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Who Invented Stuffed Animals and other Stuffed Toys

Updated on December 31, 2017
Kristine Manley profile image

Kris Manley is a blogger, author, and speaker. She's a guest on radio in the U.S., Canada, and overseas, as well as a guest on network TV.

My stuffed dogs, Patrick and Patrick, Jr. cozy by the fireplace.
My stuffed dogs, Patrick and Patrick, Jr. cozy by the fireplace. | Source

Stuffed toys and/or animals are cute and cuddly, and most people, namely children, like stuffed animals and other stuffed toys. Stuffed animals can be a child's favorite toy and/or a best friend. Stuffed animals and other stuffed toys go through the washing machine, get chewed up by the family pet, lose an eye, get patched up, lose their fluff, lose their stuffing, and frequently get new owners. How did stuffed animals and other stuffed toys come into being? It seems like stuffed animals have been around for a very long time; they perhaps got their start because real animals were stuffed after they were killed - today we call this Taxidermy which can be a long and expensive process. Of course children and this type of stuffed animal don’t go together.

Teddy is too cute!
Teddy is too cute! | Source

The Emergence of Stuffed Animals and other Stuffed Toys

This practice of stuffing animals grew over the years, and it wasn't until the 1800's, approximately about the 1830's, that stuffed animals made their way onto the scene, but these were homemade stuffed animals. People back then used straw and cloth. As time went on people began to use cotton, rags, beans, and other materials to create these wonderful toys. Around 1880 stuffed animals began to be manufactured in Germany by Steiff Company. In the United States a certain stuffed animal began to get noticed because President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was pictured with this now "famous" animal. President Roosevelt was approached by Morris Michtom who began the Ideal Novelty and Toy Company and asked to use the President's name, and he agreed - thus the Teddy Bear.

Sock Monkeys
Sock Monkeys

Other Names for Stuffed Animals and other Stuffed Toys

A stuffed toy is stuffed with soft materials and is made from textile. We also call them plush toys, plushies, or stuffed animals, soft toys, pillow toys, smushy toys, or cuddly toys.

Flounder from the movie, The Little Mermaid
Flounder from the movie, The Little Mermaid | Source

Well Known Stuffed Animals and StuffedToys

The first stuffed toy to be patented was Peter Rabbit, the character invented by author Beatrix Potter. During the Great Depression was the emergence of Sock Monkeys which were made out of socks. Remember Beanie Babies the beanbag animals? We have the Sesame Street characters as well as Pillow Pets.

When to give a Stuffed Animal or Stuffed Toy

We speak of comfort foods, well, stuffed animals are comfort toys, they're good listeners, and don't talk back - no wonder they're popular. Any age or gender can enjoy a stuffed toy or animal. There are a lot of stuffed toys for little girls to choose from, but here are some ideas of stuffed toys for little boys; my nephews loved these: footballs, trucks, soccer balls, caterpillars, snakes, dogs, baseballs, octopus, sharks, and elephants. There is always a good time to give a stuffed toy.

You may gift these toys for the following reasons:

  • Birthday
  • Christmas
  • Valentine's Day
  • Graduation
  • Baby Shower
  • Wedding
  • For a Grand Opening of a Business
  • Anniversary
  • Dinner Party
  • Thanksgiving (stuffed turkey toy)
  • Going Away Party
  • Retirement Party
  • 4th of July
  • Just to say, "I Love You"

Family of Stuffed Animals
Family of Stuffed Animals | Source

Qualities of a good Stuffed Animal or Stuffed Toy

Parents nowadays are very particular about the toys their children play with, as they should be because of moving parts, small pieces, and sharp edges that kids can either cut themselves on or swallow. Just because a stuffed toy looks cute and cuddly doesn't mean it's safe. A safe stuffed toy should have the following qualities:

  • Made out of non-allergenic material
  • Preferably made out of cotton
  • Stuffed with non-allergenic material
  • Have Non-removable or hard to remove eyes, buttons, and other pieces
  • Have embroidered eyes and/or buttons
  • Have sewn on eyes and/or buttons
  • Be mechanically sewn together (we don't want stuffing leaks)
  • No metal zippers, if applicable
  • Use velcro instead of zippers and/or buttons
  • Should be washable with very little running of dye
  • No shedding


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    • Kristine Manley profile image

      Donna Kristine 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I have a small collection too. The large picture of my Hub are the two stuffed animals in my living room.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I have a collection of stuffed animals in my attic. They are too hard to part with at this time as they mean much to me. It is a great gift for any age. Love your suggestions on purchasing a quality toy.