Brown Teddy Bear
Night after night, he has kept children safe from monsters in closets and underneath beds. Guiding them to sleep, watching over them like a silent guardian. Always there to comfort them and dry their tears; the humble brown teddy bear. Sounds like something right out of The Dark Knight eh? The epic monologue given by Commissioner Gordon just as Batman runs off into the night.
Over the years, this simple bear has seen many changes, from bears in marching bands to bears holding hearts. From Olympic bears to graduation teddy bears. It almost looks as if the good old brown teddy bear has been with us all of our life, every step of the way.
The History of the Teddy Bear
Morris Michtom, a toymaker brought the first teddy bear to life. A comic depicting American President and Internet hero Theodore ‘Teddy” Roosevelt inspired him. In addition, Michtom designed a small bear cub doll and dubbed it “teddy’s bear” after (obviously) President Teddy Roosevelt.
These toys were an immediate hit with children and the rest as they say is history. The words teddy and bear have now become synonymous with the image of a fuzzy, adorable soft toy. Brown in color and well-loved by children all over the world. And we often find them in bedrooms, nurseries, toy boxes, hospital wards and orphanages.
Extensive research by this writer has failed to discover why the earliest generations of brown teddy bears were colored brown. After all, the comic drawing portraying President Roosevelt shows a black bear in the picture. So, why on earth were brown bears so popular?
If Michtom had indeed been inspired by President Roosevelt, why did he not then make the first teddy bear black? Well to put it bluntly dear readers, we often associate the color black with death (notice how nobody wears pink to a funeral?), disease (The Black Plague anyone?) and menace (why do you think gangsters prefer black?). The teddy bear was intended to be a toy meant for children, a toy that brought comfort and safety, not fear and menace.
The theory behind the color brown
One theory that abounds is that the color brown associates with an earthy (read homely) and rustic aesthetic. This theory has some credence as the brown teddy bear intends to have comforting and cozy characteristics which would allow children to more easily form emotional bonds with their toys. Furthermore, evidence by recent studies indicates that children who sleeps alongside their favorite bear tends to suffer from less separation anxiety. These toys’ owners often give names to the teddies which gave these toys more human-like characteristics.
Ever seen a small child holding on tight to a doll or bear of some sort? Sure you have. Studies have shown that children often form emotional bonds with their toys. They treat them as living objects such as giving them names. Hence, it is no surprise that children would often bring their toys everywhere. Furthermore, this brings them comfort and a sense of familiarity to a strange place. This explains why the earliest bears were brown in color, as stains and dirt do not show up easily on a brown background. Imagine how a white teddy bear would look if your 3 year old niece brought it everywhere with her?