Collegiate Manufacturing Company traces it's roots back to 1904 when Galen Tilden, one of the managers of The Tilden Store, became interested in producing college pennants using the store's alteration department. Nine years later, it incorporated as a separate entity as Tilden Manufacturing Company. Sometime after 1931, the business was taken over by Chev and Clint Adams under the name of Collegiate Manufacturing Company with its home in all but the top floor of the Masonic Building (now the Octagon Center for the Arts) on the corner of Douglas Avenue and Fifth Street.
In the ensuing years, it expanded to become the nations leading supplier of college memorabilia with salesmen covering all 50 states as well as an overseas market. In their more than six decades of existence, stuffed animals became one of the biggest sellers. At its peak, the company had over 150 employees, producing 2,000 stuffed animals and printing 2,500 shirts per day. During WWII they contracted with the Quartermaster Corps to manufacturer ponchos and raincoats for the war effort earning the company the coveted Army Navy “E” Award for excellence. In 1954 Collegiate's head designer, George Grooms, created the first CY mascot for Iowa State. It stood eight feet tall and was made of aluminum and hardware cloth covered with plush fabric using salad bowls as eyes. Though this first CY was much loved, it was cumbersome and in 1995 was given the look we know today.