Classic Slinky

Classic Slinky
Classic Slinky

A Slinky is so Much Fun!

When I was little I always had a great time playing with a slinky. My grandmother had a lot of stairs and it was awesome getting the slinky to go all of the way down. It was also fun just moving it back and forth in my hands. It is a the simplest of toys but, looks and feels so cool to play with. My sons ask for slinkys all of the time. Unfortunately we don't have any stairs but, when we go to my grandmothers the kids have fun bringing them along. My kids are rather rought with them. They seem to always get them tangled. I believe this is from swinging them around. Maybe if we had stairs to keep the slinky busy this would be less of an issue. Every year or less my two oldest are always asking for another one. For the most part it seems to be the smaller plastic slinkys that my boys get tangled faster. I never had the Slinky Dog. But, I have had a few of the Crazy Eyes and they are lots of fun too.

History of the Slinky

The slinky was invented in 1943 by a naval engineer named Richard James. Richard was working in his lab designing springs for sensitive naval equipment. Richard knocked over a spring and was amazed at what happened next. The spring stepped down end over end from a shelf, to a book, to his desk and onto the floor. Then it stood back upright like it had started. Richard decided with a few adjustments it would make a great toy. The local kids loved the toy and his wife Betty named it after looking in the dictionary. Slinky had meant sleek and graceful. She also figured the name matched the sound it made perfectly.

James and Betty took out a loan for $500 and created James Industries. They had 400 slinky's made. The first slinkys were two and a half inches tall with 98 coils and were priced at $1.

They took the toy to some toy stores but, it just didn't catch on. But, In November of 1945 the James's were allowed to set up an incline at Gimbels department store in Philadelphia. A demonstration is exactly what the slinky needed in order to sell. All 400 slinkys were sold within an hour and a half. the slinky became a huge hit across the U.S.. James would appear on TV demonstrating his amazing new toy. In the 1950's more slinky toys were made. There was the slinky dog, a slinky train, a slinky worm, a slinky hippo and those crazy slinky eyes.

In 1960 Richard left everything he had including his company and even his family to join a cult. Meanwhile his wife ran the company. Betty always made it a priority to keep the simple toy affordable for all kids to enjoy. In 1998 Poof Products purchased James Industries. In 2000 the Slinky was inducted into The National Toy Hall of Fame. Then in 2003 the companies merged to make Poof-Slinky Inc. Over 300 million original Slinkys have been sold.

Slinky Song

What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, and makes a slinkity sound?

A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing! Everyone knows it's Slinky.

It's Slinky, it's Slinky. For fun it's a wonderful toy.

It's Slinky, it's Slinky. It's fun for a girl or a boy.

It's fun for a girl or a boy!

Best Slinky

So what type of slinky do you like best?

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Classic Slinky Commercial

Slinky Dog

Slinky Dog
Slinky Dog

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So do you love the Slinky? what is your favorite slinky toy? 33 comments

William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

Enjoyed this hub very much, Jim. When my younger daughter was a pre-teen in the early 1970's she contacted the company to say how much she liked the Slinky. All the Slinkys I saw at that time were silver in color. The company sent her a free gold-colored Slinky. I remember being very impressed. I'm glad to know more about the history of the Slinky. Thanks.

Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

I loved slinkys.  The original probably, as I don't remember any of the others.  My kids also loved slinkys.  Those plastic models were a waste of money, in my opinion, despite their neon colors.  The old metal ones worked best and that is what mattered, haha.  Thanks for the memories.

PS Whatever happened to Richard James?

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Hi William, the James family seemed really nice from what I read. Betty felt it was very important for all kids to be able to afford Slinkys. They started at only a $1 and now they are still under $4. That is awesome your daughter got a free gold slinky.

Hi Storytellersrus, I agree that the metal ones worked best. My kids always get the plastic ones tangled and sometimes I just can't fix them. I think they have colored metal ones now but, they are like $9. At that price I mine as well buy lots of plain ones.

Nancy's Niche profile image

Nancy's Niche 7 years ago from USA

Great hub Jim and it brought back wonderful memories. The slinky was my kids favorite toy and now my grandchildren play with them...

BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Justin Lee Collins gave away 20 Slinkys on his chat show in the UK about 3 weeks ago. Hadn't been reminded of these for ages and now a few weeks later another reminder.

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Thanks Nancy, I'm glad you had so much fun with Slinkys. They are an amazing and timeless toy.

Thanks Justin, Wow! Slinkys are everywhere you look now. They are a great toy to have around. No one can keep themselves from picking one up when they are around.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

Yay Slinky! Me and my 3 sisters spent hours of fun playing with Slinkey's on the stairs. Enjoyed reading about the history of Slinky of how it all began with that one spring that Richard James knocked over! Wow!

