For years I thought this iconic leather elephant was Abercrombie and Fitch's. Indirectly he used to be. In that era from the mid-1970s to whenever it was that A&E became a very different kind of store, these wild creatures were sold there. But the manufacturer was, and still is, a small British company: Omersa.
I know this only because last year I helped my mom order online a pair of hippos directly from Omersa's current owner, Josie Dale. (BTW: the customer service was excellent.)
Apparently the first animal, a pig, was created by a luggage-maker in 1927, using scrap pigskin. The craftsman soon started selling his stuffed animals as footstools through Liberty of London. In 1958, Dimitri Omersa bought the company and expanded the range of animals to include a now famous rhinoceros, an elephant, a donkey and others.
Omersa animals from the 1960s through mid-1970s are hot collectors' items. (Embossed on the underside of their ears is "Liberty," marking an exclusive deal with the legendary London emporium. My uncle had one of these "period" pigs.) Today the animals are still handmade in rural Lincolnshire.
Above, I think I spot an Omersa in Ruthie Sommers' den as seen in the December 2006 Cottage Living. Photo, Grey Crawford.
Scully and Scully is an online U.S. retailer, and I think Mecox Gardens stocks a few animals too. Because of the price, I view these oh-so-charming stools as a luxury item but they are totally kid-friendly, forever pieces.
(See also Frances' cute related post, Scully and Scully.)