History of Plush Toys

History of Plush Toys

Rag Dolls

Ancient Egypt isn’t just known for the pyramids, but it is also where some of the oldest toys on Earth have been found.  There have been many toys uncovered made of clay and wood, but there were also some found closer to the stuffed toys we know today.  They had “rag dolls” which were essentially doll shapes stuffed with whatever they had like papyrus and wool.  Over time people dyed fabrics and would decorate the dolls in pretty clothing.  They started to become mass produced in the 1800s which allowed children to have a friend to play with and taught them nurturing skills and sewing as they repaired the dolls or made clothes for them.

Sock Monkeys

Sock monkeys are a classic toy that can is still popular today.  Although most people buy them, they were originally just made at home.  During the Industrial Revolution, the production of socks became much more streamlined allowing everyone to have them.  Many people did not own socks before this!  This was a cheap way to make a toy for children.  They could be made out of any sock, but the Rockford Red Heel socks produced the best results!  In fact, someone sent a monkey they made to the company and it went over so well, Rockford started including sock monkey instructions with all their socks.  They remained a popular item all throughout the Great Depression and can still be purchased today.

The First Stuffed Animal Produced

Given its’ wide notoriety, most would think the teddy bear to be the first stuffed animal made.  However, it was actually an elephant!  It was designed to be used as a pincushion originally.  The German Steiff company behind this felt stuffed creature decided to then mass produce stuffed animals and started selling the Ithaca Kitty, a stuffed plush in the shape of a tabby cat.  This kitty cat was the first mass produced stuffed animal that went to market.

Teddy Bears

The Steiff company was behind not only the first stuffed animal, but the first teddy bear as well.   It is commonly known that the United States president, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt inspired the teddy bear.  A man created one after he saw a cartoon drawing of Roosevelt and a bear.  At the same time, the Steiff company was making their own soft bear to sell.  The two coincided and fed off of each other’s popularity until almost everyone could say they once owned their own teddy.



Today, there are all kinds of stuffed and plush toys.  They come in the shape of animals, food, everyday objects, and even characters from popular shows.  There isn’t a limit on what can be made, it is all upon the creators imagination and some soft cotton filling.  They can be found almost anywhere from gas stations, to carnivals, to department stores, and even at grocery stores.  Of course, the best place to buy is online, right here at Stuffed with Love. Get shopping today!

Back to blog