14 June 2015

I Found 65 Year Old Toy Lamb My Mother Made

My Mother made stuffed toy animals for over 50 years.  Her name is Mary Meyer and she and Dad started a stuffed toy manufacturing company in 1933. It’s still going today, managed by her four grandsons.


In the beginning she made animal pin cushions. These were stuffed animals that women stored their pins and needles in during the 1930s and 1940s. She used the same patterns and covered the animals in oil cloth, which was washable. This made a toy that could be washed after a child got it dirty.


In 1949 Mother was contacted by Plakie Toys of Youngtown, Ohio, who made plastic keys and rattles for babies.  They wanted us to make stuffed toys for Plakie to sell along with their plastic rattles to their customers.


I was 18 years old at the time and accompanied Mother to Youngstown by train to show Plakie Toys the samples she made for them.  They liked the samples, placed orders and we were off and running.  Mary Meyer manufactured stuffed plush toys for Plakie Toys under the Plakie label during 1949 and early 1950s.


Two years later Mary Meyer came out with a different assortment of stuffed toys offered under the Mary Meyer label.  Mary Meyer’s assortment or line of stuffed toys grew each year.  An Easter assortment was added, along with Valentine toys and toys designed for Christmas. Before we knew it we were offering over 100 designs.  In the mid 1980s Mary Meyer started manufacturing in the Orient – first Korea then China.


How do I know all of this stuff? I’m Walter Meyer.  Mary Meyer was my Mother.  She passed on in 1999 and saw many of the changes here.  I wish I had asked her more about how she designed stuffed animals and about working with companies like Plakie Toys.


The reason I am interested in Plakie Toys is, last month I found 2 Lambs made by my Mother 65 years ago with Plakie sewn in labels. One came from Indiana and the other Pennsylvania.  They are exactly the same Lambs as Mary Meyer made for her line of toys.


When you grow up in a family business each of these designs is like a member of the family.  You take one look at it and you know it’s yours.   #118 Lamb was White plush with felt eyes and nose with Red satin ribbon. It was a toy that sold for $1.69 in a toy store in the 1950s. We made it through the 1950s and 1960s.  I helped make thousands of them here at Mary Meyer in Townshend, Vermont


Do you have a White Lamb like this?  It might have a Plakie label or a Mary Meyer label sewn into the seam in it’s butt in your attic.


That White Lamb that sold for $1.69 in 1950, I paid $40 for on the internet.  I am very happy to have it, because my Mother and our company made it 65 years ago.

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