The first toy is 4,000 years old
What’s the story behind a teddy bear? The history of toys goes back thousands of years. In 2004, in an Italian village, archaeologists found a 4,000-year-old stone doll. Another archaeologist also found many wooden toys that were used in ancient Egypt.
Later, people began to use various materials such as fabrics to make dolls, most often stuffed with straw. However, the story of the teddy bear began much later
Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt & History of Teddy Bear
The career of the toy bear began at the end of the 19th century. Margarete Steiff sewed various plush toys-animals. Her nephew Richard Steiff had the idea in 1880 to improve their design and to set up a company for the production of such toys in the Württemberg town of Giengen an der Brenz, 10 km from the Bavarian border.
Plush animals were exhibited at the Leipzig Fair in 1903. They caught the attention of Americans and 3,000 copies were exported to the United States. There they gained great popularity, and soon other toy companies began to produce similar teddy bears. The Steiff company still exists and continues to manufacture plush toys.
In 1902, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt was out on a bear hunt where his companion captured and hurt a young bear. When the animal was brought to the president so it could be shot, Roosevelt refused to kill him! This episode was presented in a drawing by Clifford Berryman. His artwork appeared in The Washington Post and inspired the production of teddy bears called Teddy by Brooklyn merchant Morris Mitchom. Within a few years, Mitchom became the tycoon and owner of the “Ideal” company, one of the most famous companies producing teddy bears.
Early teddy bears looked completely different from today’s stuffed bears, more like real teddy bears with longer snouts and bead eyes. Modern teddy bears have larger eyes and foreheads, smaller noses, and are much cuter than the originals
- The biggest teddy bear was created in Xonacatlán in Mexico in 2019, 19.4m in length and 20 tonnes weight. It took almost three months to stitch together.
- The smallest teddy bear was created in 2006 by Cheryl Moss from South Africa. It’s called Tiny Ted and measures only 4.5mm and is sewn exactly the same way as a regular teddy bear.
- Steiff & Louis Vuitton created the limited edition of teddy bears – one of them was sold for over $180k. One of them was bought by Kim Kardashian for her third child.
- Magellan T. Bear was the first official teddy bear in space. He flew as the “education specialistic” aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on the STS-65 NASA mission in 1995.