Archive for November, 2008

History of Teddy Bears

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Who made the first teddy bear?

In 1847 in a small river town called Giengen in southern Germany Margarete Steiff was born. Sadly at the age of two Margarete Steiff became confined to a wheel chair through polio but she continued to go to school like any other child.

Later on in life Margarete Steiff took needlework and sewing classes and became so competent she started lessons teaching others the art. Eventually with the money she earned she purchased a sewing machine - the first sewing machine to arrive in Giengen.

With the new machine Margarete immediately started making dresses and by 1879 Margarete Steiff started her own dressmaking business and quickly became a success with high demand for her dresses, coats and other items.

In December 1879 in a magazine called ‘Modewelt’, Margarete Steiff noticed a pattern for a toy elephant - she started to produce these as gifts for her family and close friends. Before long other animals followed such as bears, poodles and donkeys. By 1883 these new toys were added to her price list as a range of felt items.

In 1892 Margarete Steiff decided to sell soft-filled bears for children. Four employees and ten out workers were taken on in 1893 as Margarete Steiff’s business grew with a total turnover of £17,000 pounds (£12,000 from toys). The company continued growing and by 1897 six more people were employed as the company turnover more than doubled to £38,000.

The Steiff Teddy Bear Story

In 1894 Margarete Steiff’s nephew, Richard Steiff, received a full order book after he ran a stand at the famous Leipzig fair. Previously Richard had studied art at school but now helped his aunt with the design and production of the company’s stuffed toy animals.

Later in Germany Richard Steiff went to the Stuttgart Zoo in search of an idea for a new toy. Among the animals he saw there was a troupe of performing bears which gave him an idea. He envisioned a toy bear, which stood upright, and was jointed similar to the way in which dolls were made. By 1902 Richard had sketched some bears and gave the drawings to his aunt. Margarete took her nephew’s drawings and designed a jointed bear based on them with fur made of mohair plush and glass eyes.

The new jointed bears appeared for the first time at the Leipzig Toy Fair in 1903 soon after the story of Roosevelt’s Teddy’s Bear had appeared but at first, they generated little interest. However, while Richard was packing up his stand at the end of the fair, Hermann Berg, a buyer from the New York firm Geo Borgfeldt & Co approached him stating how he couldn’t find anything new. The jointed toys were produced and upon seeing them Hermann Berg knew they would be a hit. He placed an order for three thousand toys on the very same day.

By 1904 the Steiff bear had become a big American success and the company was awarded various gold medals for the their enterprise and a prestigious Grand Prix Award. In total 12,000 jointed toys were sold by the end of 1904.

The publicity from Roosevelt’s adventure had placed teddy bears in the hearts of all Americans. By 1907 almost a million teddy bears had been made by Steiff and exported to many different countries.

The story of Teddy’s Bear

In November of 1902 President Theodore Roosevelt, a noted hunting enthusiast, had been invited to join a bear hunt near the town of Smedes, Mississippi.

When the President had initially proven unsuccessful on this hunt, guide Holt Collier determined to find a suitable quarry for Roosevelt. Tracking a 235-pound bear to a watering hole, Collier stunned the unfortunate bear by clubbing it over the head, and tied it securely to a nearby tree. A messenger was sent to summon the President, but when Roosevelt arrived he was unimpressed by the spectacle of a bound, dazed and bleeding bear.

He had been dismayed by this unfamiliar method of hunting, using packs of dogs to track, flush out and wear down the prey while the hunter need only lie in wait for the animal to be driven to him. This was far from the strenuous physical challenge Roosevelt was accustomed to and fond of. He not only refused to claim the bear himself, but forbade anyone else from doing so as well.

Regrettably, the rarely repeated resolution to the story does not include a happy ending for the bear. Seeing the condition of the injured bear, which had been badly mauled by the dogs, Roosevelt asked that it be put out of its misery and it was killed with a hunting knife.

Reporters with the hunting party soon spread news of Roosevelt’s fair play nationwide. Among those inspired by the story was Washington Post political cartoonist Clifford Berryman, who produced a massively popular cartoon of the incident later nicknamed Berryman’s Bear.

The cartoon, captioned Drawing the Line in Mississippi, showed Roosevelt unable to gun down a small defenceless bear cub. It was featured on the front cover of The Washington Post on November 16, 1902 and emphasises the child-like helplessness of the cub and was designed to convey the political message that such an upstanding President as Roosevelt could not be persuaded to make decisions for the wrong reasons.

