June 06 2014

Happy Birthday Cake Stuffed Toy by Mary Meyer

by Walter Meyer

Mary Meyer created a family of stuffed toys called “Food For Thought”.  The “Hamburger” and “Can of Sardines” stuffed toys were some early successes in the group. One of my favorites was the “Birthday Cake”.  The cake was made of 4 pieces of fabric toy cake held together with Velcro.  Each piece was unique in that it created a sound when squeezed.

49401 Birthday Cake 500 2H     The first piece had a sound chip in it that played “Happy Birthday to You” when squeezed.  The other made a rattle, a squeak or a crinkle sound when squeezed.  Each piece had a fabric candle and a fabric flame as part of it.

 

The Birthday Cake was introduced in 2004 and sold for $19.00 in a retail store.  The toy cake sold for 2 to 3 years as part of the Mary Meyer assortment. It was 6 inches high and quite popular.  Mary Meyer made a few thousand of the Happy Birthday Cake.  Today they are hiding in attics, closets and toy chests throughout the USA.

 

Mary Meyer is located in Townshend, Vermont and designs, manufactures and distributes it’s stuffed toys to approximately 10,000 retail stores.  The company was founded in 1933 by Mary Meyer and her husband.  This is our 81st year in business and still owned and managed by the Meyer family. 

49401 Birthday Cake Pieces 500 H

 

 Do you have any Mary Meyer stuffed toys in your attic?  We  has been searching for old toys we made in the 1930s through the 1960s.  If you happen to have an “old Mary Meyer toy”, we love to hear from you and we will tell you what we know about it – such as when and where it was made.


My email is  walter_meyer@marymeyer.com.

by Walter Meyer

 

 


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May 20 2014

Mary Meyer “Food for Thought” Hamburger Stuffed Toy

by Walter Meyer

     One of Mary Meyer’s most successful stuffed toy designs was our Food for Thought  “Hamburger”, which was created in the late 1990s.  The Hamburger was introduced in 1997 and sold quite successfully through 2005.16626a

     The Mary Meyer Hamburger was made up of  the 2 halves of the hamburger roll with the Brown burger as part of the bun.  To the bun was attached a slice of Red fabric tomato, Green lettuce and Yellow cheese made of shiny plastic fabric.  The cheese, lettuce and tomato were attached to the bun with Velcro and a large button.  This allowed a youngster to have fun assembling and taking the hamburger apart as they played with it.  The stuffing in the Lettuce and cheese make a crinkling sound as they were squeezed by the child.

     Finally when the tomato, lettuce and cheese is assembled and attached to the roll, the roll can be closed to hold the contents inside.  There are seeds embroidered on the top of the hamburger roll. 

    The Hamburger is approximately 5″ across and almost 6″ high.  In the late 1990s it sold for $10.00 in a retail store. Mary Meyer made between 5,000 and 10,000 pieces.  Today they are hiding in closets, attics and toy boxes through out he USA.

Mary Meyer is located in Townshend, Vermont and designs, manufactures and distributes it’s stuffed toys to approximately 10,000 retail stores.  The company was founded in 1933 by Mary Meyer and her husband.  This is our 81st year in business and  we are still owned and operated by the Meyer family. 

 Next weeks Mary Meyer “Food for Thought” will be the Musical Birthday Cake. 16626b

 

     Do you have any Mary Meyer stuffed toys in your attic?  We  has been searching for old toys we made in the 1930s through the 1960s.  If you happen to have an “old Mary Meyer toy”, we love to hear from you and we will tell you what we know about it – such as when and where it was made. 
My email is  walter_meyer@marymeyer.com. 

by Walter Meyer

 

 

 

 

 

 


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May 15 2014

Mary Meyer “Food for Thought” Toy Designs

by Walter Meyer

The Mary Meyer Stuffed Toy company has been making stuffed toy animals for the past 81 years.16631 Sardine Can 250 A

     I am Walter Meyer and our family has been designing and making stuffed toys since 1933. In the late 1950s I took over designing our toys from my Mother – Mary Meyer.  In about 1985 my son Steven Meyer took over the designing from me.

