The history of stuffed toys dates back more than two centuries and had started from creating a teddy bear.
First historical records indicate that the ancient Egyptians could probably be credited with the first stuffed toys. There are actually no stuffed animals that have been unearthed from any of the archaeological digs in Egypt, but hieroglyphics and paintings indicate that they were present. Also, it could be that representatives of real animals were used in ceremonies.
After that stuffed toys kind of faded out. During the centuries people were making mostly cloth dolls and maybe the occasional stuffed animal.
SO WHO INVENTED STUFFED TOYS?
It wasn’t until 1880 that stuffed toys were reintroduced. This is the year that Margarete Steiff founded her company Steiff in Germany with the idea of making stuffed toys. It is a family business that continues to work to this day. And a one which can be said invented stuffed toys.
At first Steiff’s products were more pincushions but they looked so good, children started to play with them and treat them as toys. Then in 1897 Margarete’s nephew Richard Steiff joined the company. In 1902-1903 he created the teddy bear.
At the same time in the USA, Morris Michtom created as well the first teddy bear, after being inspired by a drawing of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt with a bear cub.
You would think Steiff’s bears were popular in Europe, but not at first. Ironically it was thanks to an American buyer who bought all 100 teddies that were first shown at the Lepzig Toy Fair. He also ordered another 3000. A year later the company sold 12 000 bears at the Saint Louis World’s Fair. In just five years it increased it’s production to 974 000 bears and continues to increase them.
Just teddy bears weren’t enough tough. So slowly but surely Steiff started making all kinds of stuffed toys and other manufacturers joined the market.
At first stuffed animals were made out of mostly cloth, faux fur, plush. The stuffing was motly straw, wood wool, beans. Steiff made it a point to procude the most quality soft toys possible so it started developing new techniques.
Today stuffies are made out of all kinds of materials. Some even mimic real fur. Stuffing also includes foam, cotton, plastic pellets, synthetic fibers and so on. Others had wire frames in their boddies, allowing them to stand freely or to move their paws.
Slowly companies started making all kinds of stuffed toys. From ones resembling real animals, to imaginary animals, to popular fictional characters and so on.
In the 1990s stuffed toys with electronics became popular. They can sing, dance, talk, react to certain actions.
And there you have it. Steiff invented stuffed toys and gave them the inital push. Now there are countless of stuffies around the world are waiting to have some fun.