Continued from product description on
Historical Doll Kits' Page Two...
Background: Sock monkey dolls are an American tradition
that began in 1939. Since then, they have become a world-famous
doll! What makes the classic sock monkey doll authentic is a
pair of Rockford Red Heel Socks. The Mr. Sock Monkey doll kit
(4707) made by Historical Folk Toys includes such a pair of socks
made by The Nelson Knitting Company!
In 1880, The Nelson Knitting Company opened for business in
Rockford, Illinois. As a manufacturer of socks, they were the
first to make seamless socks. Their seamless socks became very
popular with factory workers and farmers. The popularity of seamless
work socks grew so much, in fact, that The Nelson Knitting Company
eventually became the first company to sell socks throughout
The patented red heel was added in 1932. When the world's
largest mail order company, Sears & Roebuck, began selling
Rockford Red Heel Socks in 1939, every pair of socks was shipped
with sewing instructions for making sock monkey dolls! Mothers
were soon making Rockford Red Heel Sock Monkeys for their children
throughout the U.S. And while mothers searched around their homes
to find suitable stuffing material for these dolls, the fathers
usually ignored the instructions and continued to stuff their
feet into them before they went to work.
This went on for years. And as these red-heeled socks and
monkey doll instructions were shipped to the rest of the world,
mothers continued to make sock monkey dolls for their children.
It soon became apparent to The Nelson Knitting Company that sock
monkey dolls had as much universal appeal to kids as these socks
did to their fathers (who continued to stuff their feet in them).
In 1955, the company received a U.S. patent for their sock monkey
pattern. By now, Rockford Red Heel Sock Monkeys were world famous!
If you are a sock monkey aficionado, then you may wish to
visit Midway Village & Museum Center in Rockford, Illinois,
for their exhibit on "The Missing Link: Socks, Monkeys and
Rockford's Industrial Past." You can view the knitting machine,
sock monkeys, and original patents for the red-heeled sock and
the sock monkey. (Their Web site is www.midwayvillage.com.)
Fact: The world's largest sock monkey is 7 feet and 2
inches tall (including his tail). His name is "Nelson"
(after John Nelson who invented the seamless sock machine), and
he lives in Rockford, Illinois, when he isn't touring the country
as a goodwill ambassador. By the way, Nelson was made from 44
Rockford Red Heeled socks!