With all of our modern toys and gadgets, it is easy to forget how simple things can put a smile on your little one’s face. Even more amazing, is how something so simple can evolve into a popular toy. For example, our lead designer, Rose, researched the origination of the cute little Sock Monkey and look what she found …
The history of the Sock Monkey goes back to when the stuffed animal craze swept across Europe and the United States during the Great Depression. Money was scarce and people could not afford “luxury” items such as stuffed animals. So American moms, being creative and resourceful, started making stuffed monkey dolls out of socks, filling them with whatever was available in the house – paper, rice, even old pantyhose.
In 1932, the Nelson Knitting Company in Rockford, IL, invented a work sock with a trademarked red heel. These socks became known as “Rockfords.” Not only were they the most popular work sock of their time, they became the basis for one of the most popular and long-lasting toys. When made into a doll, the red sock heel created a distinctive red mouth.
The Nelson Knitting Company soon became aware that their socks were being used to create this extremely popular stuffed toy. They decided to patent the pattern for the Sock Monkey doll and use it in their advertising and promotional campaigns. They even included the Sock Monkey pattern with each pair of “Rockford” socks sold!
In 1992, Fox River Mills acquired the Nelson Knitting Company. And while the Rockford sock is still in production today, the red heel design has undergone a noteworthy change. The red heel pattern that gave the Sock Monkey its famous smile has been replaced by a more oval pattern.
The Sock Monkey theme has seen a new growth in popularity in the 21st Century. While it has taken on many new forms and faces, the original remains steadfast. A yearly Sock Monkey Festival is held in Rockford, IL, where visitors can also enjoy a museum honoring this wonderful fuzzy fella that brought smiles to so many faces for over 100 years.
Funny how something as basic as a sock with a red swatch on it turned into a national phenomenon. To honor such American ingenuity, this month we are featuring our fun and playful Sock Monkey Crib Bedding set – and of course giving one away! All you have to do to win is tell us about an everyday item that became your child’s favorite plaything – an appliance box that became a fortress, or a Tupperware container that became a pirate hat. You tell us how you, or you little one, created something special out of something ordinary. Leave a comment on our blog to enter; we’ll pick our favorite and the grand prize will be, of course, a 4-piece Sock Monkey Crib Bedding set! We think you’ll love this classic gender-neutral bedding collection.
Important: You must leave your comment on our blog to be eligible to win! The deadline to enter is Sunday, November 20, 2011 (midnight EDT). Good luck!