On July 13,1903, Margarete Steiff registered a design patent on "Bear 55 PB" at the district court in Heidenheim, Germany. This was the birth of the teddy bear. By 1904 the furry toy had hit the big time, winning the hearts of both adults and children when it went on show at the St. Louis World Exhibition. By the end of that year, 12,000 bears had been sold. Three years later, in 1907, the Steiff company sold a staggering 975,000 bears.
Never before had a single toy been so much in demand. Of course, the cuddly creatures were helped by having friends in high places. The Steiff teddy bear came to symbolise Americans' affection for their President Theodore Roosevelt, known to his friends as "Teddy". Incidentally, the Steiff teddy bears made the first leg of their journey to America on board a 16 hp Daimler truck with 2.5 t payload.