The Evolution of the Teddy Bear

If you are wondering where your favourite cuddly stuffed animal gets its name from, here’s a story for you! It all began in 1902, when Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, then-President of the United States went on a hunting trip. Roosevelt’s refusal to kill a bear cub was met with amusement. The incident was depicted in a cartoon as a political commentary. Soon, several versions of this drawing became popular. A store owner in New York, inspired by the drawings, created a plush bear, and with Roosevelt’s permission, marketed it as “Teddy’s Bear”.

The toy gained instant fame and became a bestseller, causing many brands to begin manufacturing the bears on a large scale. As a result, billions of bear-shaped toys have been sold over the years. The production process has been transformed entirely, with most toys being mass produced. A switch has also been made from the traditionally used brown fur to more easily available synthetic fibres in various colours. Despite this mass manufacturing, there are also several doll makers who create handmade teddy bears and cater to custom orders.

Due to the change in method and style of teddy bears now being made, older toys are classified as ‘vintage’, and are therefore viewed as collectors’ items. These antique bears are valued quite highly, especially if they appear rugged and worn in appearance, in order to ensure authenticity. Since the pattern is relatively easy, teddy bears are also a common project among amateur toymakers, who make, sell or donate their toys.

In terms of appearance, the traditional teddy, based on a black bear, has undergone quite a few changes over the years. Teddy bear dolls have since become inclusive of other species of bears like pandas and polar bears as well. While the original bear was a light-brown colour, teddy bears now come in an array of hues! Whether your Mr. Cuddles is brown, blue, red or pink and is missing an eye or two, make sure to give the soft toy a big hug while silently thanking Theodore Roosevelt!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *