On February 15, 1903, the first Teddy bear, made by a Russian immigrant, went on sale in the US and was sold in retail stores.
The Teddy Bear Was Born
The Teddy bear was created by Morris Michtom, a Russian immigrant who owned a novelty and candy store in Brooklyn, New York.
Reports differ on the exact details of the inspiration behind the teddy bear, but it is thought that while hunting in Mississippi in 1902, Roosevelt came upon an old injured black bear that his guides had tied to a tree. (The age, sex, and state of health of the bear remain contested.)
While some reports claim Roosevelt shot the bear out of pity for his suffering, others insist he set the bear free. Political cartoonists later portrayed the bear as a cub, implying that under the tough, outdoorsy, and macho image of Roosevelt lay a much softer, more sensitive interior.
The idea for the original teddy bear came after Michtom saw a political cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to shoot a bear on a hunting trip.
Michtom’s wife, Rose, made a stuffed bear in honor of the president and placed it in the store window with a sign that read “Teddy’s bear.” The bear was an instant success, and Michtom soon began to produce and sell them in large numbers. The bear was made with soft, fuzzy material and had jointed arms and legs that could be moved.
The Teddy bear quickly became a popular toy and remained an iconic symbol of childhood to this day. In fact, the Teddy bear is so popular that it has become the inspiration for many other types of stuffed animals, from rabbits to dogs and cats.
Teddy Bears Are Still Popular
The creation of the Teddy bear also had a significant impact on the toy industry. It paved the way for the mass production of toys, which had previously been made by hand. The Teddy bear was the first toy to be mass-produced using industrial techniques, which made it affordable for families across the country.
The first Teddy bear sold was a significant moment in the history of toys and popular culture, and has remained a popular toy in the United States and around the world for over a century since its creation in 1902.
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