The evolution of stuffed animals from rough toys to realistic cuddly friends

The evolution of stuffed animals from rough toys to realistic cuddly friendsOver the decades the stuffed animals have evolved quite a lot. At first they were a bit crude and rough looking. Now they are soft, cuddly and realistic.

In fact, toy companies put quite a lot of effort in improving their stuffed animals. It’s not about simply getting the fabrics and sewing them together to form an animal.

Actually, it’s more close to science. Manufacturers spend a great deal of time and money into research.

A new report by Slate sheds some light on the topic. Some of the first stuffed animals were made from mohair, wool and other natural fabrics. They gave a nice feeling, but the exteriors were rough. Plus, it was expensive.

In the 70s and 80s of the 20th century, toy companies had moved to acrylic fabrics. They were smoother, but still rough. In the late 80s and 90s Japanese textile companies created and used polyester fabrics. Naturally, they made their way to stuffed animals, too. These fabrics allow for even more colors, shapes, sizes and so on.

Softer stuffed animals, more impact

Today’s stuffed animals have another major difference from the earlier ones, the report says. New plushies have quite a lot less stuffing. It’s softer, too. We also have a few older stuffed animals. They are filled with thick wool or cotton waddings. They are quite dense, some even have joints.

The new stuffed animals are much, much softer. Some are realistic, others are like cartoons. Naturally not everyone like it. There are people who prefer denser stuffed animals as they feel they are more realistic. Others like the new soft and cuddly plushies.

The good news is that the stuffed animals market is still booming and there’s a little something for just about everybody. According to the analyst firm NPD Group, the stuffed animals market grew by 9.6% for 2016. It outperformed the overall toy market which nets a 5.7% increase.

Stuffed animals aren’t going anywhere despite the huge popularity of technology and tech toys. “A big trend in the toy industry is that parents want their children to have more physical interaction with toys,” said Richard Gottlieb, chief executive of Global Toy Experts and publisher of Global Toy News. “Millennial parents, in particular, are pushing back against screens and rebelling against digital play. Also, there’s a desire for softness in more frightening times.”