Looking at your Old Teddy Bear
Always remember that no Teddy Bear can be dated before 1902.
The first step to identify your old teddy bear is to have a good long look at them. If they wear removable clothes, take them off so that you can clearly see their shape. Look for a label on the back or side seams and in the ear, also the way they ware put together by the maker.
So, Key points to look for and some of the things to consider when looking at your bear are ...
Family History ... Some bears can be dated quite accurately by the memories of the previous generations of your family - elder sisters or brothers(!) your parents or your grandparents, aunts and uncles. Bear in mind that young women could be given bears at any age, just as they are today. Just because you know a bear through the family from your great aunt, don't assume she had it as a baby.
The Label ... This is the easiest way to find out who made your bear. Even if only a small fraction of it remains, you can compare it with those shown in books. Most companies changed their label design quite often throughout their history and the style of label can often pin a bear down to a specific manufacturer and date.
We haven't room here to go into details about labels, but all the books listed below show clear photos and descriptions to help with this.
The Look of the Bear ... There are hundreds of pictures of old bears scattered around the internet and you can compare yours with these but do remember that the look of the teddy bear has changed quite a lot over the century since they were invented.
The Hump ... Almost all early Teddy Bears copied the look of real bears who have a large hump between their shoulders. The more exaggerated this hump is, the more likely the bear is to be early. Another point is that German manufacturers continued to make bear with humps into the 1930s, by which time makers in England, America and elsewhere had softened the look of their bears. A classic Steiff may have this feature, even today.