The history of the Teddy Bear is a shared one. Credit is most often given to both the
German company, Steiff, as well as American "penny candy" shop owners,
Morris and Rose Michtom.
Richard Steiff, nephew of Margarete Steiff, founder in 1880 of Margarete Steiff GmbH,
designed and added a jointed bear to the selection of existing toys the company produced.
These first bears were displayed by Richard and the company at the Leipzig
toy faire in 1902. These bears and many other wonderful toys were purchased by shops across Europe and the US.
Around this same time, a political cartoon of President Roosevelt, refusing to shoot a young
tied up bear, sparked and idea in the minds of Rose adn Morris Michtom. Rose stitched up a velvet plush bear, set it in their shop window, and called it, "Teddys Bear".
This "teddy bear" became quite popular, enough so that the Michtom's asked permission
of the President to call the bear "Teddy" and changed their focus to creating plush bears
founding the "Ideal Novelty and Toy Company".
No matter where you feel credit lies, there is no doubt that the teddy bear
quickly became a symbol of comfort and remains so today.
Teddy bears were given to children as gifts or to hold when they were
scared or sick.
Just as we love our fur babies and petting them helps to lower blood
pressure and alleviate stress, a teddy bear seems to act in a similar way.
The softness of their fur, innocent eyes and outstretched arms, imbues a
sense of peace and comfort that can soothe in times of stress.
The first teddy bears may have been meant merely as children's toys.
However, today they are loved by young and old alike. Because of this,
teddy bears are often given as gifts of love, sympathy and healing.
|Photo credit - The Daily Mail|
Even in wartime, teddy bears played their part. During WW1, many soldiers carried with them,
tiny "pocket bears". For these brave men and women these simple little bears reminded them
of home and loved ones. They provided a sense of comfort and became
good luck symbols, often carried into battle.
Today we are facing an unprecedented and unsettling time in our history.
We are all feeling like frightened children, yet are called upon
to be brave soldiers.
You may not be able to hug your neighbor, your parents, children or
grandchildren, but for the time being, until this passes,
you can hug a Teddy Bear.