The teddy bear is a toy bear usually stuffed with soft, white cotton and having soft fur.
Often it is used to entertain children and has become an enduring form of stuffed animals in many countries. The bears come in various styles and many have become collectors’ items.
The name comes from former US President Theodore Roosevelt whose nickname was “Teddy”. The name came from a hunting indecent where Roosevelt’s hunting buddies tied up a black bear for him to shoot. Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear and the incident was turned into a cartoon.
Morris Michtom created the toy after seeing the cartoon. He put his stuffed bear in his shop window with the name “Teddy’s bear”. After receiving approval from Roosevelt Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co. Richard Steiff independently designed his own bear in Germany and exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903.
The bear craze had hit its peak by 1906. Seymour Eaton wrote the children’s book series The Roosevelt Bears. Early designs were created to look like real bears with extended snouts and beady eyes. Bears today tend to have larger eyes and foreheads with smaller noses. Furs for the Teddy bears are made from Mohair, Alpaca, and a selection of plush or synthetic, commercially produced furs. Some artists specialize in making the bears out of recycled materials found in thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales and trash collection centers. Some specialize in crochet bears.
Since many different manufacturers make teddy bears this leads to different favorite bears. By 2006 sales for teddy bears hit $1.3 billion. The most commonly sold are Gund and Ty inc. brands.