History of Plush Animals

Do You Still Have a Teddy Bear?

plush animalsPlush animals have a rather short history, all considering.  Most of us consider the teddy bear to be an ancient toy.  However, it's only been around since 1902.  Stuffed animals themselves weren't invented until the 1880s, at least invented formally.

That's not to say that parent's didn't make their children animal shaped toys out of fabric scraps.  However, these toys were not mass produced and made available for sale until the 1880s, when the Steiff company used their upholstering machinery to shape fabric scraps into small animals that were sold as toys.

These toys were not truly popular until the 1900s, when Morris Michum designed the first teddy bear based on a picture of President Theodore Roosevelt holding a bear cub.  At the same time, Richard Steiff also made a bear with a soft, fur like covering.  This toy was so different from ones seen before that it immediately took off, both in Germany and in the United States.

These animals continued to sell until the Great Depression, when only the rich could afford to buy their children toys.  At that time, parents would make their children stuffed animals out of whatever they had around the house.  From this time, we get the famous sock monkey.

After the Depression, sales picked up.  But they didn't truly sky rocket until the invention of collectible stuffed animals.  Beanie Babies used a unique marketing strategy so that you would try to collect them all.  This lead to people needing a way to store their stuffed animals, so toy hammocks were invented.  Two good brands of toy hammocks are the Prince Lionheart Jumbo Toy Hammock and the Jolly Jumper Jumbo Toy Hammock.

Today, stuffed animals continue to sell well.  They are a popular present for new babies and for sick children, as they are soft and cuddly.  They also mean comfort to most people, which means they'll continue to see for years to come.

Posted in Collecting

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