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Tedy Bear History Timeline

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1834 - Robert Southey writes Goldilocks and the Three Bears

1894 - German Toy Company Gebruder Sussenguth produce a catalog showing a stuffed bear toy.

1897 - Steiff features skittles and roly-poly toy bears in that years catalogue.

1899 - Margarete Steiff registers patents for 23 of her soft toy designs which include a dancing bear and a brown bear with a handler.

1902 - The American President Theodore Roosevelt refuses to shoot a bear cub while hunting in Mississippi and the incident makes national news. The famous cartoon of the incident by Clifford Berryman is published in the Washington Post on November 16th 1902.

1902 - Richard Steiff, reputedly in October 1902, to look for new ideas for toys and to see bears in an American travelling circus. He sketches an idea of an upright bear and sends it to his aunt - Margarete Steiff, a German stuffed toy manufacturer since 1880.

1903 - Russian Jewish immigrant to the US, Morris Michtom, sees the Berryman cartoon and his wife Rose Michtom designs a stuffed bear toy. Michtom writes and asks permission from President Roosevelt to name the toy after him. “Teddy” Roosevelt agrees and the "Teddys Bear" is born.

Roosevelt is quoted as saying "I don't think my name is likely to be worth much in the toy bear business, but you are welcome to use it." Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, 1903.

How wrong Roosevelt was. In lending his nickname to a new children's toy, the twenty-sixth President of the United States unwittingly gave the toy industry the hook needed to manufacture the worlds most commercially successful toy -”Teddy’s” Bear or... The Teddy Bear

PS... How did President Roosevelt react to the incredible popularity of teddy’s bear? Well, the music to the popular song The Teddy Bears' Picnic was used during President Roosevelt's subsequent election campaign

and... to show the power of “Teddys Bear” US President William Taft had his own toy “Billy Possum” made. This was intended to rival the amazing popularity of Teddy’s Bear

Stuffed toys were an active cottage industry by the end of the nineteenth century. One such company was founded by Margarete Steiff. At the turn of the century, they introduced a new line - a stuffed bear which rested on all four legs.

The Steiff bear did not capture the hearts of the German people however and it is suggested that she might have discontinued the line entirely, except for this amazing coincidence in 1903.

1903 - An American buyer for a New York department store, Herman Borgford, happened upon the Steiff booth at the Leipzig trade show in March 1903 and to the astonishment of Margarete Steiff, he ordered nearly 3000 bears for the burgeoning American market where, because of the Roosevelt incident, the stuffed “teddys bear” had become an amazingly popular toy.

1905 - Steiff’s famous “Button in the Ear” trademark is first seen.

1906 - Other toy manufacturers recognise the amazing success of the “teddy Bear” and start manufacturing their own versions.

1906 - First advertisement for plush fabric bear toys in the American toy trade magazine Playthings.

1907 - Steiff declares this year as “Barenjahre” - The year of the Bear

1907 - A book entitled "Teddy Bear" published by Dean's Rag Book Company.

1907 - Music of the famous song, The Teddy Bear's Picnic, composed by John W Bratton.

1908 - J.K Farnell company makes the first British Teddy Bear.

1909 - A “Teddy Bear” makes its first appearance in a British childrens story book.

1909 - First animated teddy-bear cartoon, Little Johnny and the Teddy Bears, was made in the USA

By 1910 there were many teddy bear companies and many types of novelty teddy bears. Teddy Bear memorabilia was being produced. There were Roller Bears, Tumbling Bears, Teddy Bear china, Electric Eye Bears. It was also very fashionable for children to have their picture taken with their teddy bear.


1912 - First black fur Steiff teddy bears to be given as mourning gifts - after the sinking of Titanic.

1915 - Chad Valley starts producing Plush teddy bears when the Great War stops European imports.

1919 - First non-stop Atlantic flight by teddy bears when aviation pioneers Alcock and Brown take teddy bear mascots with them on their record breaking flight.

1920 - First Rupert Bear picture story, Little Lost Bear, appears in the Daily Express, a UK newspaper.

1921 - The German company Schuco patents the Yes/No teddy bear.

1924 - First colour animation film with a teddy bear theme appears when Walt Disney produces Alice and Three Bears.

1926 - First edition of Winnie The Pooh by author A.A. Milne is publised.

1930 - First teddy bears made by UK firm Merrythought with designs by Florence Atwood.

1933 - Jimmy Kennedy writes the lyrics to the Teddy Bears’ Picnic

1938 - H.M. Queen Elizabeth of the UK (The Late Queen Mother) grants a Royal Warrant to British teddy bear makers Chad Valley.

1944 - Smokey Bear is adopted as the mascot of the United States Forestry Commissions Fire Prevention Campaign.

1948 - Biffo The Bear appears for the first time in the Beano comic.

1952 - First appearance of Sooty, the teddy bear glove puppet and magician, on British television.

1953 - Steiff celebrates the Golden Jubilee with a new style bear "Jackie Baby".

1954 - The first fully machine washable “teddy bear” designed by Wendy Boston appears.

1957 - Elvis Presley releases a song entitled Teddy Bear (Loving You)

1958 - Publication of the first Paddington Bear story - A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.

1959 - Walt Disney acquire the rights to Winnie the Pooh.

1969 - Peter Bull, credited with re-awaking interest in Teddy Bears, publishes “Bear With Me“

1969 - Jim Ownby launches the charity “Good Bears of the World”

1975 - Walt Disney's first animated film of Winnie the Pooh is released.

1979 - The Marquis of Bath organises the Great Teddy Bear Rally at Longleat, England.

1984 - The world's first Teddy Bear Museum was set up in Petersfield, Hampshire, England.

1985 - The London auction house Christie, holds the first Teddy Bear only auction.

1989 - First Teddy Bear Festival held in London.

1989 - A 1926 tipped mohair Steiff bear was sold for UK £55,000 to American Paul Vollp as a wedding anniversary present for his wife.

1990 - A Hermann Teddy Bear Original 75th Anniversary Limited Edition released; Merrythought Diamond Jubilee Limited Edition released; First Steiff Limited Edition released.

1994 - Teddy Girl, a 1904 cinnamon coloured mohair Steiff, is sold at auction in London for GB£110,000 to a Japenese man Yoshiro Sekiguchi who is the founder of the Teddy Bear Musemin Izu, Japan.

1996 - Teddy Edward, the world's most travelled bear is sold at GB£34,500.

1998 - Teddy bear “Guinness” enters The Guinness Book of Records as the world's smallest teddy bear, just 8.5mm or 3/10ths of an inch, just this [---] tall, made by Lynn Lumb of Halifax, England.

2000 - At a charity auction in Monaco, a South Korean businessman pays US$210,000 for a new Steiff bear in Louis Vuitton clothes and accessories.

2001 - (9/11) After the unholy terrorist attacks on America, teddy bears are passed out at Ground Zero by a group called Teddy Cares.

2002 -This year marks the 100th birthday of the teddy bear

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