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The history of the first Monkey soft toys

Back in the Victorian era, during the 1800s, mothers started making soft dolls for their children to play with. Art and Craft was a past time indulged in only by the wealthy as they could afford to buy material like cotton (and had servants to attend to mundane household chores). During this time European countries were racing to colonise Africa. The new knowledge of the exotic species of animals found in Africa provided inspiration for sewn stuff toys beyond dolls. A monkey, as well as being very cute and likable, was one of the few african animals that wouldn't eat you, making the monkey a perfect little friend for small children.

The history of the Socks that would one day be turned into Sock Monkeys. 

At the same time that monkey toys were being handmade in Europe, there were big things happening in the sock world in the USA. John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant patented the sock knitting machine in 1869. John found a way to produce socks without seams in the heel. He began manufacturing work socks in Rockford Illinois in 1890. Their seamless design made them very comfortable and were an instant success.

The Nelson's seemless sock was copied by imitators and like Kleenex experienced with tissues, Rockfords became the generic term for all socks of this type. The Nelson knitting company wanted to distinguish their socks so customers would know they were purchasing an original pair and so a red heel was added. It wasn't for another 30 years that Nelson Knitting Mills discovered that their Rockford Red Heel work sock was not just being used as a comfortable sock. 

The history of the Sock Monkey

It is believed that the first sock monkey was made out of Rockford Red Heel socks in the great depression in the 1930s, some would say 1950s, the monkeys have been silent on the topic. Old worn out Rockford socks were given a new life by Grandmothers across America. It was the distinctive red heel of the socks that was so important. As with all sock monkeys, it's all about the heel of the sock. The distinctive red on the heel became the monkey's mouth and they were filled with corn husks to become toys for children. 

Nelson Knitting Mills embraced this creative use for their red heeled socks and began including a sock monkey pattern in every sock packet. The monkey was even used extensively in their advertising campaigns. In 1992 Fox River Mills took over the Nelson Knitting Company and continued the monkey business. 

Monkey and Me introduces Australia to the Sock Monkey

Monkey and Me has established itself as the home of the handmade sock monkeys in Australia. At Monkey and Me we love creating monkeys out of socks. It took months of tweaking the design and many kilometres walking around Perth Shopping Centres to collect socks soft, bright and striped enough to open the Monkey and Me orphanage. We pride ourselves on our colours, quality and cheekiness of our sock monkeys. Even better, there is always a sock monkey ready to be adopted instantly. Our sock monkey face design is original and has copyright protection. 


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