Wednesday, February 27, 2013

History Lesson: Teddy Bears

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!



Cartoon photo source: The Washington Post

15 comments:

Niftic Vintage said...

What a charming post Ana! Thank you for your interesting insights on this adorable little creature as well!

HilltopTimes said...

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear Turn Around! Informative, charming, and ever-so sweet! Who doesn't love a teddy! Thank you for this wonderful post!

Miss Magpies Shoppe said...

Wonderful and enlightening blog post! Enjoyed it tremendously. I still have some teddy bears, they sit in my wicker chair :)

Mothra Sue said...

oh my gosh this post is adorable! i love vintage teddy bears!

BeeJayKay said...

I love this! Long live the Teddy Bear!

Whimzy Thyme said...

Love teddy bears. Thanks so much for the great information.

Snapshot Vintage said...

what a great blog! such a common childhood object of which I knew nothing about!

gazaboo said...

Such beloved toys with a charming history. Great post, thanks Ana!

Story Tellers Vintage said...

Oh and they're just so cute too!
I remember my 1st teddy...I guess he's vintage now too :)
Great history lesson Ana!

Teresa @ good-grace said...

oh my! Who knew?! Love the background story on the sweet little teddy bear.

CakeNumber9 said...

I had no idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

Kathi said...

Love the bears and the history that goes with them. Great post!!!

OceansideCastleVintage said...

Wonderful historical article. I found it very entertaining.
So neat that Teddy Bears are part of our USA history!
Teddy Roosevelt was an amazing character. So fitting that he also began our National Parks Preservation and in doing so, preserved the natural habitat for bears in the wild.

Andrea Holding said...

Fun read! Now where's my teddy? Thanks for this post!

Wicked Darling said...

What a cute, fun and informative post!!! Thanks so much for sharing with us!! LOVE it!! :)

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