Teddy bears are adorable, wonderful toys that both children and adults love! It is something that gets us all together. We mean, who would not love them? They are cuddly, cute, and adorable!
Teddy bears can be a child’s super friend or an adult’s favorite bed décor. But have you ever wondered how it got its name? Why Teddy, specifically? Apparently, the name “Teddy Bear” is named after former president Theodore Roosevelt. If you want to know more about the history of this stuffed, fluffy toy, make sure to scroll!
The history of the name “Teddy Bear”
The birth of “Teddy bear” started with a hunting trip wherein former Theodore Roosevelt joined in 1902 in Mississippi due to an invitation of the Mississippi Governor, Andrew H. Longino. During the three days of hunting, the other members of the hunting trip had spotted bears, except the former American president.
While hunting, Roosevelt thought that killing a helpless, defenseless animal was very “unsportsmanlike” after he said no in killing the captured bear. However, since the bear is already suffering and injured, he ordered that they should end its pain. This occurrence immediately became a national hit, with newspapers putting it on the headlines. Even so, political cartoonist Clifford Berryman showcased the story through a cartoon showing how the president neglected shooting the caught bear.
This original cartoon, which was published in the Washington post last November 1902, showed former president Theodore Roosevelt standing in the front while the bear and the hunting guide were in the background—all of them are the same size. This cartoon prompted the development of other cartoons, but the bear appears smaller and more frightened of Roosevelt. Now a bear cub, this character appeared in the other published cartoons of Clifford Berryman.
On the other hand, in Brooklyn, New York, Morris Michtom, a shop owner, saw a potential in the cartoons and had an idea about transforming it into something tangible. Therefore, he and his wife decided to create a plush: a stuffed, cuddly bear, and then placed it in front of their shop for people to take a gander at.
Morris Michtom then asked permission from Theodore Roosevelt to name these plushies as “Teddy Bears,” to which the president approved. Ever since the president approved of the idea, teddy bears rapidly gained popularity among the Americans. With the rise of demand for teddy bears, Michtom mass-produced them and eventually established Toy Company and Ideal Novelty.
Unbeknown to Morris Michtom and his wife, there was a stuffed toy being created in Germany at around the same time! A German company named Steiff started manufacturing stuffed bears as well. Owned by Richard Steiff and Margaret Steiff, a woman who earned a living for years only by sewing, started creating stuffed animals. She also made stuffed bears, and the Americans ordered a lot of it to feed their increasing demands. These bears, now known as teddy bears, are what fueled them to international fame.
It was believed that the first teddy bears were developed using mohair fur to mimic their features. Today, teddy bears are mass-produced with synthetic fur so that no animals will be harmed in the process of making it.
Random facts about teddy bears
If it were not for that hunting moment, imagine what the world would be like without teddy bears! These plushies have been a staple in the market, specifically among kids.
Did you know that teddy bears that were produced during the early years looked like actual bears? Contrary to what we commonly adore today, teddy bears back in the day had dark eyes, long noses, and shaped like a real bear. Today, we have cute, gentle-looking bears to cater to the younger market!
Another fact is that teddy bears made out of alpaca pelt can be bought in specialized stores, but beware: they come with expensive price tags!
Another fun fact: did you know that the world’s most famous bears are Paddington and Winnie the Pooh? The latter was developed by Elisabetta Gnone and A. A. Milne, while the former was created by Michael Bond.
And lastly, did you know that the largest teddy bear measures 19.41 meters in length? It’s a teddy bear made in Mexico last 2019!