     I asked him a few days ago what are some of his favorite toy designs that he had done. He said the “Food for Thought” group had some really great concepts and he mentioned a few of them.  I gather up samples of the toys he mentioned and had them photographed  for a blog post.

     Steve said one of his favorite toys  was Food for Thought Sandiness, which is a Silver Grey fabric sardine can with a plastic zipper.  The zipper can be wound to open the can. When opened it reveals 4 removable  fabric stuffed toy sardines with embroidered eyes and mouth.

     The “Sardines in a Can” was manufactured starting in 1998 through 2003 and distributed to retail stores mostly in the USA.  The Sardine Can was approximately 6½” long and retailed for $14.98 .  I estimate we made between 5,00 and 10,000 pieces.  16631 Sardine CanB 250 BToday they are hiding in closets, attics and toy boxes though out the USA.

     Mary Meyer is in Townshend, Vermont and designs, manufactures and distributes it’s stuffed toys to approximately 10,000 retail stores.  The company was founded in 1933 by Mary Meyer and her husband, and is still owed and operated by the Meyer family.

     Next week’s Mary Meyer Food for Thought- The Hamburger.

by Walter Meyer

 

 

 


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April 21 2014

Mary Meyer’s Polar Bear – Igloo Reversible Stuffed Toy

by Walter Meyer

For Mary Meyer’s Christmas line in 1994 our
designer, Steven Meyer, Mary Meyer’s grandson,

Polar_Igloo
Polar Bear-Igloo Reverible

created Frigi-Bear, which was a polar bear that could be turned inside-out and became an Igloo.

The Frigi-Bear was made of White plush-toy fabric and was 8” high with Black eyes and nose.  There is an opening in the back of the bear through which you can turn the toy wrong-side-out.  When turned, it becomes an igloo.


In a retail store Frigi-Bear sold for $15.98


Mary Meyer made a few different reversible toy designs, this one being the most creative.

The Polar Bear/Igloo was manufactured during the early to mid1990s. 

Only a few thousand were made so it is not a common, everyday design.  This Polar Bear/Igloo may be in some attics or toy boxes, but the toy is a rarity.


by Walter Meyer
Mary Meyer’s son

 

 

 


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April 21 2014

Mary Meyer Musical Elephant with Moving Trunk

by Walter Meyer

 

In the mid 1960s  Mary Meyer created a Standing Musical Elephant with moving trunk. 
It was
11 inches high, Elephant Stuffed Toymade of Grey plush with White ears, Black/White felt eyes, a Red neck-ribbon and Pink “I’m A Musical”  ribbon tag.
The musical mechanism was made in Switzerland and was wound up with a key.  As the music played the
trunk turned. The moving trunk was a very novel attraction and made the Elephant a top selling toy.

The Musical Elephant retailed for $4.98.  
This Elephant was designed in the early 1960s and was one of Mary Meyer’s best sellers through the 1960s and into the late 1970s. 
We made many thousands of this Musical Elephant.  I am sure there are many of them in attics and toy boxes today.

Today Mary Meyer is still actively creating New designs and offering a whole zoo of stuffed toys for babies, youngsters and oldsters alike.
Mary Meyer is located in Townshend, Vermont and is still owned and managed by the Meyer family.

by Walter Meyer
Mary Meyer’s son

 


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April 11 2014

Maui Press-On Cow Sticks to Car Windows

by Walter Meyer

     Maui Cow Press-On was introduced by Mary Meyer for Christmas 1988 – 26 years ago -  and was sold through the mid 1990s.  Mary Meyer is a stuffed  animal designer, manufacturer and distributor established in 1933 and today located in Vermont and run by Mary Meyer’s family.

Cow Stuffed Toy Cow

     Maui Cow was 5” high with a plastic suction cup on all four feet.  The suction cups were  used to hold the toy Cow onto car windows. The cartoon character cat –  “Garfield” with suction cups was also very popular at that time.

     Maui Cow was Black and White plush, with Tan horns, Hawaiian print shorts and wore plastic sun-glasses.
     During the late 1980s and 1990s many cars could be seen with these press-on cows and other stuffed animals attached to their windows. 

