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BEAR HISTORY

The history of the Teddy Bear
The name “Teddy Bear” comes from - President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.
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The first stuffed bear soft toy showed signs of appearing on the scene when Margarete Steiff registered patents for 23 of her soft toy designs, including a dancing bear and a bear handler with a brown bear in 1899.

The first 'Teddy' bear was made in 1902.  
 
The name “Teddy Bear” comes from - President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.  
 
In November 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.  
 
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.  
 
In late October 1902 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
Teddy bears through the years
Teddy Bear manufacturers
bear-sew Photo Mishka Henner and Liz Lock
Bing Gebruder Bing was founded in Nuremberg in 1865 by Ignaz and Adolf Bing to make tin and kitchenware and later enameled and tin toys around 1890. They made their first bears in 1907 at the height of the teddy bear boom.  
 
Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., (American) founded in 1997, is an American retailer headquartered in Overland, Missouri, that sells teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Customers go through an interactive process in which the stuffed animal of their choice is assembled and customized during their visit  
to the store. Build-A-Bear Workshop is the largest chain that operates in this style.  
 
Bukowski Design AB is a Swedish company specialising in the design, manufacture, marketing and sale of teddybears and other stuffed animals as well as decorations and similar items.  
 
Chad Valley The Chad Valley Toy Company had its origins in a printing and book binding business that was set up in Birmingham England by an Anthony Bunn Johnson. A small stream called the Chad flowed close by the new factory and it soon acquired the name of The Chad Valley Works from which the registered trade mark "Chad Valley" was derived.Johnstone Brothers (Harborne) Ltd, began to produce a range of cardboard games and toys which was gradually extended over the years. With the outbreak of the First World War (1914-1918) the imports of toys and games into the United Kingdom stopped and the company produced its first soft toys, a range of traditional, jointed, plush Teddy Bears in 1915. Their bears received the Royal warrant from the Queen in 1938 which featured on their labels. In 1953 their label said "Queen Mother" after Britain's current Queen acceded to the throne.  
 
Chiltern or Chiltern Toy Works (UK) started in Chesham in Buckinghamshire in 1908 by Joseph Eisenmann. The first teddy was produced in 1915. When Joseph died in 1919, the factory was left to Leon Rees, his son in law. Leon moved to Waterside in Chesham a year later and in partnership with Harry Stone formed H.G. Stone and Co. Ltd. They opened a second factory in Tottenham, London in 1921.One of the most popular Chiltern teddy bears was the Hugmee range of bears introduced in 1923. A year later in 1924, Chiltern Toys was registered. Manufacturing moved to Amersham, Bucks and continued producing bears until the factory’s closing in 1960.  
 
Cramer Bears Eduard Cramer was born in 1858 and trained as a tailor. However due to lack of work he began to use his skills to design soft toys. Many of his designs were rather different and were often brightly coloured but were always top quality.  
 
The Dean's Rag Book Co (1903) Ltd., (UK) Britain's oldest teddy bear company. Dean's were established in 1903, and first began producing teddy bears in 1915. To this day, Dean's bears are highly prized and collected around the world.  
 
Farnell John Kirby Farnell or J. K. Farnell (UK) was a London company which manufactured the first British teddy bear in 1906. Farnell rapidly became one of the leading teddy bear manufacturers, registering the Alpha trademark in 1925. It finally ceased trading in the 1960s and the Farnell name was taken over by Merrythought in 1996.  
 
Fisher-Price (American) is an American company that produces toys for infants and children, founded in 1930 by Herman Fisher, Irving Price, Price's illustrator-artist wife Margaret Evans Price, and Helen Schelle. Fisher-Price has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Mattel since 1993.  
 
Gabrielle Designs (UK) was started in Doncaster by Shirley Clarkson from her home in Doncaster, England. She was originally commissioned to design some tea cosys by a local shop, which she fashioned to look like cockerels. These proved popular and in 1971, using her middle name as inspiration, 'Gabrielle' Designs was born. As a gift for her children Shirley would lovingly craft that year's toy of choice, having recently read and loved Michael Bond's new book about a 'delightful little bear called Paddington' with illustrations by Peggy Fortnum. Shirley knew at once that was to be this year's toy. Not only that but once the first bear had been put together from studying Fortnum's original drawings, she knew it was going to be a Gabrielle product. After some negotiations with lawyers representing Michael Bond Gabrielle Designs was granted the first licence to manufacture a Paddington Bear soft toy.  
 
Grisly Speilwaren Teddy Bear company was founded by Karl Theodor Unfricht in 1954 in Kirchheimbolanden, a small German town between Heidelberg and Frankfurt. The production of their toys started with a collection of teddy bears and soft toys designed by his wife Luise Unfricht.  
 
Gund is a manufacturer of plush stuffed animals. It was founded by Adolph Gund in 1898. On July 1, 2008, Gund was sold to Enesco, a gift company known for among other things the Cherished Teddies line.  
Gund created many of the industry standards today including safety standards and the manufacturing processes for toys. Sweldin, who bought the company from Gund when he retired in 1925, became the first licensor of cartoon characters, producing plush toy versions of Popeye, Mickey Mouse, Felix the Cat, and Tigger.  
 
Hermann is an international manufacturer of teddy bears and other plush toys based in Hirschaid, Germany. Teddy-Hermann is one of the oldest teddy bear producers in Germany, founded in 1912. Its products are highly valued among collectors.  
 
Invicta bears (UK) were founded in 1934 in London and produced some wonderful collectible bears highly prized by collectors today. Invicta teddy bears ceased trading in the 1950s making them pretty few and far between these days.  
 
Knickerbocker (American) was first established in 1850. It is an American company, and its factories were located in New York. Initially the company produced educational toys. It was not until the 1920s that Knickerbocker bears came onto the market. The company went bankrupt in the 1980s but has since been resurrected and continues to produce teddies to this day.  
 
Merrythought (UK) was founded in 1930 by William Gordon Holmes to provide a use for the mohair plush produced by a Yorkshire mill he’d bought. The name is Old English for 'wishbone’, although no one knows its relevance to teddies. Merrythought prospered, and is the only one of Holmes’s factories to survive.  
 
Steiff is a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality. It was begun in 1880 by Margarete Steiff, who was later assisted by her brother Fritz. Steiff's nephew Richard joined in 1897 and gave the company an enormous boost in popularity by creating the teddy bear in 1902. By 1907, Steiff manufactured 974,000 bears, and has been increasing its output ever since. The famed "button in ear" was devised by Margarete's nephew Franz in 1904, to keep counterfeits from being passed off as authentic Steiff toys. It is metal and originally had the symbol of an elephant, later replaced by the name "Steiff". The button is still used to distinguish Steiff toys from fakes. Some special toys have both the elephant and the name.  
 
The Schuco brand (Schreyer & Co) was started by a former employee of the Bing bear company, founded in 1912. Schuco teddy bears come from Germany.  
 
Teddy Atelier Stursberg is an international well-known Teddybear Company since 1995. They started their business in Wuppertal, Germany. Moved later to Berlin, Germany. Since 2003 they work in the UK. - The teddies are handmade items, made of high quality materials (mainly Mohair). They are all limited to one item.  
 
The Vermont Teddy Bear Company (VTB) was founded in 1983 by John Sortino, who sold handcrafted teddy bears in an open-air market in Burlington, Vermont. It's one of the largest producers of teddy bears and the largest seller of teddy bears by mail order and Internet. The company handcrafts each of its teddy bears and produces almost 500,000 teddy bears each year.