A sock monkey is a toy made from socks fashioned in the likeness of a monkey. These stuffed animals are a mixture of folk art and kitsch in the culture of the United States and the culture of Canada. The sock monkey's most direct predecessors originated in the Victorian era, when the craze for imitation stuffed animals swept from Europe into North America and met the burgeoning Arts and Crafts Movement. Craft makers began sewing stuffed animals as toys to comfort children, and, as tales of the Scramble for Africa increased the public's familiarity with exotic species, monkey toys soon became a fixture of American nurseries. However, these early stuffed monkeys were not necessarily made from socks, and also lacked the characteristic red lips of the sock monkeys popular today. John Nelson, a Swedish immigrant to the United States, patented the sock-knitting machine in 1869, and began manufacturing work socks in Rockford, Illinois in 1890.
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