History of the Sock Monkey

Have you ever stopped and wondered where the cute little Sock Monkey originated? Well, curiosity got the better of me and I decided to do a little research. (OK, it wasn’t that hard as there is a lot of information out there about this little guy with the big red smile).

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 the American Mom, 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 The red heel pattern that gave the Sock Monkey its famous smile has been replaced by a more oval pattern.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 21th 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.

So, to honor our favorite, always classic, kinda funny looking, stuffed animal, check out our Sock Monkey Crib Bedding…a great gender neutral bedding collection as american as apple pie.


3 thoughts on “History of the Sock Monkey

  1. This is a great article for Thursday night mommy trivia! Makes me want to buy a sock monkey doll.

  2. Mommy trivia sounds like fun! You could also turn it into a great project with your children by making one yourself. A fun way to spend some quality time with them. They grow up very quickly! I am sure they would cherish it for years to come knowing the love that went into making it together!

    Have fun!


  3. excellent history of the sock monkey, but No pantyhose in the early days. The monkeys were stuffed with old "stockings." I think pantyhose weren't really around until the late 1960's or early 1970's.

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