5 Facts You Didn't Know About Teddy Bears

On February 15, 1903, the first "Teddy's bears" were put on display in a Brooklyn shop by owner Morris Michtom. Michtom named them after Theodore Roosevelt, who had recently refused to kill a bear during a hunt. Roosevelt gave his permission to Michtom, who started manufacturing the bears. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Teddy bears..

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The Initial Bear Cub Story Was Embellished For many people, the story of the teddy bear involves President Theodore Roosevelt refusing to kill a bear. That's the gist of what happened, but it's an embellished and sanitized version of the real event. During a hunting trip in which Roosevelt had not spotted one bear, one of Roosevelt's assistants captured an older bear and tied it to a tree, offering it to Roosevelt to shoot. Roosevelt did refuse to shoot it, but because the bear was already injured, he asked his assistants to kill it anyway. And in retellings, the bear got smaller, and that "tied-up" bit wasn't always mentioned. 

The World's Largest Teddy Bear Measures 65 Feet A 65-foot-long teddy bear that took more than three months to be stitched together in Mexico was dubbed the world's largest by Guinness World Records.  A Guinness adjudicator spent more than five hours measuring the 4.4-ton stuffed toy at a soccer stadium in the town of Xonacatlan. The residents who spent more than three months stitching the bear together dubbed it Xonita after the town. The bear was measured and certified as part of an event organized to promote children's day in Mexico.

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Winnie the Pooh Was Based on a Real Bear A Canadian soldier bought a black bear cub from a hunter during World War I, and the animal became a pet and mascot for his troop. The bear, named Winnipeg, later was given to the London Zoological Gardens, where Christopher Robin Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne’s son, took such a liking to her that he named his teddy bear after her. 

Teddy Bears Mourned The Titanic After the Titanic sank in 1912, German toy company Steiff created 500 teddy bears to honor the victims. The “mourning bears” were black with red-rimmed eyes to show their sympathy. They now sell for $20,000 or more in auctions.

A Teddy Bear Has Gone Into Space In 1995, students at a Colorado elementary school took on an educational project that involved getting a teddy bear ready for spaceflight. The bear, named Magellan T. Bear, was "tested" and given a flight suit. It was taken on plane flights to places like the South Pole and eventually went into space on the Space Shuttle Discovery as part of mission STS-63. The bear now resides at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.