Theodore Roosevelt was the inspiration behind the first teddy bears, all due to a comic strip. When he refused to shoot a bear cub on his hunting travel word got out and a cartoonist drew a picture of him and the bear, this inspired a store owner. Mooris Mitchom had his wife create a teddy bear and this began the journey of the teddy bears.
1906 Americans used the word “teddy bear” instead of “Teddy’s Bears” in an advertisement, after that it just stuck.
In 1912 the very first black teddy bear was introduced by Steiff in honor of those that died on the Titanic. She manufactured 500 of these teddy bears to pass out to the families mourning their loved ones.
Walt Disney produces first teddy bear cartoon in 1924, “Alice and the Three Bears.” This would begin a whole collection of Alice and her many adventures. In 1926 the first edition of “Winnie the Pooh” by A. A. Milne come out, later Disney would buy the rights.
Winnie the Pooh was originally a girl bear named, “Winnipeg.” The bear that inspired Milne to write all his stories was a gift that came from J.K. Farnell & Company that he’d given his son on his first birthday. Farnell was the first British manufacturer to make teddy bears.
Almost all teddy bear companies would close their doors in 1929, some would reopen while others never saw the light again.
In 1944, Smokey the Bear became a National symbol for putting out forest fires. Every year he goes to schools to talk to children about fire safety, during the summer you can find him at campsites giving lessons on the forest.
Wendy Boston made the first lock-in eyes and later would create the first washable teddy bear in 1954.
Teddy bears have come a long way from what was once a wooden toy to the soft, delightful things we cuddle up with at night. Teddy bears continue to expand in the market and will continue for years to come.