".
One of the most famous cartoonists of the day had heard of the incident and immortalised it in a cartoon.
He was seeking a humorous way to comment on the political events of the day.
The cartoonist's name was Clifford L. Berryman of the Washington Evening Star and its initial appearance was
on November 18, the drawing soon being published all over America.
Mr. Gregory Wilson, in his article "The Birth of the Teddy Bear" closes his
fascinatig report with the statememnt 'Thus, The Teddy Bear was born as a result of racial pun'
C. Berryman cartoon of President
and the bear cub he refused
to kill in 1902 in Washington Star
Neither the President nor C. Berryman could have possibly realised
that they had played crucial roles in the creation of the Teddy Bear.
The first American soft toy maker to recognise the marketing possibilities of Clifford Berryman’s pathetic little bear cub
was shopkeeper Morris Michtom, who ran a Brooklyn stationery and candy store. His wife Rose created a brown plush
bear that was filled with wood-shavings and fitted with boot button eyes. The toy was displayed alongside the cartoon
titled "Drawing the Line in Mississippi" and labelled "Teddy Bear".
Teddy Bears and the Toy Company Steiff
The German toy company Steiff has made teddy bears that have been consistently popular with both children and collectors.
While other companies produce millions of stuffed teddy bears, none has ever achieved the status of Steiff,
and Steiff bears are still manufactured, the older versions being highly prized as collector's items.
By 1907, Teddy Bear enthusiasm had reached manic proportions. Beside the actual bears themselves,
there were boxed games such as Teddy's Bear Hunt and ranges of clothes especially for Teddy boys and Teddy girls.
In addition, there were numerous types of Teddy bears paper, books, postcards, card games, board games and
automobiles specially made for Teddies.
Furry animals - Teddy
Teddy bears were thought of as toys for boys, but it was soon discovered that little girls liked them as well.
There were complaints that the mothering instinct in girls was destroyed by their obvious affection for
these furry animals – the Teddy. One great advantage of the new toy was its equal appeal to both genders and
advertising and contemporary photographs reveal boys as often as girls playing with the Teddy toy.