|Vintage mohair teddy bear, Mulberry Terrace|
Teddy bears are named after Theodore Roosevelt, the American president who refused to shoot a bear cub on a hunting trip in 1902.
The following year, inspired by a political cartoon in The Washington Post that depicted President Roosevelt's refusal the shoot the bear, Morris Michtom, a Russian immigrant living in Brooklyn, created a stuffed bear for children. That same year, the German toy company Steiff also created a stuffed toy bear, so historical credit goes equally to Michtom and Steiff, two toy-makers on opposite sides of the world. Talk about a happy coincidence!
Antique and vintage teddy bears are highly collectible today. They can be identified and dated by label, materials, color and form. Before World War II, bears usually had long limbs with large, upturned paw pads, pronounced snouts and humped backs. They were almost always made from mohair with a solid feel (they were stuffed with wood shavings or the thick fibers from kapok trees).
After the war, bears changed in form with shorter limbs and softer, plumper bodies, less pronounced snouts, and rounder heads. Teddy bears have stood the test of time with stuffed animals now made in every species, shape, size and color. There are even stores where families can go to stuff and dress their own custom teddy bears. Thanks, Teddy Roosevelt!
(Clockwise from left) Antique mohair teddy bear, aquamarine dream,