Teddy Day 2022: How the Teddy Bear Got its Name

Teddy Day 2022: How the Teddy Bear Got its Name
Teddy bear museums are a thing, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Who doesn’t love these cuddly furry toys? But do you know how it all began?

Uttara Gangopadhyay
February 10 , 2022
04 Min Read

Way back in 1902, invited by Mississippi's Governor Andrew H. Longino, US President Theodore Roosevelt went on a bear hunting trip near Onward.  However, Roosevelt failed to locate any bear. Some of his assistants cornered a black bear and tied it to a tree and invited the him to shoot it. But Roosevelt refused to kill the animal in such an unsportsmanlike setting. Soon many newspapers reported the incident. 

The Washington Post published a cartoon on the bear hunt by political cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which inspired Brooklyn residents Morris Michtom and his wife Rose.  A candy shop owner, Morris and his wife also made stuffed toys. They created a stuffed toy bear and dedicated it to the President, and after he gave the consent to name the bear after him, they called it Teddy’s Bear and floated The Ideal Toy Company to make the bears.


Teddy bears at the Vienna museum

According to other records, it was German toy maker Margarete Steiff who first made a stuffed bear in 1903. Apparently, she used button eyes, stitched mouths and noses, and movable arms and legs, to make the animal look less fearsome to children.

The Smallest Teddy Bear
While teddy bears come in all sizes, the smallest stitched toy so far is said to be 0.35 inches tall made by Cheryl Moss of South Africa, who is known for making ‘microbears’ (ranging in height from nine millimetre to 13 millimetre).

The Tallest Teddy Bear
A teddy bear named CT Dreams (Connect the Dreams) on display at the Exploration Place in Wichita, Kansas had a fairly long run as the tallest stitched teddy bear, standing at a height of 55 feet and 4 inches. 

According to the Guinness World Records, the largest teddy bear measuring 19.41 m (63 ft 8 in) in length, was displayed at the Estado de México, on April 28, 2019.

The Most Expensive Teddy Bear
According to Guinness World Records, a Steiff 'Louis Vuitton' teddy bear made in 2000 and measuring 45 cm (17 in) holds the record for being the most expensive one after it netted a price of  €213,720.00 ($182,550; £125,831) in October 2000 at Christie's, Monaco. 

However, the record for the most expensive teddy bear of antique origin is held by another Steiff bear named Teddy Girl. It was sold for £110,000 ($171,600), more than 18 times the estimate and twice the previous world record, by Christie's, London in December 1994 to Japanese businessman Yoshihiro Sekiguchi. The bear, made in 1905, is said to have belonged to Colonel Bob Henderson, who took her everywhere with him, even to his landing on the D-Day beaches, where he was a small arms adviser to Field Marshal Montogomery.

Teddy Bear museums
There are several Teddy Bear museums around the world. 

The one nearest home is in Pattaya, Thailand. Built by Hyun Chul Kim of South Korea, the Teddy Bear Museum in Pattaya has over 1,000 of these stuffed toys arranged through 12 picture zones, such as the Inca Zone, Dinosaur Zone, Africa Zone, Under the Sea Zone, Space Zone, and more. Visitors can touch the exhibits and also click photographs with them. It takes around three hours to see the entire museum at a leisurely place. The museum is open daily from 9am to 10pm (last ticket sale at 8.30pm). On Saturdays and Sundays, the museum usually holds a dance led by Captain Teddy Bear and Friends at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm at the Fairytale Zone. There is also a gift shop on the premises.

A road sign for the Dorset Teddy Bear museum

Japan probably has the most number of teddy bear museums. Some of the popular ones include Izu Teddy Bear Museum, Hida Takayama Teddy Bear Eco Village, and the Yamanakako Teddy Bear World Museum. Some other museums across the globe include The Dorset Teddy Bear Museum in the UK, Den of Marbletown in New York, the Vienna Teddy Bear Museum, the Teddy Bear Museum of Naples, Florida, and the Margarete Steiff Museum in Germany.


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