Fact of the Day
Naval engineer Richard James was trying to design something to monitor battleship horsepower using springs. During his work he knocked a spring off the shelf and watched in awe as it stepped down from object to object. After consulting with his wife (who found the Swedish word Slinky® to use as its name), he decided to market the toy for children. They hit the shelves in 1945, and the James’ were skeptical of whether it would catch on or not. To their surprise, they sold 400 Slinkys® in the first hour and a half.
Each normal sized Slinky® is made from 80ft of wire. The original machine invented by Richard James is still pumping out Slinkys® today almost 70 years later. The factory is still located in Pennsylvania, and has been inducted as the state’s official toy.
Oddly enough, Richard James apparently had his fill of the Slinky® business in the early 1960s. He literally up and left his wife, their children, and the Slinky® empire to join a Bolivian religious cult. Mrs. James was therefore left as the sole heir to the empire.
The history of the Slinky® does not end there. With the Mrs. at the helm, the timeless Slinky® jingle was coined as everyone came to the realization that the spring, the spring was “a marvelous thing” and it was actually “fun for [both] a girl and a boy”. This is actually the longest running national television ad campaign commercial jingle (first aired in 1962). Mrs. James also paved the way for Slinky® entrepreneurship. New products like the always amusing googly-eyed Slinky® glasses, and the Toy Story influenced Slinky® dog. Ironically, Mrs. James was the one inducted into the toy hall of fame.
randomLINK: Slinky Suit
Bellis, Mary. "History of the Slinky Toy - Richard James and Betty James." Inventors. 9 Apr. 2009 .
"Home." Poof-Slinky.com. 9 Apr. 2009 .
"Inventor of the Week: Archive." MIT. 9 Apr. 2009 .
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