The iconic Sock Monkey can be found in almost every facet of life from birthday cards to electronics. I’ve never really given it a second thought as to where it came from and how it found it’s way into my son’s stuffed animal collection. So what’s its origin story?
It just so happens that stuffed monkey toys dates all the way back to the Victorian era. Exotic animal themes were finding their ways into nurseries all over Europe and the United States. ‘The Jungle Book’ was one of the literatures that came from that time period which paved the way for the monkey toys many decades later.
Another important occurrence was the founding of the ‘Nelson Knitting Company’ which popularized the socks with red heels. Those socks were produced in 1932 and were known as the Rockford Red Heel Sock, after the city the company was in. These socks were so in demand that countless number of copy-cats sprung out all over the place.
So when the Great Depression happened, crafters of the time took their love of monkeys, and the large availability of the Rockford Socks to give birth to the Sock Monkey. These stuffed toys came in all shapes and sizes, and were one-of-a-kind items.
It wasn’t until 1952 where a woman named Helen Cooke decided to get a patent on the Sock Monkey which the Nelson Knitting Company bought for only $750. Rockford, Illinois would now become the official home for the Sock Monkey and if you happen to be planning a trip there, they hold an annual Sock Monkey Madness Festival.
One theory to the lasting popularity of the Sock Monkey is that they are known to be good luck charms. They’re given out as gifts to sick patients, homesick soldiers and stressed out coworkers. I always thought it was just a cute children's toy, but I have noticed this trend.
Well I for one love the Sock Monkey, and the only reason I was even curious about it was because of two items we are selling in our shop. The Sock Monkey Pilot Hat and Sock Monkey Knit Mittens are both from a really cool company that handcrafts both of them with 100% New Zealand Wool. I don’t know the first thing about fabrics, but apparently New Zealand Wool has dirt resistant properties, it’s allergy friendly, is grown sustainably and is an amazing insulator of heat. You can find out more about it from the New Zealand Wool Website.