     In 1988 the Maui Cows sold for $4.99 in retail stores. Also in this series with the Press-On Cow was a Press-On Moose, which also retailed for $4.99.

     This design concept of stuffed animals stuck on car windows is no longer a popular fad. Today  animals stuck on car windows are few and far between.

     The purpose of this story is to remind us of the great stuffed toy designs created by Mary Meyer designers during the past 50 to 60 years.  Stuffed toy designers have created millions of different toys.

     I have been here at Mary Meyer watching all the new designs since 1955.  We stuffed animal designers are artist who create “New Ideas”, which we then manufacture in quantity.  These designs then end up in people’s homes and today can be found in attics, closets and toy boxes all over the USA. 

     How many stuffed animals do you think are here in this country?  I think there are Millions of “much-loved” stuffed toys and we keep adding to their population every year.

by Walter Meyer
Mary Meyer’s son

 

 

 


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April 01 2014

by Walter Meyer

Best Mary Meyer Stuffed Animal Designs  – 1930s to Today

     I’m writing to tell about great designs created during the past 50 or more years. My hope is these toy design will not be forgotten and they can see the light of day again.
62530 Shearson A       Shearson Sheep is my favorite Mary Meyer toy and was introduced in 1995.  Shearson is 9″ high stuffed sheep with removable sheep-skin suit.  With a zipper in front,  When the zipper is unzipped, the suite may be removed. This toy was a very popular seller during the mid 1990s and into the 2000s and was one of Mary Meyer’s most creative designs.  At the time Shearson was introduced it sold for $15.99 in a retail store.
      Kids loved to play with Shearson, dressing and undressing him.  Where are these toys today?  Most are in attics or toy boxes in a closet, How many are there out there?  Many thousands of Shearson still exist. Very few have been thrown out. Some were lost but most are alive and well and waiting for someone to bring them down from their resting place in the attic.
     The purpose of this story is to remind us of the great Mary Meyer toy designs created during the past 50 to 60 years. Mary Meyer started her toy company in 1933 and created the original designs her company made.  I took over designing in the late 1950s and my son Steven Meyer took over in the late 1980s until today. I’ve seen 75 years of Mary Meyer toy designs done by my Mother, myself and by my son Steven.
     I am also very familiar with toys made by my competitors – Dakin, Russ Berry, Pussy Cat Toy, La Mar, Eden, Knickerbocker, Gund, Rushton, Kamar, Truddy, California Stuffed Toy, etc. many of whom are no longer in existence.
     Each year new stuffed toys are created. New fads take the place of last year’s fad.  What ever happened to the great toys our children and grandchildren had 20,  30, 40 years ago? 
     I am going to try and resurrect some of the favorites of years ago, so Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Grandpas can relive some of the great toys we played with years ago.
     Let’s see what we can find.  I just happen to have a closet full of old great stuffed animals made by Mary Meyer, that Mother, Steven and I created for Mary Meyer over the years.
by Walter Meyer
Mary Meyer’s son
Company historian


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January 06 2014

Mary Meyer Washable Stuffed Toy Scotty 1946

by Walter Meyer

MM Vin 601 Scotty 1946 Oil Cloth ToyMary Meyer started making stuffed toys in the 1933. My Mother was Mary Meyer and I have a collection of toys she made starting in the 1930s right up to today –  2014.
As a kid I watched the “ladies” who made the toys doing all of the different toy making operations.
Stuffing toys in the 1930s and 40s were hand made. 
Mary Meyer moved to Vermont in the mid 1940s from just outside New York City in New Jersey.
Up until this point stuffed toys were stuffed by hand mostly with cotton fiber. This was garneted cotton, which came in 2 colors – Dark Blue and Pink. Garneted cotton was made from clean rags which were run through a garneting machine, which took the cotton cloth fabric and tore it apart and returned it to it’s original condition as fluffy cotton batting. The dark blue was made from dark color fabric like denim and the lighter Pink was made from light colored and White cloth.
Mary Meyer used the lighter colored cotton, because the dark blue cotton showed through the fabric of the toys.
The garneted cotton was delivered in 500+ pound compressed bales, which were really difficult to maneuver around.

