Whimsey:Jesse Jamison with Rocking Horse (15)


The Strong National Museum of Play

The Strong National Museum of Play

The sock monkey, a traditional soft, stuffed animal made of a Nelson-manufactured work sock, became popular first in the years of the Great Depression when many families could not afford to purchase store-bought toys. Since 1890, the Nelson Knitting Company of Rockford, IL, had been manufacturing thick-yarn work socks for farmers and factory workers, and when it devised a means of making the heel of the sock without adding uncomfortable seams, its production process was much copied by other sock manufacturers. To distinguish its socks from other, generically named Rockford socks with seamless heels, in 1932 the Nelson company began making its heels with red yarn and marketed the feature as the "De-Tec-Tip " to assure its customers that they were purchasing authentic Rockford socks. Resourceful mothers made sock monkeys from worn out Rockford socks, and used the red yarn of the heel to make the sock monkey's distinctive lips. By the 1950s, the Nelson Knitting Company included instructions for making sock monkeys in each package of socks it sold. The sock monkey has endured as a favorite child companion for nearly eight decades, and it has inspired many artists and homecraft artisans to create their own variations of this iconic toy. Such is the case with these sock monkey vignettes. The Californian artist, Zo퀌� Architect, rescues found sock monkeys and "rehabilitates" them. Once she's cleaned and repaired them, she creates these lifelike and playful groupings.

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  • Title: Whimsey:Jesse Jamison with Rocking Horse (15)
  • Date Created: 1988-1992
  • Location: Rancho Mirage, CA
  • Subject Keywords: sock monkey, sock, rocking horse, criminal, Jesse James
  • Type: Hobbies and Crafts, Teddy Bears and Stuffed Animals
  • Medium: fabric, wood, plastic
  • Object ID: 109.16483
  • Credit Line: Gift of Zo퀌� Architect
  • Artist: Zo퀌� Architect