So, Slinky’s Were Definitely Invented By Accident

Everybody knows Slinky’s as those metal toys you watched travel down your stairs when you were a kid. Or maybe you’re familiar with Slinky Dog, the beloved dachshund toy dog from the Toy Story movies. Either way, slinky’s are a timeless spring-turned-toy that kids of every generation love.

But how did the classic toy first gain its popularity? Believe it or not, Slinky’s were first invented in 1943 by naval mechanical engineer Richard T. James when he was looking for springs that could support and stabilize instruments that were being shipped overseas.

Its notorious slinging action was first discovered when James accidentally knocked one of the springs off a shelf and watched as it traveled from one object to the other in a series of arcs and recoiled back upwards.

Intrigued, he believed that he could make the spring “walk” if he used the right kind of steel wire. Once he experimented and found the correct wire, his wife called the spring a Slinky, after she found the word in the dictionary as meaning “sleek and graceful”.

From there, neighborhood kids expressed an interest in the toy, and the rest is history.

Here are some more fun facts about Slinky’s:

  • The Slinky first became famous when James gave a demonstration of the toy at a Gimbels store in Philadelphia in 1945. From there, he instantly sold 400 units in ninety minutes.
  •  Since its rise to fame in Philadelphia, a proposal has been made to make the Slinky Pennsylvania’s State Toy.
  • The Slinky was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame in 2000.
  • NASA uses the toy to conduct various zero-gravity physics experiments.
  • The Slinky jingle is the longest-running jingle in advertising history.
  • In 2003, The Toy Industry Association included the Slinky on its Century of Toys List, which names 100 of the most memorable toys from the past century.