The teddy bear is a stuffed toy bear. It is an enduring, traditional form of a stuffed animal, often serving the purpose of comforting children. In recent times, some teddy bears have become expensive collector's items. Teddy bear collectors are known as arctophiles from the Greek words 'arcto' (bear) and 'philos' (lover).
At the same time, in Germany the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom's bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff's designs. They exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903 and exported 3000 to the United States.
By 1906 manufacturers other than Michtom and Steiff had joined in and the craze for Teddy Bears was such that ladies carried them everywhere, children were photographed with them, and Roosevelt used one as a mascot in his bid for re-election.
American educator Seymour Eaton wrote the children's book series The Roosevelt Bears, while composer John Bratton wrote "The Teddy Bear Two Step" music which with Jimmy Kennedy's lyrics became the song "The Teddy Bears' Picnic".
There are also companies that sell handmade collectible bears that can be purchased in stores or over the Internet. Some examples of such companies are Steiff.
Mohair, the fur shorn or combed from a breed of long haired goats, is woven into cloth, dyed and trimmed to produce a fascinating choice for any artist's palette. Alpaca teddy bears are made from the pelt of an alpaca because the fiber is too soft to weave. In addition to mohair and alpaca, there is a huge selection of "plush" or synthetic fur made for the teddy bear market. Both these types of fur are commercially produced.
Some teddy bear artists specialize in the production of bears made from recycled materials. These artists hunt thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales and trash collection centers as well as their own and their families' basements and attics in search of forgotten treasures to be turned into a collector's dream. Old quilts, dresses, fur collars, coats and stoles as well as beaded bags and garments are quickly transformed into stunning teddy bears.
Some other teddy bear artists specialize in crochet bears made out of thread. They are called Thread Crochet Bears. For these bears artists do not use fabric; they make the fabric crocheting and at the same time make the bear. Thread Crochet Bears are fully jointed, miniature bears. Some are even micro, less than 2 inches tall. Thread crochet bears may be made out of crochet cotton thread, Perle cotton thread, Mohair thread, Punch thread, some thin fancy yarn, like eyelash, or any other fiber that can be.