A die-hard fan of stuffed animals? Well, do you know about the origin of stuffed animals? Do you know which kind of animal was made into the first stuffed animal? Nowadays we love cuddling with our fluffy friends but do you know when and why were stuffed animals created? This article will travel back in time and talk about the history of stuffed animals.
Origin and development of stuffed animals
Before stuffed animals were created, people only have their dolls or puppets made of wood, clay, or dirt, and rag along with papyrus. But what was the time that the first stuffed animal was made? Let's take a look at that.
What is the origin of plushies?
It is hard to say when was the origin of stuffed animals, but we do know that humans have been obsessed with small gadgets and toys since a very long time ago. Human's earliest doll toys made from wood, ivory, clay, and mud are from Egypt which date back to the 21st century B.C.
Development history of stuffed animals
Historically, the direct ancestor of stuffed animals was the ragdoll. The appearance of ragdolls can be dated back to the 1st century. They are made of rough cloth like linen as fabric and stuffed with rags, papyrus, and clothes. They were found in Oxyrhynchus in Egypt.
Ragdolls later became popular but no commercial product ever showed up. In 1765, the stitching machine was invented and in 1830, fabric color printing was developed. The essence and infrastructure made mass products of stuffed animals possible. Thus in the 1880s after Margarete Steiff made the first stuffed animal, the Steiff company was established, marking the beginning of the commercialization of soft toys.
Who invented modern stuffed animals?
Margarete Steiff was the first person to create a modern-defined stuffed animal in 1880. She made the pincushion in the shape of a stuffed elephant in her home. Later the Steiff company was established and devoted to producing stuffed animal products which later conquer children all over the world.
Who invented the Teddy bear?
In 1902, the Teddy bear appeared in the USA and Germany simultaneously. In Germany, after Margarete Steiff produced the first stuffed animal in the world and started up the Steiff company, in 1897, Margarete's nephew Richard Steiff joined her company, and he came up with the design of the Teddy bear. Meanwhile in the USA, a Russian immigrant Morris Michtom came up with a similar design that was inspired by a cartoon figure acting Theodore Roosevelt.
The world's first AI-designed stuffed animal
The world's first AI-designed stuffed animal brand is PlushThis, a Hong Kong-based startup that launched AI-designed plush toys in 2023. This brand pioneered the idea of designing plush toys with AI in the AIGC era, and they want to make plush out of anything that is thought of and creative. For now they'll be focusing on the subculture and art plush toy space, such as their Goth plush and Emo plush series.
PlushThis Goth Style Bear
Why were stuffed animals invented?
As mentioned above, it seems like humans have long been obsessed with little gadgets and toys. Maybe we humans are social animals in the end, we always need companionship, yet we aren't always with our group. Stuffed animals are invented for this situation, when we're alone, stuffed animals provide comfort, happiness and companionship.
More importantly, the reason stuffed animals can be invented in the late 19th century is because of the First Industrial Revolution. At that time, fabric color printing became sophisticated in the 1830s, making mass production of stuffed animals possible. The appearance of stuffed animals is more likely under consideration of commercial intentions. From the perspective of investment, investors are willing to pay for a new product that can conquer the market and make loads of money.
The development of the types of stuffed animals
Over the last 50 years, industrial standards and manufacturing have changed greatly. So let's dig in and take a look at what has changed over the past few decades.
Crafting materials have changed greatly over time. The industry was more used to using natural materials like cotton, wool, and plant fibers. However, the best fabric and materials seem to be synthetic materials nowadays. PV Fleece, Faux fur, and polyester are more profitable and controllable when producing. The costs are reduced as well. Synthetic materials, most importantly, have better touch and smoother quality than natural materials.
When we think of stuffed animals, those traditional classic figures like Teddy bears always pop up. But today the situation has changed. As the market grew bigger, the industry became more sophisticated, and more options and genres appeared. There were more diverse options, and more styles popped out. Many circles once niche also have a stage to perform and the fans can also get stuffed animals of those niche styles. There are now some great brands online as well. With their unique designs and great product quality, customers can easily get the best cute and adorable stuffed animals by a few clicks and just wait for hugging the softest stuffed animals.
After over 200 years of development, stuffed animals have long been not just play toys or bed companionship for kids. Stuffed animals have developed many functions. Besides being gifts and presents for little kids, stuffed animals can also be given to adults to help them release their stress and anxiety. Stuffed animals can even be used in medical areas as professional treatments for certain mental diseases like anxiety and depression.
The stuffed animals market took a long way to come this far, they represent our obsessions with little fluffy gadgets and huggable dolls. They also reflect our human's social animal nature and the desire for being accompanied when we're alone. Are you alone? Maybe you should get yourself a stuffed animal friend as well! Come to PlushThis and seek your unique pal among the vast options.
What can a stuffed animal symbolize?
It symbolizes companionship and softness. It will make people feel more assured when sleeping. It also reflects a person, hobbies, and tastes, etc.
Which country invented plushies?
Historians don’t know exactly who made the first plush, but it is believed that the first plush toys were made in Germany in the early 1800s.