15 FACTS

The cute and cuddly teddy bear is more than a hundred years old. In fact, it predates even World War I and can trace its origins back to one of the greatest US presidents. While, in its hundred-plus year history, the humble teddy has conquered the World from Europe to America to Japan and back. And, even though our once simpler lives are now choking in so much technology, the plain old teddy seems more popular than ever — just Google him! Here are some more amazing facts about this childhood classic and 20th century icon.

  1. Bears first appeared on the literary scene in the fairy tale ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ written by Robert Southey in 1834.
  2. The first stuffed bear soft toy showed signs of appearing on the scene when Margarete Steiff registered patents for 23 of her soft toy designs, including a dancing bear and a bear handler with a brown bear in 1899.
  3. History is made — a Brooklyn shopkeeper, Morris Michtom sells the world’s first ‘Teddy’s Bear’ in his shop in November 1902.
  4. In March 1903, as many as 3000 stuffed bear toys are shipped across to America by the Steiff Company in Germany.
  5. Bear toys were called ‘Bruins’ in those days. The first advertisement for Bruins appeared in the American toy trade magazine Playthings in May 1906.
  6. That same year in November, the words ‘Teddy Bear’ featured for the very first time in another advertisement in Playthings by American manufacturer E.J. Horsman.
  7. “Teddy Bear” was one of the first illustrated books based on these popular soft toys, written by Alice Scott.
  8. In 1907, music history was made when music of the famous song, The Teddy Bear’s Picnic, was penned by American composer J.K. Bratton. The song was originally called The Teddy Bear Two Step and the lyrics we know and love today were not actually added until 1932 by prolific British songwriter Jimmy Kennedy.
  9. In 1908, the J.K. Farnell company started manufacturing the first British teddies. The firm was originally founded in London’s Notting Hill as a silk merchant and first produced tea cossies and pin cushions. But, it is believed that their Alpha bear of 1925 was the inspiration the creation of Winnie the Pooh.
  10. In 1909, the first animated teddy cartoon “Little Johnny and the Teddy Bears” appeared in USA.
  11. In 1912, as the world received news of the sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage with shocked disbelief, the German soft toy company run by Steiff created a black bear to give as mourning gifts for all those who lost loved ones on the Titanic.
  12. In 1919, the adorable teddy bear was airborne on their first non-stop transatlantic flight! Aviation pioneers, Alcock and Brown, took teddy mascots with them on this record-breaking flight from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland in a modified World War I Vickers Vimy bomber.
  13. The teddy bear entered thousands of homes every morning for Britons when the first British comic-strip teddy character, Bobby Bear, was published in the London-based Daily Herald newspaper.
  14. The following year, in 1920, the first Rupert Bear picture story, Little Lost Bear, written and illustrated by Mary Tourtel, found its way in the UK newspaper, The Daily Express.
  15. In 1924, animation movie giant Walt Disney produced the first colour animation film with a teddy bear theme Alice and the Three Bears.