The Teddy Bear Effect - The Fascinating history of Stuffed Bears and Animals
Teddy Bears have such a calming effect on all of us.. It's phenomenal!
The 'Teddy' Bear Named after 'Teddy' Roosevelt (click to see pictures bigger)
Brief history of the Stuffed Teddy Bear
Teddy Roosevelt was out hunting one day with one of his comrades. His comrade hit a black bear over the head with a club, tied it to a tree, and told Teddy to shoot it.
Teddy was less than thrilled with the young man's lack of sportsmanship and his cruelty. He refused to shoot a defenseless bear and told his comrade to put (the bear) him out of his misery.
News of this incident leaked back to the press where a cartoonist drew up a likeness of Teddy Roosevelt refusing to shoot the bear
(See the actual published cartoon to the right) ---->
In a series of similar cartoons with various captions like "Where Roosevelt Draws the line in Mississippi" and other political metaphors', the picture sort of morphed from a realistic likeness to one where the bear started to get smaller and smaller until it was the size of a "Teddy Bear" (which didn't exist back then).
Someone saw the cartoon and sewed together a very rigid likeness of the bear and named it after the inspiration "Teddy" Roosevelt.
The original statement on one of the cartoons started to call the bear in the picture "Teddy's Bear" and when the Teddy Bear became popular it eventually got shortened to Teddy Bear, a name that stuck. The Teddy Bear concept grew in popularity almost instantly and thus the Teddy Bear revolution was launched!
The Teddy bear sold very well and people loved the idea. People even began to make them for their children at home. It was a simple design back then.
Teddy himself loved the idea so much that he used it in his presidential campaign (see pictures to the right). He had "Teddy" pins made in the likeness of the Teddy Bear.
This launched the popularity of the Teddy bear drastically. More and more companies started to make them in various sizes, shapes, colors, materials... And over the years the Teddy Bear has evolved substantially. Today it's hard to even think about a time before the Teddy Bear.
Mr. Teddy Bear will Protect you
The Teddy Bear launched a whole new Era of toys that made a child feel "safe"
Many animals followed the Teddy bears success bringing a new era in both child's toy and keepsakes that reminds us of a time when we felt safe. The Teddy Bear quickly got a reputation as a childhood toy that made us feel safe and secure.
I'm not sure why the teddy bear always made us feel safe or how it got that theme but I suspect it is because of Teddy's having mercy on the black bear may have had something to do with it. (I'm sure it being a "Bear" and being cute had a card in the game too)
Parents then passed the idea of safety and comfort to their children as they gave them this "Teddy Bear" to hold onto and make them feel safe.. "Mr. Fuzzy", or whatever name they gave it, "will watch over you honey... They would say".
Children would take their Teddy Bears everywhere they went but the most predominant place was to bed when most kids were often scared of the dark were told by their parents that the Teddy Bear would keep them safe. In a lot of ways the Teddy Bear replaced the safety blanket, which was easier on parents *smiles*.
This tradition was passed down and many, many children grew up thinking about the Teddy Bear as their nostalgic safety bear. The press and media also picked up and promoted the idea. Back then "Safety" was a great niche as the country was at war and so many things were happening in the world that made everyone a bit nervous.
When you're having a bad day, hugging a soft cuddly teddy bear always seems to take you back to childhood.
Generation X and Y's Stuffed Bear
Real fur Teddy's for Realism!
The fascination with bears didn't stop there...
For several decades the Teddy bear had a lot of evolutions but essentially it stayed the same. Different materials were used, many got more soft and fuzzy with space aged materials and advancements in "touchable soft" "coats". They even started to make them out of real fur
Then not too long ago someone had the brilliant Idea to give the Teddy Bear a more personalized appeal. To truly make it "Your" Bear, not Teddy's. The Build a Bear workshop was born and today is a booming industry! You can go into this store and design every aspect of the bear from the materials, the clothing, even the stuffing!
You can add accessories like a recording device that can play a message when you squeeze its tummy or hand, and other things like hats and yes, even military uniforms!
When you give someone one of these personalized bears you will definitely get a reaction! The accessories alone can make the Teddy "bear" a resemblance to the person your modeling it after!
So that is how the Teddy Bear came to be, and where it's going but my friends this is just the beginning of the Teddy bears and Stuffed animals amazing journey...
I found a site for you guys that will make your toes curl. The author of this site did a phenomenal job at researching and consolidating all the fascinating facts and details about these cherished stuffed animals. You can check it out below:
That site also goes into the different types of stuffed bears and animals, where you can find them and more.. Here's The Table Of Contents:
- Stuffed Bears
- Noah's Ark Stuffed Animals
- Mimzy Stuffed Animal
- Hobbes Stuffed Animal
- Knut Stuffed Animal
- Hansa Stuffed Animals
- Alpaca Teddy Bears
- Animal Alley Stuffed Animals
- Making Your Own Stuffed Bear
- Donate Used Stuffed Animals
Good Luck on your search for great bears and animals.. Happy hunting.. just don't shoot any bears... What would Roosevelt think?! *Wink*
Thank you "Beary" much for reading my article, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed sharing my research with you, and if you find yourself sitting in a dark, empty house where the creaking of the house settling and the thunder clapping starts to scare you...
Get a hold of a cuddly teddy bear (I won't tell anyone guys) and let the cuddly creature take away your fears, and bring you sweet dreams!