Wilkins Puppet

Wilkins Puppet

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Description (Brief)

Wilkins was part of a duo known as Wilkins and Wontkins, which were some of the earliest creations by Jim Henson and his wife and partner Jane Nebel Henson. He is made of soft brown wool flannel with dangling limbs, button eyes, and a painted upturned mouth. This is the original Wilkins puppet created in 1956.

In 1956 a local Washington, D.C., company, Wilkins Coffee, contacted Jim Henson to produce a short television commercial, and Wilkins and Wontkins were born. Wilkins, the serious, cheerful one who loved coffee, regularly tortured the loveable Wontkins, who did not like coffee, and much to the dismay of Wilkins, refused to even try a cup.

Wilkins, with his somewhat serious and endearing demeanor, bears a striking resemblance to one of Henson’s most enduring creations, the beloved Kermit the Frog. Wontkins, on the other hand, fashioned in a simple triangular or pyramid shape with button eyes and a large protruding nose, wore a distinct frown that suggested his grumpy personality. Henson created over 200 8-second shorts that ran on local television stations promoting the benefits of Wilkins Coffee and expanded into advertising for other products across the country.

Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
Henson, Jim
Henson, Jim
Physical Description
felt (overall material)
wood (overall material)
overall: 12 1/2 in x 6 in x 7 in; 31.75 cm x 15.24 cm x 17.78 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of the Family of Jim Henson: Lisa Henson, Cheryl Henson, Brian Henson, John Henson and Heather Henson
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Cultural and Community Life: Entertainment
Jim Henson
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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