How the teddy bear was born is an interesting one; it was invented on one continent but given its name and adopted. In Germany, Richard Steiff was determined to make an irresistible plush bear.
Simultaneously, in the United States, the link was established between the toy and Theodore Roosevelt (a hunting-loving President), and the term ‘teddy’ was conceived. The bear was then delivered in 1902, and its popularity was guaranteed. If it hadn’t been for a little girl born fifty years earlier, however, the teddy bear may not have existed at all.
Richard Steiff’s Aunt Apollonia Margarete Steiff (born July 1847) was a healthy baby for the first eighteen months of her life, but she contracted polio and was forced to spend the remainder of her life a wheelchair. By all accounts, she was a delighted child, and it has been reported that she started giving music lessons to help distract her from her illness.
Whatever her reasons, she used the money she earned to buy a sewing machine. Eventually, a dressmaking factory was opened. She made an elephant pin cushion for herself out of felting material (this eventually led to making them gifts for friends and family). Soon enough, children claimed their parents’ skills for themselves as they loved their size and softness.
In 1880, Margarete started selling the elephant pin cushions, which led to other soft toys being made, including dogs, lions, monkeys, and donkeys.
Giant teddy bears are now just an extension of what Margarete Steiff created all those years ago, and they still bring an instant smile to both children and adults whenever they lay eyes on them.
There is no doubt plush bears have gone through various design changes over the years (at one time, they had glass eyes), but one thing is still clear: a plush bear is still the most coveted toy a child can have.
Giant teddy bears are just all that much more endearing because their size allows for extra cuddles and hugs.
Despite technology and the vast amount of time children today spend watching television and playing video games, plush bears refuse to be ousted from our hearts. Giant teddy bears, by definition, give us all that much more to curl up with; they are the ultimate in softness and will give back supreme bear hugs.
In addition to the friendships a child develops over their lifetime with giant teddy bears, having the privilege of cozying up with these delightful creatures is an overall bonus.
Over time, some plush bears may be forgotten by their owners, but big teddy bears aren’t so easy to push to the back of a closet – they’re undoubtedly a bear a child will want to protect to ensure they are never mistreated fiercely.
Margarete Steiff would have insisted on it, after all. She also would have undoubtedly delighted in seeing that big teddy bears were developed from her once-tiny felt elephant pin cushion. At the same time, she may have never imagined that such an insignificant lump of felt would have turned into the big plush bears that exist today.
The next time you feel like you don’t have a friend in the world, give all of your giant teddies bears a big bear hug and watch all of your troubles amazingly disappear.