Why Stuffed Animal Bears Are Called Teddy Bears?
The teddy bear is named after U.S. President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. In 1902, President Roosevelt participated in a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi.
While hunting, Roosevelt declared the behavior of the other hunters “unsportsmanlike” after he refused to kill a bear cub they had captured.
As news of the hunting trip spread, many newspapers around the country featured political cartoons starring “Teddy” and “the bear.”
Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, New York, a shop owner named Morris Michtom saw one of the cartoons and had an idea. Michtom and his wife created plush, stuffed bears and placed them in the front window of their shop.
With permission from Roosevelt, Michtom named the bears “Teddy bears.” They were an instant success. Ladies and children carried the bears with them in public. President Roosevelt even used the teddy bear as his mascot when he ran for re-election.
Early teddy bears were made to look like real bears, with extended snouts and beady eyes. Modern teddy bears tend to have larger eyes and foreheads and smaller noses, baby like features that enhance the toy’s cuteness.
Teddy bears are also manufactured to represent different species of bear, such as polar bears and grizzly bears, as well as pandas.
While early teddy bears were covered in tawny mohair fur, modern teddy bears are manufactured in a wide variety of commercially available fabrics, most commonly synthetic fur, but also velour, denim, cotton, satin, and canvas.
They have become collector’s items, with older and rarer “teddies” appearing at public auctions. Teddy bears are among the most popular gifts for children and are often given to adults to signify love, congratulations, or sympathy.