How Teddy Bears Have Evolved

Teddy Roosevelt Refusing To Shoot A BearThe teddy bears' timeline actually began in 1902 when Roosevelt wouldn't shoot a bear cub, it was at this point teddy bears were created and distributed to the people. A year later the "Steiff Company" of Germany would begin their own teddy bears timeline.

The phrase "Teddy's Bears" soon died out, due to an article that called them teddy bears in 1906 that appeared in the Magazine, "Playthings." By now they were so popular they were on every child's wish list. They would be sold as birthday gifts, baby showers to even those mourning a loss. In 1912, the Steiff Company would make more than 500 in honor of those that were lost on the Titanic. This would show that teddy bears weren't meant just for happy occasions and could help in dealing with sadness.

The teddy bears' timeline definitely went through a lot of changes; the bears were always having something added to make it better. By the 1920s toy stores were adding glass eyes and musical devices inside the teddy bears so they could play everyone's favorite songs.

The teddy bears' timeline almost came to an end during the Depression due to not enough money and workers going off to fight in World War II. Some businesses opened back up after the war, but others stayed dormant.

Teddy bears would become washable before the 70s were over and by the 80s they'd begin to talk and read to children. The first teddy bear museum was opened up in 1984 in England. The teddy bear timeline still continues today with changes still being added to improve what was once a simple stuffed teddy bear. The teddy bear won't stop being created any time soon, people all over the world love these cute things and plan on buying them for all occasions.

Learn about bear diet and bear mauling at the About Animals site.

A Brief History of Steiff and The Steiff Company

Margarete Steiff
Margarete Steiff

The Steiff name stands for quality and has done so for more than 120 years. When Margarete Steiff created her little elephant 'Elefantle' in 1880 and watched the felt elephant that was originally intended as a pin-cushion advance to become the children's favorite toy, she discovered how important good- quality, lovingly designed toys are for children. Her motto "Only the best is good enough for children" still characterizes the work of Steiff today. And does so in terms of the design to the same extent as the materials, the workmanship and safety.

This also applies to the design that was instrumental in bringing about the final breakthrough for Margarete Steiff GmbH. Richard Steiff, one of the company founder's nephews, was very fond of brown bears and while studying at the school of art in Stuttgart, he produced a number of sketches that were primarily focused on the physiognomy and movements of these animals. Inspired by his aunt's experience and the unjointed brown bears that she produced, he came up with the idea of developing a bear as a soft toy animal for little boys. He wanted to go a step further, however, with respect to the quality of play and the quality of craftsmanship and design.

The time was right in 1902: Richard Steiff launched a bear with a head that turned and moving limbs onto the market as a surprising innovation. Given the simple designation Bear PB - P for plush and B for beweglich, which is German for movable - he started something that was to become successful among adults as it was among children.

Motivated by the desire for continuous improvement, Richard Steiff was already working on another, slightly smaller, slimmer bear with finer limbs and a coat of soft, light-colored mohair plush in 1903. This plush was a natural material, soft but hard wearing, that met the stringent requirements of Margarete Steiff and is still used for some models today.

In an effort to identify the particularly high quality that was characteristic of Steiff animals even then, and to distinguish them for rival products at a glance, the famous metal button was introduced in 1904 as an unmistakable mark of quality. It still graces every Steiff animal today, attached to the left ear. Steiff's Teddy Bear of 1902 was revised and improved again in 1905, before new styles, new animals and new materials were gradually added to the product range during the years that followed. Known as "Barle", the adorable design of this little bear provided the basis for all Steiff Teddy bears right through to the present day. He was the first bear whose limbs were secured by a sophisticated, patented technique that replaced the strong-thread jointing method used previously.

Filled with wood shavings, the lighter, softer Teddy bear was given mobility by a strong metal pin and firm cardboard disks in his limbs and body. A fastening technique that is durable and completely safe for the young user.

And, like this loving attention to detail, the essential traits of the design or the carefully executed craftsmanship, the wish for innovation and the declared belief in quality still mould the character of every single Steiff animal today.