National Teddy Bear Day honors the most beloved of children's toys. This special day celebrates the history of teddy bears. As you probably know, the teddy bear was named after the American president, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt who, in 1902, refused to shoot a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi. This incident made national news. Clifford Berryman published a cartoon of the event in the Washington Post on November 16th, 1902. The caricature became an instant classic. The Berryman cartoon of Teddy Roosevelt and the cub inspired New York store owner Morris Michtom to create a new toy. Morris Michtom wrote President Roosevelt to ask permission to name the new toy a “Teddy Bear.” And the rest, as they say, is history.
So while the history of our friend, Teddy, is common knowledge, here are a few facts that are not as well known.
1. To this day, there is a dispute as to who actually invented the teddy bear. Americans claim it as their own with the heartwarming story of a president and a little cub. But Germany also has a claim on the bear. Richard Steiff and his Aunt Margaret worked together and were designing new soft cuddly toys. Richard drew inspiration from the animals he saw at the local zoo. The story goes that Richard built a little toy stuffed bear and named it Friend Petz. Little Petz was on display at the Leipzig Fair in 1903. No one seemed to take much interest in the toy bear and as Steiff was packing up his wares to leave the fairgrounds, an American came along who saw the bear and fell in love with it. He ordered 3,000 of them! So as the first teddy bears were being stitched in the USA, at least 3,000 more were being made in Germany at about the same time.
2. No matter which country invented the teddy bear, it became a sensation around the globe. Theodore Roosevelt made the Teddy Bear his official mascot and proudly displayed him at all of his campaign appearances.
3. While Michtom, under the label of Ideal Novelty and Toy Company sold most of the teddy bears made in America to the Americans, our friend Richard Steiff made most of the toy bears sold in Europe. The Steiff bear was more subtle and cuter than the American version.
4. In the 1920s, after World War I, other companies began manufacturing toy bears for children of all ages.
5. In the 1970s, many new designs for teddy bears were introduced and adults began taking more interest in these huggable toys. And as the history of the teddy bear became known to more people, the demand for old, classic, or antique bears soared as collectibles.
In Germany, the Steiff's, began manufacturing "retro" bears that were copies of some of the earliest toy bears that the Steiff Company manufactured.
6. In 1984, the world's first teddy bear museum was opened in England. And Bear Mania shows no signs of letting up, thank goodness. In 1995, the first teddy bear was taken into space ion a NASA Space Shuttle.
7. In 2018, US consumers purchased $1.23 billion worth of plush toys. And dare I say that most of those toys were human's most beloved childhood companion, the teddy bear.
That does it for my tribute to the teddy bear. I learned a few interesting facts. Did you? Please stop by tomorrow for a look into Swap Ideas Day; change is good but exchange is even better! Until tomorrow, please go hug a bear. To my NFBFs (non-frog best friends) Leonard and Ernest, I love you guys and I hope you have an awesome day!