Mary Meyer Vintage

Monthly Archives: July 2013

Looking for Special stuffed toy is like looking for a friend. you haven’t seen in years  – I know exactly what he looks like, but it’s been years since I have seen one.

I spent the first 25+ years of my working life as a stuffed toy designer for Mary Meyer – our family stuffed toy business here in Vermont.  As a kid I swept floors and chopped out Red felt tongues for thousands of stuffed dogs, cats, elephant, etc.

In 1955, after college and the US Army, I settled down to a life producing a few thousand stuffed animals each year.   I have often wondered where they all went.  Today with the social media I can look for them.  Each week I receive a few requests for the history of a favorite stuffed animal or someone trying to find out where their old teddy bear was made.  Each of these people have one or two favorite toys, but I have many favorites.

My Mother was Mary Meyer and she and Dad started Mary Meyer Mfg. Co. in 1933.  This is our 80th year in business.  In the late 1950s Mother passed the designing responsibility over to me.  It wasn’t an immediate change.  I just sort of slid into the job.  She was in her mid 50s and looking for a new challenWhite Shaggy Dogge.

Toy designing is a skill that involves many things –  some artistic ability, learning how to cut and sew fabrics, some knowledge regarding what might sell and which toys will not sell, toy safety factors and mixture of many different things.  An additional factor – I was the father of 6 youngsters which gave me a great group on which to test my designs.

But this story is about one of my favorite stuffed toys and I’m hoping we can find one of them.

In the early 1960s a fabric – new to me – was shaggy plush.  I had been using standard toy plush 3/8″ to 1/2″  high for over 10 years.   Shaggy plush was 2″ to 3″ long.  It was an acrylic knitted plush toy fabric.  I made a number of toys using this material and I used it as trim fabric on medium size toys.  My favorite design was a very large Dog.  He was about 46″ high and retailed for $25.00 in a toy store or a department store.  He had  a shaggy White head, legs and body and shaggy Black ears, muzzle and tail.  He had Black and White felt eyes, Red felt tongue and a White pompon nose. I believe 1963 or 1964 was the first year they were made and 1974 was the last year.

During that 10 year period how many did Mary Meyer make?

I know we sold 100 pieces to Jordan Marsh Co. in Boston.  Most of our customers were the toy stores, department stores, hospital gift shops and many tourist shops.  This was a very large and goreous stuffed dog.  It was a traffic stopper and kids loved him.  I guess we made well over 1,000 pieces during the 10 years he was in our line of stuffed toys.  Keep in mind this was a very expensive toy.  It sold for $25.00 and in those days that was a lot of money.  Unless you were trying to impress your girl-friend.

I sit here in southern Vermont today wondering, are there any of them still out there?  I haven’t seen one on Ebay or Craigs List.  People don’t throw away the toys that they loved as a kid.  There has to be some of them out there and Yes, they may be in terrible condition.

If anyone has seen or knows where one of these Giant White Shaggy Dogs is hiding, please drop me an email at walter_meyer@marymeyer.com .

I’m looking for some of my old “stuffed toy friends”.  As a toy maker I’m always looking for stuffed toys I made years ago.  They are like family.   This White ShaggyDog is 50 years old and waiting for someone to find him.

 by Walter Meyer

I wonder how many Old Humpty Dumpty stuffed toys are out there.

When I did the designing of Mary Meyer stuffed toys I had a wind-up musical version, a “Shake Me I Chime” version and a soft stuffed version.

MM Vin 299 Humpty Dumpty Border Right HWhy so many?  The first design was a soft, non-musical stuffed toy.  It was a popular design for girls and boys. They were made combining Pink plush and Blue felt. This maked the toy acceptable for both girls and boys.  The design was introduced  in 1969.

Adding a musical mechanism was simple.  Just insertd a wind-up musical mechanism playing an infants tune like “Rock-A-Bye Baby” and “Brahms Lullaby” .  The musical mechanisms were made in Switzerland and were  added creating this musical version.  We made sure the key was placed in the back of the toy and stuffing the toy  firmly enough so the music box does not turn as key is wound.

