Stuffed animals have been best friends with kids for thousands of years. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t have a favourite cuddly toy when they were growing up. There is though, varying accounts regarding the history of stuffed animals, including macabre, consumer-based and simply parents making them for their kids. We’re diving into all of them today and sharing some of the most interesting theories with you.
Where Did Stuffed Toys Really Come From?
Way back in Ancient Rome, children from wealthy families would have multiple wooden animal carvings to play with. Poorer families didn’t have the same access to wood, so their children played with rag dolls made from straw and rags. Ancient Egyptian children also played with dolls made from rags, wool or cotton.
If you’re wanting something less pleasant, it is said that stuffed animals also had their origins in the art of taxidermy. We can’t quite picture little Timmy taking a preserved cat to bed though, so this isn’t one of our favourites!
Moving onto nicer tales, the modern stuffed toy first took its place on shop shelves in the 1880s. Margarete Steiff made a stuffed elephant from a pattern in a magazine. She sold these as pincushions, but children began playing with them instead. So, she began the famous teddy bear brand we know as Steiff and increased her variety of stuffed animals to cats, pigs and dogs. Teddy bears didn’t come along until 1902 when thanks to Teddy Roosevelt, a stuffed bear was made based upon his actions on a hunting expedition.
From here, stuffed animals simply became one of the most popular and common toys a child has. A quick trip to Farmers or The Warehouse today will show you the enormous variety available. But while Talking Elmo, Cabbage Patch Kids and Winne the Pooh toys are cute and cuddly, they do have one big problem – they’re all the same!
Here at Cute Cuddles, we’re not into mass toy production. Instead, we focus our love and attention on creating stuffed animals which are 100% unique and exceptionally well-made. You’ll never find a loose thread, artificial fabric or replicas amongst our range of handmade stuffed animals! Come and take a look – you’ll love them just as much as we do!