Teddy Bear History

A Chronology of Teddy Bear History

1834 Goldilocks & the Three Bears
1899 Margarete Steiff registers patents for 23 of her soft toy designs, including a dancing bear
1902 Morris Michtom sells the first “Teddy’s Bear” in his Brooklyn shop
1903 Steiff company sells 3000 of its 55 PB bear to America
1926 Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne published
1930 Lyrics of The Teddy Bear’s Picnic written by Jimmy Kennedy set to music
1969 Peter Bull published Bear with Me (known as The Teddy Bear Book)
1989 First British Teddy Bear Festival held in London
1994 Teddy Girl by Steiff, formerly owned by Colonel Bob Henderson is sold at auction at Christie’s in London for     $176,000

When it All Began - 1902

The cuddly children’s toys was created, almost simultaneously, in Germany and the United states in 1902. In 2002, the teddy bear turned 100 years old and has become a 20th century icon and children's toyl The teddy bear was invented from as a result of a hunting incident of United States 26th President, Theodore ‘Teddy” Roosevelt. While President Roosevelt was hunting, he failed to shoot at a bear. The hosts of the outing tethered the bear for President Roosevelt to shoot at but he would not and said, “Spare the Bear! I will not shoot a tethered animal” A Washington Post cartoon soon followed which illustrated this infamous utterance and incident.

Thereafter, shopkeepers Morris and Rose Michtom made a soft bear toy, which they named ‘Teddy’s Bear’ after the cartoon and America went wild. Across the ocean, Margarete Steiff, had added a plush soft bear to the Steiff catalogue and quickly sold 3000 to America in 1903. The Michtom’s went to to create Ideal Novelty and Toy Company. The teddy bear quickly became the lastest toy craze.

The Teddy Bear Craze

Around 1906, the teddy bear craze was in full swing. Children and adults carried their teddy bears wherever they went. President Roosevelt used his bear as a mascot in his re-election bid. New teddy bear manufactures sprang up to compete with Steiff and Ideal. Most notably, Gund Manufacturing Corporation. Gund made its first bears in 1906 and continues developing and creating new bears daily.

In England, The J.K. Farnell & Co. got its start; in fact, the original Winnie the Pooh was a Farnell bear Christopher Robin Milne received as a first birthday present from his mother in 1921. Five years later, his father, A.A. Milne, would begin to publish the Winnie-the-Pooh books about his son Christopher's adventures with his bear and his other stuffed animals. Today you can see the original toys that inspired the Winnie-the-Pooh books on permanent display in the Central Children's Room of the Donnell Branch of the New York Public Library in New York City, while the Pooh books More

Teddy Bear’s Today

In 1969 Teddy Bears were given a positive affirmation as British Actor Peter Bull openly expressed his love for teddy bears. Bull believed that teddy bears created were significant to the emotional life for adults and went on to write a book entitled, Bear with Me, later named The Teddy Bear Book. Thousands of people confirmed Bull’s feelings and a resurgence of the teddy bear craze began.

As the craze rekindled so too did collecting teddy bears. Adults became fascinated with this adult collectible, seeking out antique teddy bears manufactured in the first decades of the 20th century. In the 1970s and 1980s, these old, manufactured teddy bears began showing up in antique doll and toy auctions. One teddy bear, Teddy Girl by Steiff, is worth $176,000; that bear was sold at Christie's auction house in 1994.

As we move into a new century, teddy bear's continue to be a symbol of comfort, security, love and reassurance for children of all ages.