This photo showing Humpty Dumpty with large felt eyes was the original creation of 1969.  The rayon plush was made by Baxter, Kelly & Faust in their Philadelphia, Pa. mill.  The eyes, the Red mouth and Blue collar and hat were felt. Finally a Blue pompon was added as the nose.

In the case of the musical version, a satin ribbon was added saying “I’m A Musical”.  This assisted a shopper in purchasing  a musical Humpty Dumpty toy on display in a retail store.

The final addition to the Humpty Dumpty family was the “Shake Me – I Chime” version.  This was done by adding a small (approximately 2½” long by 1½”  in diameter) cylinder containing the mechanism that chimed as the toy is rolled around.  These mechanisms required no winding or batteries.  They just chimed when moved or rolled around.

The retail prices on Humpty Dumpty was $3.50 for the soft toy, $4.98 for the musical and about $4.50 for the chime toy in the early 1970s.

The final creation of  Humpty Dumpty was done in the mid-1970s, when colorful plastic eyes were  added and Pink version replaced the original design.  In this one the felt hat and collar were Pink along with the plush and the ribbon and the collar became White felt and it became more of a little girl’s toy (see photo) .  Was there a Blue version for little boys? I am not sure. Possibly someone reading this will contact me and tell me they have a Blue version.

MM Vin 299 Shake Me H Border RightThese design were in the early 1970s – about 40 years ago.  Like most people I do not remember everything I did 40 years ago.  I did not keep detailed records, so I have to try and reconstruct Mary Meyer’s Humpty Dumpty’s life.  They system is not always fool-proof.

If you read this and want to help us reconstruct the history of some of your toys from long ago, contact me – atwalter_meyer@marymeyer.com .

I helped my Mother and Dad while I was in high school in the late 1940s and came home to Mary Meyer full time in 1955.  I’ve been involved in every facet of stuffed toy manufacture from 1955 to 1985.  Today I manage halfpriceplush.com, a Mary Meyer website that sells case packs of retired Mary Meyer toys.

How many STUFFED TOYS are there in attics and closets throughout the USA?  How many were made by Mary Meyer?  I wish I knew.

We have made a lot of kids happy. It all originated with a family, who has been making stuffed animals for 80 years.  We love what we do.  I hope others love our toys  as much as I do.

by Walter Meyer

There are millions of stuffed toys in closets and attics that people have saved during the past 30 to 50 years waiting to be rediscovered.

I just received this photo of a Humpty Dumpty made by Mary Meyer in the early 1970s.  That’s over 40 years ago and it’s in mint condidtion  – like it just came out of the factory yesterday.

Humpty Dumpty – Shake Me – I Chime

I joined Mary Meyer in 1955 and managed the designing and manufacturing until 1985, when my son Steven Meyer took over the designing.

The Humpry Dumpty you see here was made by Mary Meyer in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The  original design was a soft stuffed toy and later a wind-up  musical mechanisms and a chime were also added.  It was made of Pink or Blue plush for the lower body plus a White plush head.  The first designs had a pompon nose, Red felt mouth and felt eyes along with a Pink or Blue felt barret with a pompon and a felt collar.  Humpty Dumpty was offered in Pink for little girls and Blue for boys.

The Humpty Dumpty shown here is one of the later designs that evolved.  It has colorful lock-in plastic eyes and bow cemented on at the neck line.  This version also had a chime mechanism, which chimes as the toy is rolled around and played with.  It was a very popular Mary Meyer design and had a gingham check neck ribbonand a ribbon that said “Shake Me – I Chime”.

If you have a Mary Meyer stuffed toy and would like to know it’s history, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help you.

Looking at these old Mary Meyer toys brings back many memories.  I think of the many children we have made  happy over the years. Mary Meyer was my Mother. I enjoyed working with her and it gave me an opportunity to create many stuffed animals that are now waiting to be rediscovered in attics all over the USA.

Sincerely,

Walter Meyer
walter_meyer@marymeyer.com