In recognition of National Teddy Bear Day on September 9, we’re paying homage to four beloved bears that ignite curiosity, teach children valuable life-lessons, and provide comfort in times of insecurity.
It all started in Brooklyn, NY, when candy shop owner Morris Michtom displayed two stuffed bears made by his wife, Rose. He called them “Teddy’s Bears” as a tip of the hat to Theodore Roosevelt, who refused to shoot a real bear during a hunting trip in 1902. Teddy’s Bears were an instant success and the Michtoms formed Ideal Novelty and Toy Company to mass produce the stuffed toy.
Winnie the Pooh
The Winnie The Pooh character was created in 1924 by author A.A. Milne, based on a stuffed bear owned by his son, Christopher Milne. The bear and his group of friends taught lessons of friendship, acceptance, patience, and love – and soon became one of the most popular characters in children’s literature.
Author Michael Bond introduced children to a new friend in his 1958 children’s book, A Bear Called Paddington. The story centered around Paddington, a lonely stowaway from Peru who nurtured kindness and compassion in young readers. The first plush Paddington appeared in stores in 1972. A Paddington Bear toy was the first item passed by the British to the to the French when the two halves of the Channel Tunnel were linked in 1994.
Created in 1985 and dubbed “The World’s First Animated Talking Toy”, Teddy Ruxpin ushered in a new era of animatronic toys and became a best-selling toy in in the mid-1980s. The bear’s eyes and mouth moved as he “read” stories played through a cassette deck built into his back.