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There is nothing like a Teddy Bear!
5 Mar 2008

Since his existence, he has brought pleasure, serenity, and comfort to children and people of all ages worldwide. A Teddy Bear is very special, because he is more than a toy - he is a companion. He has wonderful qualities, he consoles when needed, he has compassion when required, and he knows everything about us including our deepest thoughts. He is our most intimate friend! Did you ever feel like that about your Teddy Bear? I am sure you did, we all did! How can a stuffed bear, although cute and cuddly bring so much pleasure and happiness to our lives? Let's look at some of Teddy's origins.

It is well known that the name "Teddy" originates from Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States of America 1901-1909, who was referred to as Teddy by the public. There are numerous stories of how the Teddy Bear received the President's name. One story refers to a Mississippi bear-hunting trip where villagers wishing to please the President captured a bear for him to shoot, however, the President flatly refused. He drew a line, as this was not fair hunting sportsmanship. This encounter became a famous cartoon story by Clifford Berryman under the title of "Drawing the Line in Mississippi." The cartoon caught very wide attention, which eventually led to the Teddy Bear and its name. Another story suggests that the staff of Hotel Colorado wanted to cheer-up President Roosevelt during a hunting trip with a gift. They presented him with a small stuffed bear made by the housekeeping employees. His daughter, Alice, liked the bear and gave it the name Teddy.

Based on my findings, it seems that Teddy was born around 1902, but this was not just a US birth. Coincidentally, at the Steiff Company in Giengen an der Brenz, Baden Württemberg in Germany, the owner Margarete Steiff, produced stuffed animal toys. Her nephew Richard Steiff was an artist who drew animal pictures for the stuffed animal toy production of the company. In 1902, Richard visited the Stuttgart Zoo and made a sketch of a bear cub. The company started production of his design and the German (Teddy) bear was born. How wonderful sometimes coincidences work. Was it destiny to remember internationally a great President throughout the ages with this divine toy? In 1903, at the Leipzig Toy Fair Steiff sold 3000 bears to an American toy merchant and by 1907 the Steiff Company sold 974,000 bears. Whatever the stories are, the fact remains that the Teddy Bear became a famous and beloved toy ever since the time of President Theodore Roosevelt. A nice long stretch!

The bear market is still going strong to this day. Teddy Bears or stuffed bears in general are here to stay for generations to come. It is interesting to know that in some families Teddy Bears have become heirloom pieces. Did you know that bear collectors are called arctophiles? The word derives from the Greek language "arcto" meaning bear and "philos" meaning lover. Bears are not just a toy for children, bears are also used as mascots by many organizations or as corporate gifts and uncountable other special uses. There are also Teddy Bear Clubs and some organizations even have annual conventions to celebrate these lovable keepsakes.

Teddy Bear has reached its 106th Birthday, that is a good old ripe age, but we all know he will live forever.

Tina Nyary, researched a beloved stuffed animal toy, the Teddy Bear. Stuffed teddy bears are without a doubt one of the most adored stuffed animal toys.

Tina Nyary