This graphic was introduced to me by a student, who did a really good presentation of the visual evolution of the teddy bear for an assignment called the Artefact Assignment. It’s a great sort of Rorschach test, in the sense that any given interpretation probably reveals more about the viewer than the object itself:
In fact, what this graphic diagrams is the change in design over time of the Steiff bear. The Steiff bear was introduced in 1903 by the German company Steiff, who became involved in a decades-long arms race (furry arms, to be sure) with the Mitchom company, who had released a ‘Teddy’ Bear in the United States around the same time (named after TDR, who allegedly refused to shoot a defenseless bear).
Please feel free to submit any alternate possible interpretations (psychosexual or otherwise) via the comments box.