Dating teddy bears
The more modern of the bears post were largely put aside. A total of 48 bears most important to the exhibition were selected to be treated. They were prioritised into two groups: The construction of a teddy bear is straightforward, with only slight variations in the methods of attachment of heads and arms and legs to the torso. In most instances the head, legs and arms are made, then fixed to the body part using washers and either bolts, split pins or other fixing methods for articulation. The body is the last part to be stuffed and is closed either to the front or back.
A variation is that the torso is completed with the arm and leg washers and fixings in place together with a circle of the teddy bear fabric.
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The stuffed arms and legs are then sewn onto this circle in the manner of setting a sleeve into an armhole. Finally the head with its washer, fixing and fabric circle are sewn onto the completed torso part. The stitching, which is often crude, is lost in the pile of the bear fabric. When the method chosen to articulate the arms, legs and head is not clear, and when these parts have become loose or come away, X-radiography of the bear is invaluable as nails, screws, split pins or other other parts of an internal armature or construction can clearly be highlighted.
X-radiograph of teddy showing position of attachment bolt for head, Museum No. The main damage to teddy bears comes about through use which is often compounded by poor old repairs and long term poor storage. The plush pile wears away, feet and paws become worn and thin, and eventually the internal stuffing breaks through. Eyes and ears become loose and are sometimes torn off. Joint fixings either break and limbs fall off, or fixings become weak and stretched so heads fall forward and nod, and arms and legs become only loosely attached to the body.
Over a long time of continuous use the stuffing compacts, breaks down and turns to dust, causing the bear to sag and the stuffing to be compacted at the ends of the arms and legs. In our throw-away society, teddy bears are one of the few toys which are not a disposable item, so repairs have frequently been carried out at home to prolong the life of a loved companion for a small child distraught at the idea of being parted from their Teddy.
Victoria and Albert Museum
Worn areas have been darned, feet and paws patched, often using leather from old gloves or old socks. Noses are re-embroidered and lost eyes replaced with buttons, new embroidered eyes, or a different and non-matching eye may have been substituted. Frequently, bears are forced into ill fitting garments which constrict the arms or body and over time crush the stuffing inside, causing deformation and weakness to the bear. Eventually put away and consigned to attics or other unsuitable long term storage, bears become dirty, dusty and insect-damaged.
It is in this condition that many early 20th century bears come into museum collections, and this is certainly the case with much of the BGMC Collection. Teddy with deformed arms due to sixty years wearing the same dress, Museum No.
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Photography by Marion Kite click image for larger version. Conservation treatments for the BGMC bears consisted of removing old repairs, supporting weak areas, filling areas of loss, cleaning, re-attaching loose limbs and some reshaping and stuffing. Although it is customary practice to return an altered object to its earliest form, sometimes the alterations made during the life of an object are of great importance.
Bears with a particular provenance, or related to a family of interest, might have had repairs that were of historic importance. It was therefore very important to liaise closely with the curator before commencing treatment. The treatments varied according to the fragility of the material from which the bear was made, and how the soiling had combined to the fabric.
Cleaning treatments utilised deionised water, IMS, detergent, chemical sponges, vacuuming, and most bears were lightly steamed and combed after cleaning, enhancing their sometimes rather crushed appearance. For repairs, couched supports of linen were used, colour matched to the original plush fabric.
They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike, but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery,   and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and was inspired to create a teddy bear. He created a tiny soft bear cub and put it in the shop window with a sign "Teddy's bear," after sending a bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to use his name.
At the same time in Germany, the Steiff firm , unaware of Michtom's bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff 's designs. North American educator Seymour Eaton wrote the children's book series The Roosevelt Bears ,  while composer John Walter Bratton wrote an instrumental " The Teddy Bears' Picnic ", a "characteristic two-step", in , which later had words written to it by lyricist Jimmy Kennedy in Early teddy bears were made to look like real bears, with extended snouts and beady eyes. Modern teddy bears tend to have larger eyes and foreheads and smaller noses, babylike features that enhance the toy 's cuteness.
Teddy bears are also manufactured to represent different species of bear, such as polar bears and grizzly bears , as well as pandas.
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While early teddy bears were covered in tawny mohair fur, modern teddy bears are manufactured in a wide variety of commercially available fabrics , most commonly synthetic fur , but also velour , denim , cotton , satin , and canvas. Commercially made, mass-produced teddy bears are predominantly made as toys for children. These bears either have safety joints for attaching arms, legs, and heads, or else the joints are sewn and not articulated.
They must have securely fastened eyes that do not pose a choking hazard for small children. These "plush" bears must meet a rigid standard of construction in order to be marketed to children in the United States and in the European Union. There are also companies, like Steiff, that sell handmade collectible bears that can be purchased in stores or over the Internet. The majority of teddy bears are manufactured in countries such as China and Indonesia. A few small, single-person producers in the United States make unique, non-mass-produced teddy bears.
In the United Kingdom one small, traditional teddy bear company remains, Merrythought , which was established in Alpaca teddy bears are made from the pelt of an alpaca because the fiber is too soft to weave. In addition to mohair and alpaca, there is a huge selection of "plush" or synthetic fur made for the teddy bear market.
Both these types of fur are commercially produced. Teddy bears are a favourite form of soft toy for amateur toy makers, with many patterns commercially produced or available online. Many "teddies" are home-made as gifts or for charity, while "teddy bear artists" often create "teddies" for retail, decorating them individually with commercial and recycled ornaments such as sequins, beads and ribbons.
Sewn teddy bears are made from a wide range of materials including felt , cotton and velour. While many are stitched, others are made from yarn , either knitted or crocheted. Teddy bears are also made of plywood and a range of other craft materials.
Michtom's jointed mohair "Teddy's bear" was very popular when first designed and remains so with collectors today. Fake bears look suspiciously new and unhandled: All Ideal bears have jointed hips, necks, and shoulders. Early examples have a characteristic "American football" shape and are mostly made of short gold or beige mohair plush with matching felt paws, and distinctive, sharply pointed foot pads. They have shoe-button or glass eyes, and the fur around the muzzle may be shorn. Later bears were made in a large variety of colours and types—for example, pandas—and had longer fur. Other collectible bears include ones by the Knickerbocker Toy Co.
Similar to many early American bears, Knickerbocker bears usually have long bodies, small feet, and short, straight arms and legs. Their later bears can be recognized by their large inverted ears and big noses.
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Other collectible bears include Gund Manufacturing Co. Brands associated with teddy bears that enjoyed strong popularity in the s and s are Teddy Ruxpin and Care Bears. Teddy bears have seen a resurgence in popularity as international "do-it-yourself" chains have opened.