The Home of the Sock Monkey

Throckmorton S. Monkey, one of the main characters in The Secrets of Eastcliff-by-the-Sea, is a red-heeled sock monkey. Do you know the history behind these easily-recognizable stuffed animals?

Sock Monkeys

Did you know that Rockford, Illinois calls itself the Home of the Sock Monkey? That’s because John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant to America, patented a sock-knitting machine in 1868, in Rockford, Illinois. His son Franklin later created a machine that would knit a sock without any seams (because walking on seams can be uncomfortable). In 1932, the company knit its first red-heeled sock which came to be called “Rockfords.” Between 1951 and 1953, a number of people had the idea to create a doll out of the socks, a monkey. The Nelson Knitting Company bought their doll patterns and patented the official pattern, thereby becoming known through the annals of history for their sock monkey distinction.

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