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Teddy Bear-related Glossary

Our glossary is still growing, if there is anything you would like included do let us know and we will add it as soon as possible. To quickly scroll through our glossary select the first letter of your word .....


Acrylic A synthetically produced fibre. Acrylic (polymethyl methacrylate) was developed after World War II for use in Courtelle, Dralon and other synthetic fabrics. The resultant fabric woven from acrylic fibres is very soft and warm.
Alpaca The alpaca is a small llama. It's long, strong, fleece produces a soft and woolly fabric.
Antique This varies: for taxation purposes importing goods to UK items must be 100+ years old. However, since the 1980's most regard goods made before WWII (1940) as antique.
Arctophile Someone who loves and usually collects teddy bears. The term is derived from two Greek words: arctos (bear) and philos (love).
Artificial Silk (Art-silk) A man-made fibre, invented in the 1880's and first used in the toy industry at the end of the 1920's.
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Boot Buttons In the 19th and early 20th centuries shoes and boots were usually fastened with black buttons (made from wood pulp). These were often used as eyes in early teddy bears.
Burlap Also known as hessian. A course fabric fabric woven from jute and used for some early stuffed toys.
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Center Seam When used in relation to a rare, early Steiff bear. To use material economically Steiff cut six teddy bear heads from one length of mohair, a seventh head was then cut in two pieces and sewn together forming a seam down the centre of the bears face.
Cotter Pin A two-pronged metal pin used to fasten the disc joints which allow teddy to move his arms, legs and head.
Cotton Waste The waste from the manufacture of cotton was used as stuffing during World War II when other materials, such as kapok, were not available. This waste is also known as "sub".
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Excelsior US trade name for wood shavings or wood wool which was used to stuff teddy bears.
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Fairy Foam Foam used as a stuffing material during 1960's.
Felt A matted woollen fabric frequently used for teddy's paw and foot pads.
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Golden Teddy Awards The number of bear artists increased significantly during the 1980's and 1990's. Their contribution was recognised when the Golden Teddy awards were introduced in 1987. Robin Rive has been nominated for and received a number of Golden Teddy awards.
Growler A "voice-box" usually fitted in teddy's tummy but sometimes in his side which is activated by tipping him forward or backwards.
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Hump A pronounced lump on the back of a bear, first used by Steiff but copied by other manufacturers. Most often seen on early bears.
Hug A collection of teddy bears.
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Inset Muzzle The bears nose and muzzle is made from a separate, often different, piece of fabric to the rest of the head/face.
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Jointed Generally discs are inserted at each arm, leg and at the neck allowing movement. In the late 1950's bears without joints were produced which allowed them to be easily washed.
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Kapok A light-weight, hygenic and soft stuffing material mainly used in the 1920's and 1930's
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Layaway A service whereby, once a deposit has been paid, the seller will keep an item for an agreed period of time during which the balance is paid by instalments. Tell me more about layaway.
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Mohair Originally yarn or cloth made from the fleece of an angora goat but today it may be a wool and cotton mix.
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Pads "Paw" pads are those at the end of the "arms" of a teddy bears. "Foot" pads are those on the soles of the feet. Pads are usually made of felt, but may also be made of rexine (for teddy bears made in 1940's or later), leather or cotton.
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Replica In the 1980's manufacturers, such as Steiff, began making copies of their antique teddy bears. Often replica's are made in limited editions.
Rexine The tradename for a leathercloth made by covering a woven cloth with cellulose nitrate. Used on British bear paw and foot pads from the late 1930's to early 1960's.
Rod Bear A bear with metal joints that run through the body. Introduced by Steiff and used in their very early bears.
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Sealing Wax Used to make moulded noses for teddy bears.
Stick bear An inexpensive bear, with thin limbs, made in the USA.
Squeaker A voice box, frequently fitted in teddy's tummy, which emits a sound when pressed.
Sub Stuffing made from cotton waste and used during World War II when other materials, such as kapok, were not available.
Swing Tag A thin card tag attached to a bear or hung around it's neck to identify the manufacturer. These were usually removed by parents. See the Chad Valley section of our Encyclopaedia for some examples.
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Toby Award The number of bear artists increased significantly during the 1980's and 1990's. Their work was recognised when the Toby (Teddy Bear of the Year) was introduced in 1990.
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Ultrasuede US tradename for a soft, synthetic fabric, developed in late 1960's/early 1970's, similar to suede.
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Vintage There is no official definition of "vintage" but we regard bears made between 1940 and 1980 as vintage.
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Webbed Claws The four or five large stitches which form the paw claws are linked with a strand of thread to produce a webbed effect. This was used by Farnell and Merrythought in 1930's.
Wood-wool Long, very fine wood shavings used for stuffing teddy bears. Also known as excelsior. Makes a scrunching sound when pressed.




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