The cartoon was printed in all the papers and Roosevelt’s popularity soared as a result of his actions. For the rest of his political career Roosevelt’s mascot was Teddy’s Bear, which Berryman continued to use in all his cartoons and which played a key part in the Presidents successful re-election campaign of 1905.

The making of “Teddy’s Bear”

New York City store owners Morris and Rose Michtom were inspired by the cartoon and can take credit for creating the first Teddy Bear in the United States.

The Michtoms used the Berryman cartoon as a guide to design a pattern of a bear cub and produced two stuffed bears for sale in their candy shop window along with a copy of the cartoon. They called the toy Teddy’s Bear.

It became so popular that within a year of its creation, Mr Michtom had closed the candy store and founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company, which was, at one time, the largest teddy bear factory in the United States.

First published on Teddy Bear Friends

Jellycat Teddy Bears are here

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Jellycat make great looking teddy bears, soft toys and baby gifts that will be loved and cherished.

As a lover of gorgeous bears you’ll love these trendy teddies and cheeky monkies - and don’t forget the cute cats!

Jellycat Teddy BearJellycat Teddy Bear has black markings for claws on his paws, a soft brown nose and large round black eyes.

This chunky teddy bear by Jellycat has beans in his tummy and all paws, and a charming smile to warm your heart.

Truffles Panda BearTruffles Panda Bear from Jellycat is sure to give you much love and cuddles.

This great big panda bear has beanbag like qualities, and can lie flat on the floor or be hunched up to sit as a normal teddy bear.

Jellycat Large MonkeyJellycat Large Monkey is a gorgeously cute soft toy with a big cheeky grin who will bring great pleasure to any boy or girl.

This large monkey is the business with his lengthy tail and dangling arms and legs to cuddle up to.

Jellycat Black CatJellycat Black Cat is a cheeky pussycat with his all-over, jet black plush giving him a fabulous look.

Jellycat Black Cat will bring you good luck with his swishy long straggly tail so remember to give him lots of love and cuddles.

New Jellycat teddy bears and cute soft toys are ready to go live at Teddy Bear Friends - sign up to our feed in order to keep informed.

Xmas Bears for 2008

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Xmas BearXmas Bear is new for Christmas 2008 but will remain a good companion forever.

Gund Xmas Bear has soft, medium-length plush and wears a translucent grooved red ribbon with gold edging.

Xmas Teddy BearXmas Teddy Bear has a traditional feel with short bristling plush and makes a perfect Christmas present.

Gund Xmas Teddy Bear wears a seasonal red ribbon tied in a bow that has a red, black and gold trim to give him that christmassy look.

These two Christmas teddy bears have been released into the wild for the 2008 festive season and will not be available again once stocks have sold out.

More Christmas Teddy Bears at Teddy Bear Friends

Christmas Bear sings Jingle Bells

Friday, November 7th, 2008

A teddy bear singing Jingle Bells? Yes, that’s right! These fantastic soft toys are ready to bring lots of Christmas cheer. Go and check out the tunes on youtube.

Christmas Hip Hop BearChristmas Hip Hop Bear has a light creamy snout and brown fur on his body, and wears his hip hop gear, baseball cap and trademark gold bling.

Press his paw and watch him sing, dance and groove to Jingle Bells.

A cheeky Christmas gift for someone into rap music, hip hop or American contemporary fashion, Christmas Hip Hop Bear will certainly provide some Christmas cheer.

See Christmas Hip Hop Bear in action on youtube

Dog Singing Jingle BellsDog Singing Jingle Bells will have the kids in stitches as his ears flap away to Jingle Bells sung in an old style Bing Crosby fashion.

A fantastically funny Christmas time gift for anyone with a sense of fun, this crazy dog listens to Jingle Bells and makes funny yappy noises and he barks at the end of the Christmas song.

See Dog Singing Jingle Bells in action on youtube

Buy Christmas Teddy Bears at Teddy Bear Friends

Churchill China in time for Christmas

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

We’ve got Churchill China in time for Christmas - new stock is available now and many more products are due to go live shortly including Peter Rabbit tea sets and mugs, Winnie the Pooh gifts, Mickey Mouse boxed sets and more.

Churchill China - Winnie The Pooh Mugs in TinWinnie The Pooh Mugs in a Tin from Churchill China are beautifully detailed with individual designs and colours.

