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Why do Teddy Bears always look like they're frowning?


Why do Teddy Bears always look like they're frowning? Wouldn't it make more sense to make smiling bears for kids?

3421 day(s) ago

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cabbagehead
There are some smiling bears on the market, but the majority do appear to be frowning. One explanation is tied to the origin of the teddy bear: The original bear was based on sketches toymaker Richard Steiff made at the local zoo. The German toy maker's bear was much more anatomically correct* than current bears, with a long snout and arms. If you look at a bear with its mouth closed, it appears to be frowning: Steiff copied this in his design. While the initial run of bears didn't sell well in Germany, an American company bought the lot hoping to capitalize on Teddy Roosevelt's recent bear hunting trip along the Mississippi. It was an immediate hit and soon this success spread back to Europe.

So, why have toy designers kept the frowning face even though the rest of the bear has changed to become cuter? Most bear noses are made of a cone made from three triangular pieces of fabric. These pieces are sewn together in an inverted "Y" shape, making it easy to align the nose. Adding a mouth is just a matter of pulling the lower seams inward or adding a little piping to them, hence the frown. There are smiling bears on the market, but this requires a separate seam to be sewn which can be hard to line up, making the feature almost exclusive to high-end bears.

*While much closer to real life than current Teddy bears, the proportions of Steiff's bear most closely resemble those of Yogi Bear.

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