The Slinky Toy
Didn’t we all have one of these?
* The Slinky is a toy that is a precompressed helical spring. It was invented by Richard James, a naval engineer, in the early 1940s.
* It was demonstrated at Gimbels department store in Philadelphia in 1945. It immediately became a hit, selling its entire inventory of 400 units in 90 minutes.
* The Slinky was originally priced at $1 and has remained modestly priced throughout its history.
* The Slinky is best known for being able to travel down a flight of stairs. It goes end-over-end as it stretches and re-forms itself with the help of gravity and its own momentum.
* The Slinky was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2000.
* Slinky was named to the Toy Industry Association’s “Century of Toys List.” This is a roll call of the 100 most memorable and most creative toys of the twentieth century. That’s quite an honor!!
*It has been estimated that in its first 60 years Slinky has sold 300 million units.
*In 1999, the United States Postal Service issued a Slinky postage stamp.
*The rules that govern the mechanics of a slinky are due to Hooke’s law (a principal of physics) and the effects of gravitation.
*Plastic Slinky toys are also available. They were marketed in the 1970s as a safer alternative to metal slinkys. (As they did not present a hazard when inserted into electrical sockets!)
*The plastic spring slinky toy, known as the Plastic Slinky was invented by Donald James Reum, Sr. of Master Mark Plastics in Albany, Minnesota.
*The good news is – you can buy a metal original giant slinky! Yes, you, your kids and grand kids can all play with it. And, you will have fun reminiscing and telling stories about your childhood. Just do a search online for availability. They make great gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
From the National Toy Hall of Fame:
An advertisement with a memorable jingle familiarized a national customer base. “What walks down stairs alone or in pairs and makes a slinkety sound? A spring a spring, a marvelous thing. Everyone knows it’s Slinky!” Slinkys glided effortlessly down stairs on television, but alas most household steps proved too tall and wide for long descents. Still, at the end of the 20th century and 250 million Slinkys later, people continued to buy them.