The teddy bear designs feature Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore depicting scenes from the original books by A A Milne and Ernest Shepherd.

This fabulous set of 4 mugs with classic Winnie the Pooh Bear designs comes in its own gift tin - a perfect present for any Winnie the Pooh Bear fan.

Buy Winnie The Pooh Mugs in a Tin at Teddy Bear Friends

Christmas Teddy Bear

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Christmas Teddy BearChristmas Teddy Bear wears a red plaid ribbon tied in a bow to show his Christmas spirit and has beans in his bottom and love in his heart.

Christmas Teddy Bear from Gund is a gorgeous soft toy in the style of a polar bear with small two tone brown beads for eyes and a black cotton nose.

This soft white polar bear wears a red patterned scarf round his neck to indicate the time of year and welcome in Christmas.

Buy Christmas Teddy Bear at Teddy Bear Friends

White Christmas Bear

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

White Christmas BearWhite Christmas Bear is perfect to send someone you love hugs and kisses at any time of year.

White Christmas Bear is a polar bear with wool-like plush who is sure to help keep someone warm on the cold winter nights with his cuddly paws.

This soft creamy white polar bear wears a red patterned scarf round his neck to indicate the time of year and welcome in Christmas.

Buy White Christmas Bear at Teddy Bear Friends

We now stock Reutter Porcelain

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Reutter Porcelain has been manufacturing porcelain collections in their own production facility for more than 50 years and the tradition of craftsmanship has won Reutter Porcelain friends all over the world.

Teddy Bear Breakfast SetTeddy Bear Breakfast Set comes boxed and makes a great gift for a young child or as a christening gift. This beautifully detailed porcelain breakfast set features Bear Henry and Friends - a unique teddy bear print - and comprises one plate, breakfast bowl and mug.

Peter Rabbit Tea SetPeter Rabbit Tea Set is beautifully presented in a pink hat box. During their manufacture, Reutter Porcelain articles pass through the hands of as many as 17 skilled craftsmen: after casting, they are glazed, painted and then fired as many as three times to give them their characteristic Reutter look.

Teddy Bear Picnic BasketTeddy Bear Picnic Basket features Reutter Porcelain’s unique Bear Henry print and is a beautiful gift for a child who wants to take their teddies on a teddy bear’s picnic.

Paddington Bear Tea SetPaddington Bear Tea Set is presented in a gift box that makes it a lovely gift idea for a young child or fan of this well-travelled bear from Peru.

Paddington Bear Money BoxPaddington Bear Money Box is shaped as a suitcase and features a classic Paddington Bear design and flags of the world. Money is inserted in the slot on top of the money bank.

More Reutter Porcelain products are due to go live shortly - sign up to our feed in order to keep informed.

Save on Teddy Bears at Christmas

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
We've got Christmas wrapped up

SAVE £5 on all featured items below for the next 5 days - ends Saturday 5pm

Steiff Ballet BearA Christmas ballet

Steiff’s Little Lotte is off to ballet lessons in her ballet dress and shoes and comes in a delightful suitcase. SAVE £5

Antique Christmas BearAntique Bear for Christmas

Teddy Hermann’s Antique Christmas Bear will spread good cheer in his festive santa hat with pom pom. SAVE £5

Winnie The Pooh Mugs in TinPooh Bear Mugs in Gift Tin

A fabulous set of 4 mugs with original Winnie the Pooh Bear designs in a gift tin - a perfect Xmas present. SAVE £5

Winnie The Pooh Pewter Money BoxSave for Christmas

A beautifully detailed, pewter money box showing four separate scenes based on the original Winnie the Pooh. SAVE £5

Scruffy Teddy BearScruffy Bear for Christmas

This gorgeously soft teddy bear comes in a rustic dark brown presentation box with a fabric textured lid. SAVE £5

Teddy Time Childrens SetTeddy Time Gift Set

This boxed fine bone china gift set comprises one small mug, one breakfast bowl and one small plate. SAVE £5

Gundy 2008 Collectors BearA collectors bear for 2008

Gundy 2008 collectors bear is a great christmas gift and comes perfectly presented for you to surprise a loved one. SAVE £5

Steiff Pirate BearAhoy there! Pirate Bear!

Pirate bear wears a menacing black eye-patch and a red neckerchief and comes in his own suitcase with pirate design. SAVE £5

Only the best quality teddy bears and teddy bear gifts at Teddy Bear Friends

We've got Christmas wrapped up