WHEN TEDDY BEARS BEGAN
When Teddy Bears Began
The first Teddy Bear was designed and made by Rose and Morris Michtom. The Michtoms were influenced by Teddy Roosevelt and Clifford Berryman.
It seems that in November 1902, President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt traveled to Mississippi to settle a border dispute between Louisiana and Mississippi. The President, having a little free time, went on a hunting trip. The other members of the hunting party tied a black bear cub to a tree for the president to shoot but he refused.
Hearing the tale, political cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew a cartoon showing Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear.
After seeing the cartoon, Brooklyn Shopkeeper Morris Michtom asked his wife, Rose, to make 2 stuffed bears to place in the shop window. The excelsior stuffed bears with the black, shoe button eyes gained national popularity. Michtom had an idea to combine the bears popularity with Teddy Roosevelt; Michtom contacted the President and asked for permission to call his stuffed bears 'Teddy Bears'. President Roosevelt agreed and the first Teddy Bear was born.
Morris Michtom named his store The Ideal Novelty and Toy Company, and began the first Teddy Bear factory in the United States. In the same year the Steiff company in Germany, began making it's version of the jointed bear, on it's own. This company, owned by Margarete Steiff, has been making toys since 1880.
Margarete's nephew, Richard Steiff, after seeing performing bears at a traveling circus, had an idea to make a toy bear that stood upright. Richard was a good artist and after visiting a nearby zoo to make sketches of the bears, designed the first jointed bear. The bear was 2 feet tall and, because of the jointed arms and legs, was able to stand upright or on all 4 legs just as a real bear could.
The Teddy Bear is the most popular plush toy. Other toys may come and go but the Teddy Bear is over 100 years old and has stood the test of time. Teddy Bears are used every day for various reasons. Pink and/or blue Teddy Bears are attached to baby shower presents; and they are given as gifts for the new baby. Teddy Bears wearing cap and gown are given to high school graduates. We adorn our wedding cakes with Teddy Bears dressed as the bride and groom and a hospitalized friend may receive a smiling Teddy Bear dressed in a nurses uniform and hat.
Teddy Bears are especially popular during the holidays. Santa Bears and Snow Bears abound at Christmas. Teddy Bears are available for every holiday or celebration, and nearly everyone has called the Teddy Bear a friend at one time or another.
When we were children the soft, cuddly Teddy Bear was a constant companion who got us through a lot of scary nights and went with us everywhere. We cared for them as if they were a family member, feeding, clothing and even bathing them when they became dirty. A best friend our Teddy Bear was always nearby.