What is all this crazy sock monkey love about? When we looked at our stats from our etsy shop we were surprised to see that Sock Monkey Fabric in cotton and fleece was our most searched and had our highest sales. We have sold it everywhere and even to Canada (twice). So I decided to do a little looking about these cuties.
These stuffed animals are a mixture of folk art and kitsch in the culture of the US and Canada. Wikipedia states that the most direct predecessor for the sock monkey was in the Victorian era, when there was a craze for stuffed animals from exotic species in Africa.
(Here's the history part- which you can skip if you yawn) In 1869, John Nelson patented the sock-knitting machine and began to manufacture work socks in Rockford, Illinois in 1890. The iconic sock monkeys, made from red-heeled socks, emerged on 1932. What happened in 1932 you may ask? Well it goes like this- Nelson figured out a way to make a seamless heel in his work socks and it was so popular everyone stole his idea. So they came up with the red heel to distinguish their Rockford work sock as the "Original Rockford". During the depression, crafters made sock monkeys out of wornout socks. As always something happens to spoil the fun and in 1951, Nelson discovered their socks were being used to make monkey dolls. They disputed the design patent and in 1955 gained the patent on the sock monkey pattern. They started including a free sock monkey pattern in every purchase of socks.
Time ticks away and in 1980 a company called Marketing Tide of Willoughby Hills, Ohio sold kits with the original Rockfords. In 1992, ABC-TV Network Home Show featured the kit and the sock monkey was back in American Culture.
And now you know.
Not all sock monkeys today are made from Rockfords. A Google search for images reveals 2,100,000 images of sock monkeys in all colors, shapes and sizes. Or check out "The Original Sock Monkey Blog" for sock monkeys from around the world.
And if you want some of your own sock monkey love- visit here for a free sock monkey pattern and instructions. If you make one - share it.
And here is our shameless tie-in......
Our sock monkey fleece and quilters cotton available on etsy.