Teddy bears are soft stuffed toy that are designed to look like a bear. They are popular gifts to show affection, collected by teddy bear enthusiasts and are also much loved by children all around the world. It is estimated that the retail sales for teddy bears in 2011 will top $1.5 billion. Let’s take a look at who invented this popular toy.
Who invented the teddy bear?
The story behind the invention of the teddy bear is quite interesting. The idea for creating this stuffed toy came from a famous moment in the life of President Theodore Roosevelt, who was known by the nickname “teddy”. In 1902 some of the president’s attendants hunted a black bear with hounds. They cornered the bear, beat it and then tied it to a tree. They called the President to the tree to shoot the bear, but he considered this act to be unsportsmanlike and refused. Instead he told his attendants to perform a mercy killing. Not long after a political cartoon of this moment was published in the Washington Post.
A candy salesman and stuffed toy maker named Morris Michtom saw the cartoon in the newspaper and, together with his wife Rose, was inspired to create the very first teddy bear. After sending a sample to President Roosevelt and gaining his approval to use his name, he began selling the bear in his shop. He advertised the bear in his shop window with a sign “Teddy’s bear.” The teddy bear was an immediate success and Michtom went on to found the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. Originally teddy bears were also known as “Roosevelt Bears,” but today teddy bears is the name most commonly used.
Did you know?
Another claim for the invention of the teddy bear comes from Germany. It was reported that the Steiff firm made a stuffed bear from designs by Richard Steiff in 1903. Reportedly, 3000 were ordered to be shipped to the United States, but the existence of this shipment is still disputed.