History Of The Teddy Bear

Dorset Teddy Bear Museum
 Teddy bear History
The history of the teddy bear
date back to 1902. President Theodore Roosevelt was on a hunting trip in Mississippi but had been unable to shoot a bear. In desperation, on the last day, the president’s hunting party captured and tethered a bear to a tree. When Roosevelt arrived at the scene he refused to shoot the bear as it was unsportsmanlike.

The incident was immortalized in the Washington Post with a cartoon by Clifford Berryman showing Roosevelt, his gun in front of him with the butt resting on the ground and his back to the animal, gesturing his refusal to make the shot. 

Drawing the Line in Mississippi by Clifford Berryman: This cartoon is believed to have triggered the teddy bear craze in the U.S.
In Brooklyn, New York, shopkeepers Morris & Rose Michtom made a plush toy bear which was placed in the window of their stationary shop calling it “Teddy’s Bear”. Michtom formed the Ideal Novelty and Toy Corporation and became the first company to produce teddy bears. The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum’s oldest bear dates from 1906 and is based on the original pattern.

At about the same time in Germany, Richard Steiff, the nephew of Margarete Steiff, was working for his aunt designing new soft toys. He came up with design for a teddy bear based on the bears he had seen at the local zoo. The Steiff Company of Giengen produced its first jointed stuffed bears during the same 1902-1903 period. Steiff teddy bears were first introduced at the 1903 Leipzig Fair, where an American buyer saw them and ordered 3,000 for shipment to the US. Europe was a bit slower to catch on to the teddy bear craze.

Eastgate, corner of High East St. & Salisbury St., Dorchester, Dorset. DT1 1JU.
Tel: +44 (0) 1305 266040

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