History of the Teddy Bear

Credit: Wikipedia.org

This season at Lindt, we are celebrating the launch of Lindt Bear, our newest hollow figure! For us, the Lindt Bear brings back memories of a cherished childhood toy, the Teddy Bear. The Teddy Bear is known for providing happiness and comfort to children all throughout the year but the holiday season makes our favorite friend even more magical.   Do you know the history of this iconic toy? The Teddy Bear’s story began in 1902. President Theodore Roosevelt was in the South settling a border dispute between Mississippi and Louisiana. While traveling, he and his companions were participating in one of their favorite pastimes, a hunting expedition. It was an unsuccessful event for Roosevelt so his companions captured and tied a bear cub to a tree as an easy target. When Roosevelt stated “spare the bear!” and refused to shoot the cub, history was made.

The Washington Post published a political cartoon, “Drawing the Line in Mississippi” depicting the event. Morris Michtom, a novelty/candy store owner from Brooklyn was inspired by the cartoon and asked his wife Rose to create and sew a soft bear that resembled the one featured in the drawing. The finished product, labeled as “Teddy’s Bear” was displayed in the shop window along with a copy of the cartoon. Much to Michtom‘s surprise, his customers immediately fell in love with the stuffed bears and wanted to purchase one for themselves. After requesting and receiving hand-written permission from Roosevelt to officially name the product “Teddy’s Bear” (later to become known as simply Teddy Bear), the Michtom’s began production. The Teddy Bears were so successful that the Michtom’s were unable to keep up with demand. Seeing an opportunity, Michtom and his wife gave up the penny candy store to launch a toy manufacturing company that could mass produce the Teddy Bears.

At the same time, the Steiff Toy Company in Germany was also developing a soft toy bear for its catalog. Richard Steiff got the idea after seeing bears perform with a traveling American circus. Working with his Aunt Margarete (founder of the Steiff Toy Company), Richard developed a toy bear that would sit up like a doll. The Steiff bears were featured at the Leipzig Toy Fair where they were purchased by distributers from the United States. Following the popularity of Michtom‘s bears in America, the Steiff Toy Company eventually renamed their stuffed “Bruins” as Teddy Bears.

This season, honor your cherished Teddy Bear memories and Say it with the Lindt Bear. Visit www.lindtbear.com to record a message and send animated greetings to your friends and family.

Share with us: Growing up, what was the name of your beloved teddy bear?

  • Trisha

    The name of my beloved teddy bear was Jake. I really miss him. I sent him to a friend who was feeling lonely and he was supposed to send him back. That was 10 years ago and he still hasn’t sent him back. Guess he wasn’t the friend I thought he was. I hope he is treating Jake well.