Founded by seamstress Margarethe Steiff in 1880, the Steiff company has been making stuffed bears since the early 20th century. Richard Steiff, Margaret's nephew, designed a softer bear, different from earlier traditional rag dolls, using softer fabrics and new upholstery technology. Around the same time, Morris Michtom in the U.S. made the first teddy bear, inspired by a drawing of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt with a bear cub. Teddy bears are among the most popular children's toys and the company is hoping for a strong Christmas season. The 2011 forecast for the global toy market is expected to be around $84 billion.
Left, a Christmas teddy bear is wheeled on a trolley at the Steiff stuffed-toy factory in Giengen an der Brenz, Germany.Source: Photograph by Thomas Niedermueller/Getty Images