An arctophile is a person who collects bears, from the greek words 'arcto' (bear) and 'philos' (lover).  Although Teddy Bears have been around for 100 years, the term wasn't coined until the mid 1980's.  As it was, bear collecting did not become the phenomenon it is today until the late 1960's, when actor Peter Bull asked the audience of the "Today" show for interesting Teddy Bear stories.  Within a week he had received over 2,000 letters!   He went on to write the book "Bear With Me", launching his career as ambassador for the Teddy Bear.  (From "The Teddy Bear Encyclopedia", by Pauline Cockrill).


Below are a few terms used by arctophiles:

Alpaca.  Alpaca fabric is similar to mohair, but instead it uses the fleece of an Alpaca, a member of the Llama family.  Its hair is very soft, but it takes a long time to grow, so it is a more expensive bear fabric.

Artist Bear.  A term typically used to describe Teddy Bears that are often handmade, are made in limited quantities, and are valued by bear collectors.   There is no 'Teddy Bear Panel' to decide what is an artist bear-- that is ultimately left to the collector to decide.

Faux Fur.  Plush fabric made of artificial fibers; also known as synthetic fur.

Glass Eyes.  Black shoe buttons were typically used as eyes for Teddy Bears when they were first made.  The glass eyes are black glass in a button shape with a loop on the back to attach the eye to the teddy bear.

Hug.  A group or collection of Teddy Bears is known as a hug.

Joint.  Connects the head and limbs to the teddy bear's body, and allows the bear to be posed.  Can be made of plastic, with locking washers (known as safety joints), or can be two hardboard disks with a hole drilled in them, connected together by a cotter pin or a screw and nut.

Mohair.  Mohair fabric consists of hair from the angora goat anchored to a woven backing.  The first Steiff bears were made of Mohair, and it is the most popular fabric used in Artist Bears.

Ultrasuede©.  A synthetic material that looks and feels like real suede, but ages better (and is animal friendly!).  Is the most popular choice for paws on Artist Bears.

Upholstery Velvet.  A woven fabric with a very short pile height, it is often used for bear paws, or is used to make miniature bears.