Gebruder Bing had been making toys since the 1890s. It made its first teddy bear in 1907. The company was famous for its mechanical toys and soon introduced these elements into its bears. Although Bing made very high quality bears the company did not survive very long and went into receivership in 1932.

Gebruder Bing

© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This bear, known as Ted, is golden mohair plush stuffed with wood wool which is made up of very fine wood shavings. The original eyes have been removed and brown wool stitching put in their place. This is a well travelled bear. Having been made in Germany it spent most of its life in Africa.

It belonged to Patricia Brooks, who was born in Devon in 1911, but lived most of her life in Zimbabwe. She was given the bear when she was three years old. She connects the time it was given to her to with the departure of Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, to join the RAF just before the First World War. Harris was the manager of the farm in Zimbabwe owned by Patricia’s first husband’s family.

The bear lived with Patricia in Zimbabwe and Zambia and also spent some time in the USA. Patricia heard about the V&A Museum of Childhood on a BBC World Service radio broadcast and donated her bear in 1998.