ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Teddy Bear History

Updated on December 28, 2010

Birth of the Teddy Bear

Everyone has seen a teddy bear. They are in movies, books, television, and folklore. Trauma units uses teddy bears to try and cheer up injured children. Even adults give each other teddy bears to show love and affection. The teddy bear is such a large icon in our society that you might think that it has a history that goes back dozens of centuries. However, prior to the 20th century, the teddy bear was practically unknown. The story behind the teddy bear is quite interesting.

It all started when President Theodore Roosevelt went on a trip to Mississippi to negotiate a border dispute between that state and Louisiana. Roosevelt liked to hunt and some of his hosts decided to take him hunting. There just wasn't any game that day, but finally someone scouted a bear, caught it, and tethered it to a tree. Roosevelt was led to the bear and given a chance to shoot it. However, Roosevelt felt that there was no sport in shooting a helpless animal.

Cartoon Teddy Bear

The story of President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a tethered bear made for some interesting political gossip. Cliffored Berryman drew a political cartoon of the event and it was published in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902. The cartoon was very popular and was reprinted in many other newspapers. A couple of store owners liked the cartoon so much that they made a doll similar to bear in the cartoon, then put the doll in the window of their candy store (which also sold toys). Prior to this, most bear dolls were made to look fierce. This bear looked cute and cuddly.

This bear became such a hit with the public, that they decided to start a toy factory that made these teddy bears. An American entrepreneur visiting Europe saw an opportunity to buy several thousand toy bears and bring them to America to be sold as Teddy Bears.

The teddy bear craze took off. In just a few years, all kinds of teddy bears were being made. Over a dozen American toy companies were making teddy bears. German toy companies were also making toy teddy bears and exporting them to America. President Theodore Roosevelt used the teddy bear as a mascot in his re-election campaign. Within a couple of decades, multiple stories were written involving cute little bears, including the Winnie the Pooh books.


Modern Teddy Bears

Teddy bear production continued to grow. World War I stopped foreign imports and allowed the growth of several more American companies that made teddy bears. The great depression put several companies out of business and forced the rest to adopt automation. Specialized teddy bears were also produced, including teddy bears that could roll over, dance, walk, play musical instruments, and perform minor acrobatics.

After the second world war, mass production and cheap imports put most of the American teddy bear companies out of business. Synthetic fibers, foam stuffing, and plastic eyes lowered the cost of teddy bears making them very common and inexpensive.

Classic and Future Teddy Bears

There are now antique teddy bears sold at auction. One teddy bear called "Teddy Girl", made by Steiff, was sold for over $170,000. By the end of the 20th century, collectors spent over $400 million dollars on teddy bears.

In a possible glimpse into the future, there was a movie called AI where a bionic teddy bear is the lead character's best friend and protector. As artificial intelligence programs improve and computers get better, I wouldn't be surprised if by the end of the 21st century that we begin to see standardize toys that not only entertain children, but also have the ability to guide, nurture, protect them, or call for help. One of these models will certainly be a teddy bear.

This brings me to an interesting prediction. In the far future, President Theodore Roosevelt's longest and greatest legacy may be a cuddly little android that protects and comforts children. Long live the teddy bear.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Pente profile imageAUTHOR

    Pente 

    7 years ago from Planet Earth

    Thank you AliciaC, I hope I live long enough to see the first AI teddy bear.

  • AliciaC profile image

    Linda Crampton 

    7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

    Thanks for this history of the teddy bear. I enjoyed your hub. I still have my teddy bear from childhood, although he’s missing one arm. He was a great companion when we were young! I think that your prediction of an AI teddy bear for the children of the future is very likely to come true.

  • Deborah Demander profile image

    Deborah Demander 

    7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

    Congatulations on your hubnugget nomination. I always love the story of the teddy bear. And my kids all have their favorites. I no longer have a teddy bear.... Maybe I should hint around for valentines day...

    Namaste.

  • craftybegonia profile image

    craftybegonia 

    7 years ago from Southwestern, United States

    I make amigurumi and among the toys I design are bears. I have always loved toy bears. Thanks for sharing!

  • ripplemaker profile image

    Michelle Simtoco 

    7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

    I have a teddy bear too! LOL Thanks for this history!

    Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! To vote for the Hubnuggets: http://bit.ly/hkjeoO

    Participate in the Hubnuggets Forum to celebrate your nomination: https://hubpages.com/forum/topic/64125

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)