The very first teddy bear was created in 1903 in Brooklyn, New York, by Russian immigrant inventor Morris Michtom and his wife Rose. The inspiration for the now universally beloved plush toy was an incident depicted in a Wasnington Post cartoon, in which President Theodore Roosevelt refused to shoot a bear cub during a hunt in Mississippi. Rose handcrafted soft, jointed versions of the cartoon cub and displayed them in the storefront window of the Michtoms' toy shop. The bears quickly became a huge hit in the neighborhood, prompting the Michtoms to establish the Ideal Toy & Novelty Company to meet the overwhelming demand for the new toy sensation.
Ideal earned the distinction of being the first American toy manufacturer to mass produce bears, which remained its main product until the 1930s. By then, comic-character toy's vere becoming very popular in the United States. The company obtained the rights to produce toy's of characters like Mickey Mouse, Popeye, and Dope)'. In addition, composition dolls and, later, plastic dolls were added to the product line.
There were no permanent labels placed on the bears during manufacture, so exact identification of the early bears can be difficult. But the bears were produced in a distinctive style that seasoned collectors have come to recognize. Dolls are usually marked on the back or under the hairline on the back of the neck.
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