How it began

The invention of the Teddy Bear

Early Teddy Bear made by Steiff, with shoe button eyes and centre seam, ca. 1905 - 1908
Margarete Steiff, a lady fated by polio to spend her life in a wheel chair, founded the firm of Steiff in the 1880s. She has been successfully producing animals of felt in Giengen an der Brenz (Germany) for years. Her nephew, Richard Steiff, had the idea of making a toy bear with movable joints and head. Bears had always been his favourites at the zoo where he spent his free time in front of the cages by watching and drawing them. The result, the first toy bear, made of finest mohair and with jointed arms, legs and head, was exhibited at the Leipzig Fair in 1903 and the representative of a big New York import house ordered 3000 pieces immediately!

But there are other nations also being claimants of the invention of the Teddy Bear, for instance the USA, where Rose and Morris Michtom (better known by their later company name "Ideal Toy and Novelty Co.") produced a little bear with movable limbs and shoe button eyes. And this bear was on display in the window of their shop in New York - just in the year 1903!

The beginning:
Teddy Bear's name

Many anecdotes have been told about the name of the "Teddy" bear. One event has been recorded in a cartoon by Clifford Berryman. He drew a picture of President Roosevelt (1858-1919, President of the USA 1901-1909, Nobel prize of peace in 1906) showing him - gun in hand - refusing to shoot a small bear cub on a hunting (1902 Washington Post). Berryman's cartoon appeared in newspapers all over the world and the little bear became a symbol for the President in his political cartoons. This little bear was the link between Mr. President - whose nickname was "Teddy" - and the Teddy Bear. Jenny
American Teddy Bear with electric eyes, made between 1907 to 1914

How it went on:
Many manufacturers followed
the Teddy Bear Trend

Austria In Austria:
Berg (Tiere mit Herz), Fieberbrunn; Fechter, Graz; Schenker, Graz, Saf, Bad Mittterndorf; Hummer, Steyr and more

Germany In Germany:
Süssenguth, Neustadt; Josef Leven (later: Hermann), Sonneberg; Hermann, Hirschaid; Clemens, Baden; Baki, Coburg; Schuco, Nürnberg; Bing Werke, Nürnberg; Petz, Neustadt; Grisly, Kirchheimboden and many more!

United Kingdom In the United Kingdom:
Merrythought,Telford; The Chad Valley Co., Birmingham; J.K. Farnell, London; Deans Rag Book, London and many more

France In France:
M. Pintel Fils, Paris; Thiennot, Piney; Fadap, Divonne-les-Bains and more

USA In the United States of America:
Bruin Manufacturers, New York; Gund Manufacturing, Norwalk; Aetna Toy Animal, New York and many more!

To give only a few examples! Many types of Teddy Bears were launched! Some of them nodding Yes and No, some rolling their eyes, some walking, some actually could speak!

And they survived two World Wars!

New materials came up, new patterns with rounder head and shorter limbs were designed. The first machine washable Teddy Bear with safety eyes was created.

Present day Teddy Bear:
Teddy Bears whatever happens

Teddy Bear related items
Today the Teddy Bear is all-present: on post cards, picture books, jewellery, designer clothing, everyday clothing, tableware, comics. The Teddy Bear serves as advertising medium and art object, numerous collectors' books and magazines have been published and the Wiener Teddybärenmuseum was opened!

The 'Wiener Teddybärenmuseum' was open from February 28th, 1996 until March 18th, 2001. The museum presented a huge private collection. The 'Wiener Teddybärenmuseum' was a private institution with neither municipal nor any other public aid.

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