The Knickerbocker Toy Company was founded around 1850 in Albany, New York and
started out manufacturing educational toys, like alphabet blocks. The unusual
name 'Knickerbocker' derived from the nickname for the citizens of New York. The
name is a reference to the baggy trousers the original Dutch settlers wore.
The first bears ascribed to Knickerbocker are from around 1925, when the
company started to use permanent labels. The company was proud to produce high
quality toy animals and called them 'Animals of Distinction'. The Knickerbocker
bears were by far the best American bears from that period, but still quite
In the 1960's, the company won the license to manufacture 'Smokey Bear', until
1977 en became reasonably famous with it. Even a talking version was made, with
a build-in tape that told the children about preventing forest fires.
In 1968 the company moved to Middlesex, New Jersey. There, they imported the
different parts from Korea, sown and all. At the end of the 1980's the company
was closed down.