Teddy Bears

Posted on January 12, 2015

Nov. 16, 1902
A cartoon by Clifford Berryman entitled “Drawing the Line in Mississippi” appears in the Washington Post. It depicts a reported incident in which President Theodore Roosevelt went on a hunting trip in Mississippi. His attendants catch a baby Black Bear and tie it up, inviting Roosevelt to shoot it. Roosevelt refuses and calls it “unsportmanlike.”

Teddy Bears CartoonFeb. 1903
Morris and Rose Michtom of Brooklyn, New York, create a stuffed bear in honor of Roosevelt’s actions and name it “Teddy’s Bear.” They place it in the window of their candy and stationery store. Passersby fall in love with the cute bear in the window and want their own. The Mitchums, together with wholesale company Butler Brothers, found the first teddy bear manufacturer in the United States. It is called the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company.

March 1903
Steiff introduces his bear at the Leipzig Toy Fair. Though the European buyers show little interest, there is an American at the fair who is aware of the growing teddy bear crazy in the United States and he orders 3000 of Steiff’s bears.

President Roosevelt uses a bear as a mascot in his successful reelection campaign.

The “teddy bear craze” is full-blown by this time.

Oct. 1906
The term “teddy bear” rather than “Teddy’s Bear” first appears in print in an issue of Playthings magazine.

Gund Manufacturing Corporation makes its first teddy bears.

Composer J.K. Bratton writes the now-famous song, “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.”

Alice Scott publishers a book called Teddy Bear with Dean’s Rag Book Company. It is illustrated by Sybil Scott Paley.

J.K. Farnell & Co. is the first British company to make teddy bears.

An ad in the Sears Roebuck catalog reads: “Teddy bears are all the rage. The best plaything ever invented.”

Steiff manufactures 500 black teddy bears to give as mourning gifts after the sinking of the Titanic.

British aviators Alcock and Brown make the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight. They take teddy bears with them as their mascots.

The Knickerbocker Toy Company opens its doors and begins making teddy bears.

A.A. Milne’s son, Christopher Robin Milne, receives a J.K. Farnell & Co. teddy bear on his first birthday.

German manufacturer Schuco patents the Yes/No bear. It shakes its head no or nods yes when you move its tail one way or the other.

Walt Disney produces Alice and the Three Bears, the first color animated film featuring a teddy bear.

A.A. Milne publishes Winnie the Pooh. The book is based on his son’s adventures with his teddy bear and other stuffed animals.

During the Depression, many teddy bear manufacturers close their doors.

As World War II breaks out, teddy bear manufacturers stop making bears in order to help in the war effort.

Smokey the Bear is adopted as the United States Forest Fire Prevention Campaign mascot.

Welsh toy manufacturer Wendy Boston creates the first washable teddy bear.

Michael Bond publishes the first Paddington Bear story, A Bear Called Paddington.

Walt Disney acquires the rights to Winnie the Pooh.

Peter Bull writes a book called “Bear with Me” about his affection for teddy bears. The book creates a renaissance of the teddy bear industry. This time, adults are the main consumers of the bears rather than children.

Disney releases the first Winnie the Pooh film.

May 27, 1979
More than 15,000 people and 2,000 teddy bears gather in Wilshire, England for the Great Teddy Bear Rally to raise money for charity.

The world’s first teddy bear museum is opened in Petersfield, Hampshire, England by Judy Sparrow.

Christie’s of London holds the first “only teddy bears” auction.

Gyles and Michele Brandreth open the The Teddy Bear Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.

The first Teddy Bear Festival is held in London.

Guinness, created by Lynn Lumb of Halifax, England, is named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s smallest teddy bear. It is 3/10 of an inch tall.

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