Stuffed Animals - May 29, 2014

The American Treasure Tour is a great place to visit for too many reasons to mention here.  One of the greatest things about it is that it will trigger fond memories for people of all ages and almost every background (except, we suppose, if you grew up in a cave without electricity).  The Toy Box here at the ATT is a wonderful place to see all sorts of Americana.  The guides are forced to limit what they discuss due to time restrictions, and one subject that rarely gets acknowledged are the stuffed animals.  They are everywhere!  Hanging from the ceiling, sitting in antique cars - Woody Woodpecker even sits in the "O" in the Texaco sign.  Today, we are going to briefly discuss the story of the stuffed animal.

The "official" story behind the creation of stuffed animals has their birth year in 1880.  Before then, parents may have stuffed toys for their kids, but they were not manufactured until the German Steiff company used plush fur-like fabric to create the exterior of the animal, then filled them with a soft stuffing.  Perhaps cotton.  Shortly after Steiff started work, future United States President Teddy Roosevelt was depicted in a cartoon showing compassion for a baby bear.  This inspired candy maker Rose Michtom and her husband Morris to make the first Teddy Bear.  Its popularity was unparalleled, and people bought them up like crazy.  A new industry was born. 

QUESTION:  In 1902, Morris Michton founded a company to produce teddy bears in the United States.  What was that company called?

a)  Ty

b)  Ideal Toy and Novelty

c)  Build-A-Bear

d)  Vermont Teddy Bear

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

The United States Constitution was ratified by two-thirds of the new states in 1789.  That is not to say all thirteen of the original American colonies signed on right away.  In fact, today marks the anniversary of approval by the final state.  In 1790.  It was Rhode Island. They clearly were not in any rush.

Today is a  big day for another state as well:  in 1848, Wisconsin became the thirtieth state to enter the union. Once in America, New York was known as the place to go to get your cheese. Wisconsin has most definitely taken the crown away from the eleventh state.  We suppose it's only fair.  New York has some other pretty big accomplishments on its resume. 

BIRTHDAYS:

It wouldn't be right to let May 29th go by without nodding our hats to Sir Bob Hope.  Born today in 1903, and living to see the passing of a full century, this English-born American comedian, actor, singer, dancer, athlete and author did pretty close to everything an entertainer could ever be expected to do.  But his greatest legacy is his devotion to the American military. Between 1941 and 1991, Hope traveled with the United Service Organizations to entertain troops, making him the first and only honorary veteran of the U.S. armed forces."

We at the American Treasure Tour blog like nothing more than to recognize the birthdays of our presidents.  Today we celebrate Mr. John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  Born in 1917, he was the youngest man ever elected to the office.  Teddy Roosevelt was a younger president, but he inherited the job from William McKinley upon McKinley's assassination.  Bringing youth and enthusiasm to the office, JFK served only three years before his own tragic and untimely death by the bullet of an assassin.

QUOTE:  A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove you don't need it. - Bob Hope

Answer:  b)  Ideal Toy and Novelty.  Ideal is no longer a company.  After a few transitions, it was absorbed by the Mattel Company.