BTW did you know you had a bunch of stuff under the comment box. I almost missed the Slinky song... everyone knows it's Slinky, haha...loved it!

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Thanks Dottie1, it sounds like you and your sisters had a great time. I should get our slinkys together and find some places with tons of stairs to bring the kids. I know about the stuff below. It looks great that way until I get lots of comments. I kind of like to have people read the info then comment. Then if they are interested they can see where to buy their own. I wonder if more people don't see it and I should move the video and lyrics up above. We will see. Thanks again.

Dottie1 profile image

Dottie1 7 years ago from MA, USA

When I was reading the article and you mentioned the different Slinky's such as the dog I was wondering why you didn't have a picture. And by chance after commenting I saw the rest below and then went back to let you know. The Slinky song was the icing on the cake that made me really relive those memories! Just my thoughts!

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Thanks Dottie, I will give it a try.

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Well just every time I look in the mirror. Oh that's not what you meant. Thanks Blondepoet I feel honored to be on your latest hub.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Oh great, now I have the commercial song stuck in my head.. "what walks down stairs alone or in pairs??...." I got one stuck in my hair once (I know, right?!!) Anyhow the plastic ones are (crap) compared to the metal ones. There's something almost soothing about them. Blonde..I'm still trying to think of who he reminds me of..(crap again) it's on the tip of my tongue!! Thank you for this fun hub!

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Your welcome Candie, sorry you got the song stuck in your head. But, it can't be as bad as getting a slinky stuck in your hair. "Ouch!" The metal ones are definitely the way to go. Maybe I should add a pole to see if anyone actually likes the plastic ones. Good luck figuring out who I look like and make sure you let me know when you do.

Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

It's driving me a little batty.. You should add a pole. My friend had the slinky dog, I was so jealous.

feeweewv profile image

feeweewv 7 years ago from Between A Dream And Reality

Now I will be singing that song all day.... LOL :)

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Thanks Candie and feeweewv, it is a great song that just never goes away. Good luck.

ESAHS 7 years ago

"Great toy from my childhood!"

"Two thumbs up!"

"Thanks for remembering the wonder years!"

CEO E.S.A.H.S. Association

wordscribe41 7 years ago

Oh my goodness, the slinky dog.  How hilarious.  I have so many great slinky memories- getting pinched, having it "walk" down the stairs, having permanent kinks and bends in the darn wire and using tools to fix the stubborn thing.  It was just that cool.  Plastic ones don't do it for me.  They don't stand the test of time around here with my 3 little destructos.  Great hub.  You always have a way of bringing back fond memories for me. Thumbs up, of course.

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Thanks Wordscribe41, I'm glad you had so much fun with the slinky. Thanks for the great compliment. A big part of making my hubs is to bring back memories of everyones childhood.

RGraf profile image

RGraf 7 years ago from Wisconsin

I loved the slinky. I would take up to the top of our stairs and race it to the bottom. it drove my dog nuts!

BetsyIckes profile image

BetsyIckes 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

I live near the Slinky factory and have taught the James grandchildren in church. Small world isn't it!

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

That is awesome BetsyIckes, I am so jealous. Did you ever get a tour?

BetsyIckes profile image

BetsyIckes 7 years ago from Pennsylvania

Yes when I was a kid. Many moons ago.

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

That must have been great. Did they have a giant staircase to tell some of the Slinkys?

Iðunn 7 years ago

we used to build steps with our building blocks so Slinky could go down them. great nostalgic hub.

lxxy profile image

lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Slinky...I'm more fond of Log. ;)

Ohh, what rolls down stairs, alone or in appears, what rolls over your neighbors dog? It's looog, looog..haha, this is cool Jim. I had a Slinky or two over the years...

(the log song:

jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma Author

Thanks Iðunn, that sounds like a lot of fun.

Thanks Ixxy, yes logs can be a lot of fun too. Ren and Stimpy were great. They can even keep you warm.

2patricias profile image

2patricias 7 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

Pat had a slinky in the 1950s, as a child in a house with stairs that curved. Playing with the slinky on the stairs was fun. It did get tangled from time to time!

Interesting to know the history. Thanks for a fun hub.

muratos profile image

muratos 7 years ago from Moscow

slinky melody is really sticky by the way :))

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Awesome! I had no idea of the history of the Slinky. My father, who was an engineer, gave me one when I was a child, and I remember being absolutely dazzled by the way it went down steps and how it felt in my hand. Not to mention the soft whisper it made while it slinked from one state to another. Thanks so much for bringing back a wonderful memory of my father, who, I think, was maybe even more enchanted with this than I.

She-rah profile image

She-rah 6 years ago from Springfield, IL

Slinkys were my favorite when I was kid!!! Great hub!

mysticalrose profile image

mysticalrose 5 years ago

I didnt know its called that!!

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