Find out how the teddy bear got its name
Once upon a time in 1902, the President of the United States was hunting for bears in the woods. He had not seen a single one and the other hunters began to feel sorry for him, so they cornered and chained an old black bear to a tree. But the President refused to shoot the animal, saying it was unsportsmanlike. The news made the front page – it wasn’t just any president, it was Theodore Roosevelt, the big game hunter!
Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman satirised the event, drawing the old bear as an adorable cub. Seeing the illustration, sweet shop owners Rose and Morris Michtom were inspired to make a stuffed toy bear and called it ‘Teddy’s Bear’. They made soft toys as a side-line business, but soon requests for Teddy Bears were coming in thick and fast. After gaining Roosevelt’s permission to use his name, the couple started mass-producing them.
Meanwhile, in Germany, the Steiff family of toy makers had produced a mohair bear with movable limbs after a trip to the zoo. They exhibited their creation at a toy fair, where an American businessman ordered 3,000. Soon, other bears were flooding the market, capitalising on their popularity. More than a century later, the teddy bear still lives happily ever after.
Clifford Berryman’s famous cartoon of Roosevelt refusing to kill a black bear