Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Women of Wednesday: Sock Monkeys Rock

We know them. We love them (well, mostly). Is there anyone out there who hasn't known at least one sock monkey personally? They are just about the perfect stuffed animal with their soft, squishy bodies, heather-colored skin, staring button eyes, and big red lips (and their kind of creepy red butt)

My monkey was not mine. It was my granny's, and it was saved for special occasions when my brothers and I made our weekend trips to her brownstone bungalow in Chicago. I loved that little guy . . .

Sock monkeys were made from the work socks with the red heel, manufactured by the Nelson Knitting Company in Rockford Illinois. The socks were known simply as Rockfords. It was around the time the company added that distinctive red heel that sock monkeys started appearing in the arms of children everywhere. No one is quite sure who gave birth to the first Sock Monkey.

After a patent dispute, the Nelson Knitting Company was awarded a patent for the design in 1955, and in a brilliant marketing move included a pattern with every package of socks.

The rest of the sock monkey story can be found here on wiki or you can check out this story called Origins of the Sock Monkey Shrouded in Mystery right here.

Or, better yet, listen to the story of Rockford's 8th annual Sock Monkey Madness Festival held just this past weekend at the Midway Village Museum in Rockford. You can hear it at this NPR link.

So, what are well-heeled sock monkeys doing on a Woman of Wednesday post? Sock monkeys were made mostly by moms and grandmas all over this country, and now around the world. It's their enduring popularity (both monkey, moms, and grandmas) that make them the perfect post for today.

We salute you all!

You can learn how to make a sock monkey here or here, at Sock (a dedicated site)


Mur said...

Took me all day to get a minute to check in. Love the post and I learned something today. I'd never heard of Rockfords. I often wondered if the Curious George stories came first or the sock monkeys representing Curious George came first.

Diane Mayr said...

Fun post!