Eleven great Ernie puppets!
From 1969 to 1970. The first Ernie puppet sports a purple and orange shirt, with yellow collar and cuffs (resembling that of a turtle neck shirt), and has a purple nose. During the pilot episodes, Jim Henson experimented with Ernie's eye focus; at one point he looked downwards instead of upwards. From 1970 to 1971. Ernie wears a red-blue pattern sweater instead of a purple-orange one which becomes his prominent attire design. His nose changes from purple to red. From 1971 to 1974. Ernie's eye focus is improved, and he has a brighter orange skin tone. From 1974 to 1976. Ernie's skin is slightly darker. His eye focus is not as refined, seemingly do to smaller pupils. His hair is also less fluffy. From 1976 to 1982. Ernie's skin is now even darker orange antron fleece, instead of blanket fleece. His head is also considerably rounder. From 1982 to 1985. Ernie's head becomes taller and less football-shaped, and has larger cheeks. His skin color reverts back to a more vibrant orange. The collar and cuffs of his shirt also change, making it look more like a regular shirt. His eyes are also closer together. From 1985 to 1994. Similar to the previous design with a larger space between his eyes and thinner hair. From 1994 to 1999. Ernie's skin becomes a light warm orange. He also has a fuller tuft of hair, making it appear somewhat longer. From 1999 to 2003. Once again, Ernie has a rounder, more football-shaped head, closely akin to the 1976-1982 version. From 2003 to 2011. Ernie's head is now taller and has a flatter, less bumpy shape than earlier puppets. There is less of his thinner hair. From 2011-present. In recent years, two Ernie puppets have been used interchangeably. One is more akin to the one used from 2003-2011, but with a less rounded head, thicker hair. As the puppet has gotten older, the mouth plate has become slightly malformed. The other has a rounder head that is seemingly wider. He also has thinner, more parted hair.