The cotton bales was put in a corner near the stuffing department and large armfuls of cotton were put in the stuffing department. The stuffers sat around a box of stuffing cotton and stuffed. They each have a empty stuffed toy.
When making a stuffed toy the parts are cut from a piece of fabric and sewn wrong-side-out, then turned right-side-out so the seam would not show. Then the toy is stuffed.
The empty right-side-out toy is called a skin or a shell and in the 1930s and 1940s was stuffed by hand with cotton batting. In a production facility women grabbed a large piece of cotton batting and pushed it into the toy skin with a wooden poker about 12″ long. First they stuffed the head, filling out the top of the head, the nose and then the rest of the head. Then they stuffed the arms and legs and finally the body. The opening in the stuffed toy was usually in the back or bottom of the toy, where the closed opening was difficult to see.
In the 1930s and 1940s a stuffed toy that was washable probably was made of “oil cloth”. If you can’t remember oil cloth, it’s the fabric that was on your grandmother’s kitchen table. It was a cotton fabric with a washable coating on it. Toys made from oil cloth would be washed off and cleaned after a youngster dirtied them.
Oil cloth had it’s good points and bad. It can be cleaned after becoming dirty.
The oil cloth protects the inner stuffing from getting soaking wet and not drying out. Oil cloth is difficult to work with, because it’s stiff and not very flexible. If you sew an oil cloth toy wrong-side-out and want to turn it right-side-out, the stiff fabric makes it difficult to do. It can be done, but it’s not easy.
Once you stuff the toy and want to close the opening through which it was stuffed, the stiff fabric is difficult to sew closed and may tear.
Washable fabric was difficult to find in those days, so you had to put up with oil cloth and try and make it work. After World War2 plastic fabrics came into use.
In 1945 Mary Meyer made a line of washable stuffed toys using oil cloth.
Here is #601 – Scotty – about 7″ long and 5″ high made of Red and White checked oil cloth, stuffed with garneted cotton. The eyes, nose and mouth were felt parts sewn on with Black yarn plus a Red satin neck ribbon. Mary Meyer’s line of oil cloth toys included an Elephant, a Terrier, a Horse, a Lamb and a Giraffe. They were made of oil cloth and stuffed with cotton with similar felt facial features and sold in a retail store for $1.00 or slightly less through out the USA
by Walter Meyer
Mary Meyer’s son

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August 23 2013

Do You Have a 70+ Year Old Pincushion Doll in Your Attic?

by Walter Meyer
Pincushions Doll

Pincushion Doll

A friend just showed me a Mary Meyer pincushion she has thats over 70 years old. 
     My Mother was Mary Meyer and she started a company that manufactured pincushions dolls in the 1930s and today is still manufacturing stuffed toys and dolls  -  70+ years later. 

     During the late1930s Mary Meyer made animal pincushions and dolls. Women who sewed used them to store their pins and needles in.  In the 1930s women sewed most of their own dresses.  For generations women kept their needles in Tomato pincushiosn.  Mary Meyer (my Mother) changed the design from the Tomato pincushion to stuffed dolls and stuffed Scotties and other small animals.

     The pincushion doll I have today was made in the late 1930s.  It’s made of colorful cotton fabric and stuffed with garnetted cotton, deorated with 5 brass safety pins and a Blue satin ribbon.  My Dad – Hans Meyer- was the sales organization that travelled the eastern USA and called on department stores and 5 & 10¢ chain stores.  Woolwworth, WT Grant and the other chains would order 1, 2 or 3 dozen assorted of Mom and Dad’s pincushions for 40 or 50 stores. 

     Dad loved to visit Marshall Field in Chicago and the Hecht Co or Woodward & Lothrop in Washington, DC or Jordan Marsh in Boston. These stores bought his pincushions for their Notion or Women’s Sewing departments.

     The Blue check pincushion doll I just found was made in the late 1930s.  The body is made of cotton percale fabric and stuffed with cotton.  The silk-screened face we purchased from Crescent Hill Novelty Co. in New York City.  Also part of the doll were 5 brass safety pins and a satin neck ribbon.

