Thursday, January 19, 2012

Invention of the Slinky

Richard James, a marine engineer, was trying to come up with a new type of spring. The spring would, hopefully, shield sensitive ship instruments from wave action so the instruments could give accurate readings. James even experimented at home and one day he knocked a spring off a shelf, but it didn’t fall, it crawled in the distinctive Slinky way down to the floor. James soon discovered the fascination of watching the spring descend stairs.

Mrs. Betty James was the one who suggested it could be a popular toy, she even named it the Slinky, which is how she described the toy’s style of moving. Betty James and her husband founded a company in 1946 to market Richard James’s invention, which was an immediate success.

James developed new machinery to make slinkys very fast and he started an extensive advertising campaign. Besides the original slinky, he developed a Slinky Dog, Slinky Train called Loco and a Slinky Worm called Suzie. After a time James left to become a missionary and Betty started running to company. Well over 300 million slinkys have been sold worldwide.

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