The Classic Teddy Bear
The classic teddy bear is easily one of the most successful toys that have ever been designed. He has been through hundreds of different iterations, popular in dozens of countries and even now, the classic teddy bear is still a popular figure.
We know that teddy bears are basically anthropomorphic bears with exaggerating childlike characteristics to enhance their cuteness. Round bellies and short stubby legs with cute faces, the design of the teddy bear has evolved significantly to appeal to the tastes of consumers.
The earliest teddy bears that were manufactured were produced by the Ideal Novelty and Toy co. that was founded by Morris Michtom who was inspired by President Roosevelt during the 1900s.
The above example of a classic teddy bear was owned by Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy Roosevelt. Notice how these teddy bears were of a more elongated nature, with longer limbs and a flatter, thinner face. Classic teddy bears were less cuddly and not as round as the teddy bears that we are familiar with nowadays.
Teddy bears of yesteryear
In some ways, the teddy bears of yesteryear is not as adorable as the examples that we are use to nowadays. Perhaps it is because classic teddy bears were seen as toys that were meant to be owned by children exclusively. One must remember, the 1900s were a time when attitudes were a lot more stoical. A time during the Great Depression when folks expected less out of life. An era when romance and dating were most likely unheard of.
This could be a reason as to why classic teddy bears are designed as such, mere dolls that were intended to be owned by small children. However, over the years as the world developed further, incomes and the quality of life improved. People started to have a different outlook towards life.
After World War II
As time progressed, after both World Wars and once again the teddy bear went through another change. This time, teddy bears were furrier. They started to be designed with more childlike features like stubbier legs and a longer face with a furrier body. The post war economy was good for America in general, with plenty of jobs and high wages. It was during this time, that people started to enjoy the finer things in life. It was admittedly still a conservative era when you had to put on a tie to take your girlfriend out. However, the approaches towards romance and dating started to change.
Especially during the 1960s, it was acceptable to show affection towards your significant other. Thus, the teddy bear coupled with some flowers and chocolate was the perfect way of saying “I Love You” to your significant other.
We can see how factors like economy, technology and changes in mindsets have changed the roles the teddy bear plays in society. From being a companion for children, to being a romantic gift for your significant other.