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Stuffed toy

Replica of a Steiff teddy bear from 1903
Stuffed toy animals for sale

A stuffed toy is a toy with an outer fabric sewn from a textile and stuffed with flexible material. They are known by many names, such as plush toys, stuffed animals, plushies, or stuffies. In Britain and Australia, they may be called soft toys or cuddly toys. Textiles commonly used for the outer fabric include plain cloth, as well as pile textiles like plush or terrycloth, or even socks. Common stuffing materials include synthetic fiber, batting, cotton, straw, wood wool, plastic pellets, and beans. The toy originates from Germany in the late 19th century and has been marked by fads in popular culture that sometimes affected collectors and the value of the toys.

Stuffed toys are made in many different forms, but most often resemble real animals (sometimes with exaggerated proportions or features), legendary creatures, cartoon characters, or inanimate objects. They can be used as comfort objects; for display or collecting; or given as gifts, such as for graduation, illness, condolences, Valentine's Day, Christmas, or birthdays. They are commonly gifted to children, but can be given to anybody.


A pair of homemade sock monkeys, part of US and Canadian culture

The first commercial concern to create stuffed toys was the German Steiff company in 1880. Steiff used newly developed technology for manufacturing upholstery to make their stuffed toys.[1] In 1892, the Ithaca Kitty became one of the first mass-produced stuffed animal toys in the United States.[2]

In 1903 Richard Steiff designed a soft stuffed bear that differed from earlier traditional rag dolls, because it was made of plush furlike fabric.[1] At the same time in the US, Morris Michtom created the first teddy bear after being inspired by a drawing of President "Teddy" Roosevelt with a bear cub.[3] In 1903, the character Peter Rabbit from English author Beatrix Potter was the first stuffed toy to be patented.[4]


"Teddies shop" in Lima, Peru


Amigurumi is a Japanese type of handcrafted knitted or crocheted stuffed toys. Amigurumi are typically made to look cute with oversized heads and undersized extremities.[5][6]

Sock monkeys are a type of handmade stuffed monkey made out of socks, which first appeared in the US during the Great Depression.[7]


Brands of stuffed toys include Pillow Pets, whose toys can be folded from a pillow into a stuffed animal; Tickle Me Elmo, a laughing and shaking plush toy based on the character Elmo from the Sesame Street television show, released in 1996;[8] Furby, a robotic talking plush toy with its own language, released in 1998;[9] and Zhu Zhu Pets, a line of robotic plush hamsters released in 2009.[10][11]

Some brands of stuffed toys, such as Beanie Babies and Cute Plushies,[12] used marketing strategies to encourage the collection of a series of stuffed toys.[13]

Virtual brands

Webkinz stuffed animals were created by Ganz in 2005. Each Webkinz toy comes with a unique "Secret Code" that gives access to the Webkinz World website and a virtual version of the toy for online play.[14][15] Disney's Club Penguin and Build-A-Bearville from Build-A-Bear Workshop are other online worlds with content that can be unlocked from codes found on associated stuffed toys. In 2013, Disney launched its first collection of Disney Tsum Tsum stuffed toys based on characters from different Disney properties, inspired by the popular app of the same name.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Gary S. Cross (1999). Kids' Stuff: Toys and the Changing World of American Childhood. Harvard University Press. pp. 93–94. Archived from the original on 2016-01-04.
  2. ^ Sachse, Gretchen (2016-07-28). "Ithaca Kitty was a success across America". The Ithaca Journal. Ithaca, New York. Retrieved 2016-08-02.
  3. ^ "Teddy Bears". Library Of Congress. Archived from the original on 2009-12-05. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  4. ^ "The life of Beatrix Potter - Peter Rabbit". Archived from the original on 2012-01-17.
  5. ^ Mary Beth Temple (2009). Hooked for Life: Adventures of a Crochet Zealot. Andrews McMeel. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-0-7407-7812-4. Archived from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
  6. ^ Mary Belton (2006). Craft, Volume 1: Transforming Traditional Crafts. O'Reilly Media. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-0-596-52928-4. Archived from the original on 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
  7. ^ Boschma, Janie (2007-11-05). "History of the sock monkey: Stuffed animal created during the Great Depression". The Spectator. Archived from the original on 2009-12-18. Retrieved 2009-07-01.
  8. ^ "Just Tickled" Archived 2014-06-02 at the Wayback Machine. People, January 13, 1997.
  9. ^ "New toy an interactive fur ball". CNN. 1998-10-05. Archived from the original on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2007-07-13.
  10. ^ Vicki Mabrey; Kinga Janik (November 20, 2009). "Zhu Zhu Pets: Hamsters to Save Christmas?". ABC News. Archived from the original on November 22, 2009.
  11. ^ Anderson, Mae (November 27, 2009). "Robotic hamsters are holidays' unlikely new craze". Denver Post. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
  12. ^ "Cute Plushies". Cute Plushies. 22 September 2019. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  13. ^ Wickman, Kase (August 30, 2017). "The Life and Death of the Princess Diana Beanie Baby Market". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  14. ^ Pardo, Steve (2007-04-11). "Kids hooked on Webkinz world". The Detroit News. Retrieved 2007-04-23.
  15. ^ Barakat, Matthew (2007-07-13). "Review: Webkinz pleases parents and children". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2007-08-18. Retrieved 2007-08-20.
  16. ^ "Disney Store Releases Alice in Wonderland Tsums!". Tsum Tsum Central. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2015-10-08.

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