Tuesday, June 2, 2009

History of Teddy Bears

To begin with my blog, I would like to start this with bears...bears,bears and of course bears. I am fond of collecting bears, in any size,color and form.Recently, I dropped into one of the sites stating the history of Teddy Bears.

The cuddly children’s toy, - quite unlike a real bear- was invented almost simultaneously in the United States and Germany but the United States undoubtedly gave it its name. In November 1902 Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, was hunting in Mississippi. The President failed to make a kill so his hosts caught and tethered a bear, presenting it to the President as a sitting target. Naturally the President refused, uttering the immortal words, ‘Spare the bear! I will not shoot a tethered animal.’ Clifford Berryman drew a cartoon of the scene, which was published in the Washington Post.
(Left Theodore Roosevelt , and behind - his famous 'Spare The Bear' cartoon depiction)
That same month Brooklyn shopkeepers Morris and Rose Michtom made a soft bear toy, which they named ‘Teddy’s Bear’ and displayed in their window with a copy of the cartoon. America went bear mad almost overnight, the Michtoms went on to make their fortune with the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company and President Roosevelt had found a highly effective political mascot.

On the other side of the Atlantic Margarete Steiff, a disabled German seamstress with a soft toy factory in Giengen, had added a soft plush bear to the Steiff catalogue and sold 3,000 to America in 1903. Between 1903 and the First World War Steiff sold literally millions of bears, with their trademark button in the left ear, to the United States, Germany and Britain, as the teddy bear overtook the diabolo as the latest toy craze.

For collectors very early Steiff bears, with their hump backs, long snouts, large tapered feet and elongated arms with curved paws, are the most sought-after.

Early Ideal American bears, with their tubby bodies, triangular faces and long straight arms and legs fetch very high prices too. America also made some extraordinary novelty bears during this period. These include the 1907 Laughing Roosevelt Bear by the Columbia Teddy Bear Company, which opens its mouth to display large teeth like those of the President, and the 1917 red white and blue Patriotic Bear with electric light bulb eyes.

In the inter-war years many new firms started up. Bing (famous for mechanical bears), Schuco (which specialised in miniature bears), and Hermann are three of the most collectable German makes from this period. J.K. Farnell (which made the original Winnie-the -Pooh bought for Christopher Robin in 1921), Dean’s, (which began making plush bears in 1915) and Merrythought (established in 1930), are the best-known British firms.
(Left: A clockwork teddy bear violinist)
Technological and social change after World War II changed the face of the soft toy industry. Many traditional manufacturers ceased trading in the face of an influx of cheap, mass-produced soft toys from the Far East. By the end of the 1960s the traditional teddy bear appeared doomed. Instead it enjoyed an unexpected renaissance which began in 1969, when ‘arctophile’ (bear collector) Peter Bull published a book about his hobby. Suddenly old-fashioned teddy bears were desirable objects again. An adult collectors’ market for old bears and teddy bear ephemera began to emerge while a new area of collecting was created by ‘bear artists’ making high quality, hand crafted bears in the traditional manner. In 1985 Christie’s held the first ever auction devoted to old teddy bears and the Teddy Bear Artists Guild was founded in the USA. More than 100 years on, teddy bears, old and young, find themselves more popular than ever.

To see some of their bears, just click here The Teddy Bear Museum.

This is the first polar bear my baby gave to me.

Here's more of polar bears (the small one I named him Inuka and the big one as Sheba). Theirs names are after the names of the residents of
Singapore Zoo

Actually, there are still more pictures of my teddy bears, but unfortunately I left them in the Philippines when I moved here in Singapore early this year. These polar bears are with me right now.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...