Giant teddy bears are plush toys of exceptional size and as is the case, they are both a plaything and protector. Despite the fact that Winnie, Paddington, Rupert, and Corduroy were all based on bears like the grizzly, we only see our giant teddy bears as gentle creatures, there for us whenever we need them.
The history of the teddy bear goes back as far as 1902 when it was first created in Germany by Margarete Steiff. Some would argue that Steiff wasn’t its first creator at all given early Steiff bears had humped backs, long snouts (like a real bear) and movable limbs. In addition, it was not called a teddy bear its name was Bar 55 PB (Bar or bear, 22 inches or 55centimeters when seated, Plusch or plush and Beweglich or movable) and then Pesty (after the German term Meister Petz which means bear or bruin). In the United States, similar creations of the teddy bear and its name were also coming about around the same time, however, there can be no disputing the fact that after the Steiff family introduced their version of the stuffed bear at the Leipzig Trade Fair in1903, 3,000 of them were sold to a New York wholesaler. The actual term teddy bear would only officially come later, in 1906, when it first appeared in the October issue of Playthings magazine. While no one really knows for sure, following the feedback from the Leipzig Trade Fair and what can only be referred to as teddy bear mania in the United States, the Steiff company went on to create bears which were thinner and softer and were shipped in large quantities to the U.S.
Regardless of its origins, teddy bears and those that are giant in size, seemingly overrun the world. The Steiff company records show that in the year of 1907, they sold some 974,000 teddy bears, most of which were sent to the United States. Other German manufactures followed in the Steiff footsteps, while companies such as Ideal, had to purchase larger facilities just to keep up with the competition from foreign importers and other domestic makers who all were trying to cash in on the teddy’s popularity. In that same year, it was common practice to photograph a child with his or her favorite teddy bear and even songwriters jumped into the ‘fray’ composing such tunes as The Teddy Bear’s Picnic and Teddy Bear’s Lullaby. What once began as fad, turned into a craze the likes of which the toy world had never seen before.
Today, millions of teddy bears (even giant teddy bears) are sold every year. Many of them find their way into the arms of adults who cherish them as much as any child who see their giant teddy bears as loyal companions, guardian angels, and play pals. For the many who have ever enjoyed a hug from a giant teddy bear, you know it’s is no less than one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Angeline Hope is a collector of giant teddy bears. You can view a selection of giant teddy bears at MyBigPlush.