A stuffed animal is a toy animal sewn from cloth, plush, or other
textiles, and stuffed with straw, beans, plastic pellets, cotton,
synthetic fibers, or other similar materials. Stuffed animals are
also known as plush toys (U.S. English) from plush, the outer
material used, and soft toys or cuddly toys (British English). They
are made in many different forms, some resembling real animals,
some in a caricature with emphasis on different features, some in
the form of Legendary creatures or Cartoon characters.
Some stuffed animals are very old home made cloth dolls stuffed
with straw go back to at least the 1830s, perhaps much older. The
most well known type of stuffed toy is likely the teddy bear. They
are often used as comfort objects.
Stuffed animals in the past were used for random stuffing of the
evacuated skins of hunted animals. The phrase is still sometimes
used to refer to examples of taxidermy. However, with modern
technology it is now possible to produce them with synthetic
materials. For this reason, plush toy or plushie (U.S. English) or
soft toy (British English) may be more appropriate names for modern
synthetic stuffed animals.
The first commercial concern to create stuffed toys is apparently
the Steiff company, founded in 1880 in Giengen an der Brenz,
Among the most popular types of classic stuffed animals are teddy
bears and sock monkeys.
Stuffed animals are bought for a variety of reasons. Some are
bought for display in home or a work place. They can also be given
as gifts, such as for graduation, Valentine's Day, birthdays, any
kind of special day, or just as an expression of thought.