It is an item that everyone recognises from their youth; the good old stuffed animal. Even nowadays kids still own them, which proves that these kinds of toys survived the test of time. But how did the stuffed animal steal our hearts, and where did it all begin? In this article, the history of the beloved toys will be discussed, a spotlight will be put on the teddy bears, and the market of the stuffed animals will be investigated.
First of all, it is interesting to know where the roots of the stuffed animal lie.The first company that started producing the stuffed animals was a German one, called Steiff. It is astonishing to discover that the production process started in 1880 (!). A few years later, the first stuffed animal came off the production line in America, which was the famous teddy bear. The designer of the toy, Morris Michtom, was inspired by a drawing of the American president Theodore Roosevelt posing with a bear cub. Since that day, the teddy bear has unmistakenly been the most popular stuffed animal and turned out to be an unbelievable success. One of the most famous teddy bears must be Teddy, owned by the famous Mr.Bean, who needs no further introduction.
Teddy is seen as one of the best friends of Mr.Bean, since he likes to take the animal with him on his funny, and often disastrous trips. Teddy is in some way a bit deformed; his limbs look odd, his eyes are imperfectly knitted on his head, and he sometimes ends up being even more disfigured. Nonetheless, Mr.Bean treats his friend really well by buying him Christmas presents, sleeping in in the mornings, and by having a conversation with him. In other words, Mr.Bean actually pretends that his lifeless animal friend is a living creature. The trips with Teddy don’t always end up well for him though; he has been used as a dish cloth, paint brush, a hypnotising subject, and has been put in the washing machine at ninety degrees. If you thought that was enough to endure, he even has been decapitated once. Who would put their best friend through all that? Taking into account that Mr. Bean is not the handiest person alive, forgiveness comes easily, as everyone can see that he truly loves his friend Teddy.
Besides Teddy, there are a lot of other teddy bears who put themselves in the spotlight and turned into celebrities. All of them have become famous for their appearances in shows, of which some even had their own show. One of the shows we all watched back in the days is Sesame Street, in which Big Bird owned it’s very own teddy bear. He has been part of the show since 1970. Proving the point that teddy bears remain popular in the modern age, is the fact that in Family Guy, Stewie Griffin owns a teddy bear as well. Just as with Mr.Bean, the teddy bear is one of his best friends and a true confidant. Not only humans like bears it seems, since the famous feline Garfield owns one as well. As previously mentioned, some of these bears ruled their own shows. A great example of this is Paddington Bear, the most famous bear of London and the UK, who came to life after his creator saw a lonely teddy bear in a store in 1956. To finish this magnificent list of famous bears, imagine a pot of honey with a yellow creature next to it with the name Pooh. Obviously this is Winnie the Pooh, an all time classic and absolutely the winner of all teddy bears.
Considering the attraction of teddy bears, other stuffed animals may seem forgotten or unpopular with regards to the stuffed bear. However, this is certainly not the case! More and more different animals are being “stuffed” these days to entertain the children (and even some adults). This list is so extensive, that a selection of them will be pointed out. Available on the market are dogs, sloths, cats, elephants, llamas, foxes, giraffes, monkeys, pigs, penguins and wolves. People just seem to enjoy seeing the list grow bigger and bigger. The popularity of these other kinds of stuff animals is still visible in a lot of public spaces, especially on the fairgrounds. Kids and adults are still hanging around the “lucky cranes”, where they hope to win a stuffed animal to make friends with it, or to give it to someone else. Alternatively, they might just spin the machine to prove that the machines do actually give out prizes.
Stuffed animals are without a doubt one of the most successful toys ever, and it seems that it will not lose its popularity anytime soon. There seems to be something mysterious as to what attracts people to them. Mostly, because they won our hearts over the years by being truthful and reliable companions. There is no-one who would publicly admit that he hates teddy bears or other stuffed animals, as this is very rude to say and should be made illegal. All in all, stuffed animals are our dearest friends and let’s all make sure that they remain around for a very long time to come.