     On the top of the dolls head is a cloth loop that is used to hang the doll.  Some of the dolls had a White apron and some did not.  Why? I have no idea.  I was about 9 years old at the time and pincushions were the least of my interests.  But being part of a business family exposed me to discussions between Mom and Dad – the maker and designer and her major salesman – at the dinner table.  I helped out in the factory.  I remember seeing and hearing about pincushions and the business.  I absorbed facts even though I was not interested in them.

     Today I am looking for for Doll Pincushions.  After 70+ years I have found 7 pincushion dolls Mary Meyer made.   How many did they manufacture over about a 5 to 8 year period in the very late 1930s?  I guess probably about 5,000 pieces.

      The first one my daughter found in Larned, Kansas about 5 yearsd ago.  She bought it on the web.  Since then we have  found 6 more.  The first two dolls had a “Mary Meyer – Hand Made Pincushion” Blue and Gold paper hang-tag on them.  The last  4 have no tags, but are identical to the ones with the tags.

     My goal today is to look for more Pincushion dolls and to see if I can dig out any history of the doll.  Mary Made in the area of 5,000 Dolls and we have 7 of them  There are 4,993 more dolls out there waiting to be found. 

     Did your mother’s or grandmother have a pincushion my mother might have made?  Where  and when did she buy it? Can you tell me anything about it?  Chances are I am not going to find out much history, but I have to try.  Antique shops and websites may have the dolls I am looking for.  Some will be in great shape.  Others will be in awful condidion, but I have to look for them.  I’m 82 years old.  I may not be here too many more years and whaat I remember will be lost when I’m gone.

     Do you happen to have a Pincushion Doll in your attic?  Do you have a Scotty or a Lamb pincushion that was passed down to you? We have found them in Kansas, Florida and in New England.

      If you do, please tell me about it.  You can email me.  I would love to hear about it and  anything you can tell me of it’s history.

by Walter Meyer
Mary Meyer Stuffed Toys
Townshend, Vermont
walter_meyer@marymeyer.com

 


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August 21 2013

Pretty Girl Bunny Is Over 40 Years Old

by Walter Meyer

A friend of mine in Oklahoma found a Mary Meyer Pretty Girl Bunny we made in 1971.  She send me a photo of this 10″ high White plush bunny we made over 40 years ago.  This was one of my favorite bunny rabbit designs. Mary Meyer probably manufactured about 5,000 of these bunnies.   It was a White plush bunny with Pink plush ears, a Pink check gingham skirt, and a Pink felt hat with Pink flowers cemented onto the hat.  The final decoration was a Pink satin neck ribbon.  The Pink and White colors matched beautifully.

Pink Pretty Bunny

Pretty Bunny

The facial decorations – felt eyes, nose and tongue – were cemented on.   This cute Pink and White Bunny was a very popular bunny design.  It sold for many years during the Easter season at toy and department stores, hospital gift shops and card shops.

This cute Girl Bunny retailed for $3.98 each and today is hiding in many attics, closets and basements through out the USA.  During the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s Easter was a very popular season for giving stuffed bunny rabbits to youngsters.  Mary Meyer and other American stuffed toy manufacturers created an assortment of different Easter design including chicks, ducks, plus many sizes, shapes and decoraated bunnies.  Mary Meyer’s 1971 Easter wholesale catalog showed 44 different Easter designs.

The Pretty Girl Bunny shown above also had a companion “Pretty Boy Bunny”.  It was quite similar to the girl, except he had a Blue felt vest in place of the Pink check skirt, and a blue hat with Blue satin neck ribbon.  The Girl and Boy Bunnies were made to compliment each other and were quite attractive as a pair.  They were quite popular as an Easter decoration in many homes.  Mary Meyer also made other Dress Girl and Boy couples in larger sizes.

Mary Meyer was established in New York City in 1933 and moved to Vermont in the mid 1940s.  Today it is still owed and operated by the third generation of the Meyer family in Townshend, Vermont.

If you have a Mary Meyer stuffed toy and are interested in knowing it’s history, you can visit marymeyervintage.com and contact us with your questions.  We are always happy to help owners of our toys find out  about their toy’s history.

by Walter Meyer
Townshend, VT 05353
walter_meyer@marymeyer.com
Photo by Linda Laughlin

 

 


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