bear is named after one of
America's late presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, who held office from 1901
Though one of the true pioneers was
Margarete Steiff, a German girl, who at a young age was stricken with
Polio. Being tied to a wheelchair all of her life, she never let that
bother her. She was a great lover of children and loved having them
visit her. One day Margarete Steiff made a tiny elephant which she would
let her little visitors play with. Since toys were very rare back then
and the children loved playing with them, Margarete's mother began
giving her orders for copies of the elephant as well as other toy
animals. As time went by she started to train other women to help her
and eventually set up a small factory.
By 1887 Margarete's toys were being sent
all over the world. Her one nephew, Richard, spent many hours watching
the bears at the zoo, when in 1902 had created a toy bear with a moving
head and limbs to present to his aunt. When presented to Margarete, she
was not at all impressed, this toy was much bigger and it was made out
of expensive and rare mohair opposed to the felt that was currently
being used. However she allowed the toy to be shipped to the USA But it
was laughed at and rejected.
The bear was brought to the Leipzig Fair
the following year, but kept in the background. While they were packing
up they were approached by a representative of a New York import house.
He was looking for something soft and cuddly and had found the fair
disappointing. At which point the little bear was presented to him, the
New York rep. was so delighted that he placed an order for 3,000 pcs.
Before long they had received another 3,000 pc order from a factory in
the bear was truly launched. Back in the States, Theodore Roosevelt's
daughter was in the midst of her wedding plans. The caterer, was
searching everywhere to find a unique and appropriate table decoration.
In his journeys he went to New York and one of the first things he had
seen was this little bear looking at him through the shop's window.
Knowing how the President was a big game hunter he bought a handful of
them to decorate the tables with. He had decorated them in various
costumes such as fishermen and hunters. This had delighted everyone at
the wedding including the President. At the end of the reception a close
friend of the family asked, "Say "Teddy" what species do these bears
belong?" Not knowing Roosevelt replied, "you really got me there so I
think they must be a new species called Teddy Bears". Now the press
being present picked up on this little story and had released it all
over the papers, thus the little bear became famous and thousands were
ordered from all over the world.