vendredi 17 mai 2013

The History Involved With Antique Teddy Bears

By Antoinette Quinn

Collectors have become quite enamored by antique teddy bears. It has been a popular toy for years, although it is not old compared to other toys. The soft, cuddly toy brings comfort to all who love them. Children are often given one when they encounter the police for some catastrophic event, or when hospitalized either as an emergency or for a long-term illness or severe injury.

This toy has a very exciting history. It is reported that President Teddy Roosevelt was responsible in part to its development. He had failed to get a specimen on a hunt, but refused to shoot a cub that was tethered to make it easy for him. The first one produced, by a couple of Brooklyn store owners, was a stuffed doll named "Teddy's Bear". It caught on and was an immediate success.

A German named Steiff developed a very different bear about the same time. It also became quite successful, though it was totally different in looks from the American one. They became popular collectors items as well. Varying versions of these toys were developed by a number of companies that wanted to get their part of this lucrative market.

Asian companies began to develop cheap versions of stuffed animals and almost made the bear become extinct. After WWII, the popularity of these toys gave way to the popularity of the cheaper versions. It gradually became almost extinct, but was revived in 1969 when a book about them revived their popularity. The first auction of these antique and vintage bears was held in 1985 and cause a revival in their popularity.

Due to the lucrative financial possibilities of these older teddies, fake ones started being developed. They had many of the things that the older ones had, but not all. It is important for collectors today to check carefully in order to not buy a fake while thinking they have the real thing. There are some characteristics of these older models that set them apart, making it possible to know you are getting a true original.

The body and stuffing varied in the fakes in comparison to the original ones. Earlier versions were made of wool mohair. Just before WWII silk plush came into used. Cotton plush did not come into use until later, after the war. Synthetics were not introduced until much later, during the 1950's. Stuffing in earlier models was excelsior, a type of wood wool. Later, kapok was used. Those stuffed with kapok were still older, and were much lighter than those stuffed with excelsior. Foam was not used until much later.

Age can also be determined by examining facial features. The earliest ones had boot buttons for eyes. Glass eyes came into use in the 1920's. Plastic eyes didn't appear until the 1950's. The toy's noses were first made of woven silk. Later models had a variety of styles, showing them as coming in later periods. Each manufacturer had its own distinct style.

The paws also help determine age. Early paws had pads made of felt or cotton. Even if the cotton pads would have worn out and been replaced, they still indicate age. After 1930, velvet material and a type of fake leather came into use for pads. The use of this type of pad indicates they are not antique teddy bears.

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