The Steiff Toy Company first mass-produced stuffed animals in the 1880s. Originally hand-stitched with plush mohair fur, they were expensive luxury items due to the cost of production. Today cheap synthetic materials and low overseas production costs make stuffed animals an inexpensive and thus common possession for children and adults.
Despite being inanimate objects people ascribe human characterizes onto stuffed animals. They are given names, personalities and emotions. Tigger (Winnie the Pooh) and Hobbes (Calvin and Hobbes) are two popular examples of such personification. Through these human characteristics stuffed animals become sources of emotional expression and comfort for their owners.
People of varying ages identify strongly with the stories in The Velveteen Rabbit and Toy Story because stuffed animals play important roles throughout our lives. They are sources of comfort and entertainment as children, remind us of home when in college and prompt familiar and pleasant memories as adults.
About Stuffed Tigers:
From Tigger in Winnie the Pooh to Calvin’s philosophical pal Hobbes in Bill Watterson’s famous comic strip, stuffed tigers are familiar figures in American culture. Building on this familiarity and popularity, the World Wildlife Fund sells plush tigers to promote education and activism regarding the dangers of poaching endangered wildlife.
In addition to being toys, stuffed animals function as promotional and collector’s items and expressions of trauma and support. The Ty Beanie Baby Company produces animals in honor of Princess Diana, for the World Cup, to promote cancer research and Teenie Beanies, a collectible set found in McDonald’s Happy Meals
Happy decision making!
Andrew Christie (January 1987). "An Interview With Bill Watterson : The creator of Calvin and Hobbes on cartooning, syndicates, Garfield, Charles Schulz, and editors". Honk magazine.
Deborah Jaffe, The History of Toys: From Spinning Tops to Robots, Thrupp, UK: Sutton Publishing Limited, 2006.
Official Steiff Website
Complete List of Beanie Babies. http://www.aboutbeanies.com/beaniebabies.html
A.A Milne, The Winnie the Pooh
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes
Hampshire Museum Services, http://www3.hants.gov.uk/museum/childhood-collections/toys/dolls-soft-toys.htm
The Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood, http://www.vam.ac.uk/moc/
World Wildlife Fund, http://www.worldwildlife.org/ogc/species_SKU.cfm?cqs=CTTG