Sock Monkey

sock monkey

Today we received a surprise present in the mail from my Uncle Jim and Aunt Margaret: this Rockford sock monkey for our upcoming baby boy.

Sock monkeys originate in my mother’s hometown of Rockford, Illinois, where one John Nelson invented a sock-knitting machine in the 1880s. The distinctive red heel that makes the monkey’s mouth appeared as part of a trademarked line of socks in the 1930s, and at some point in the 1950s the Nelson Knitting Company included monkey-making instructions with each pair. Rockford even has a traveling seven-foot-tall sock monkey representative.

My sock monkey and me a few years ago


  1. This has got to be one of the silliest heritages of my beloved city! ;)

  2. That picture brings back a lot of good memories of our early vacations at the cottage.

  3. Lovely. Truly! I want one (though I tend to be ambitious–okay, maybe what i mean is ‘greedy, and probably wouldn’t be content with anything less than the “seven-foot-tall sock monkey representative” himself. Anyway, I see you used to be blond. I am, occasionally, but that’s beside the point. I also see you are advertising for Christian Universalists and Dating services in your what-do-call-it, google ad bar. Faaaaaaan-tastic :) But I really do like the monkeys.

  4. Jen, I still have blond hair. Next time you’re around I’ll bow my head so you can see both of them.

  5. Thank you for posting that adorable picture. I remember you like that. Perhaps more importantly, thanks for showing the sock monkey. I guess growing up in Indianapolis was close enough for the monkeys to be a part of my growing up. Someone recently thought I had lost my mind when I mentioned such a toy. Leaving my mind out of it, I admired my girlfriend’s monkey very much and am glad your little one will have his own.

  6. Are you for real, Austin? Your red-chinned-edness threw me off. (Is that a word? I need a vacation—oh wait, I’m about to go on one, YESSSSS!)

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