Slinkys, Hula Hoops, And Silly Putty
Slinkys, Hula Hoops, and Silly Putty
The golden days of summer were what my friends and I lived for. School was just something to get through until the real fun started. Sure, we had to go through the motions and make our parents and our teachers happy, but our hearts belonged to the summertime. I was fortunate enough to grow up in Florida where the days were longer. I can remember waking up early in the morning (this was before adolescence, of course, when sleep becomes paramount), throwing cereal in my mouth, and hitting the door running.
I grew up in the seventies and I wouldn’t trade it for any other era. We had the best rock bands, kids could be kids without police involvement, and we had some really cool toys, namely the Slinky, the Hula Hoop, and Silly Putty.
70's Slinky Ad
The Slinky toy was created accidently by a naval engineer conducting an experiment. Richard James watched as a tension spring fell to the floor and appeared to walk. He took it home to his wife and between them they came up with the name Slinky. The first toys were sold at a department store in Philadelphia and Slinky was named the official state toy of Pennsylvania in 2004. There have been over 300 million Slinkys sold worlwide since their debut.
Slinkys For Sale!
Hula Hoop Contest
While I never tried for a world record, I did do my share and more of "hula hooping" when I was a kid. Made popular by the toy company Wham-O, the hula hoop was a favorite toy when I was running around the neighborhood. The beauty of the hula -hoop is it's simplicity. It is literally a plastic hoop that you twirl around your body, similar to the motion that hula dancers use. Hula Hoops are still popular today, as evidenced by a recent hula hoop contest that I witnessed at CityWalk in Orlando, Florida near Universal Studios.
Hula hoops are used for fun and for fitness and there are many varieties available.
Universal Studios Citywalk
At the entrance to Universal, Citywalk is filled with shops, restaurants, and clubs, and even boasts an Imax theatre showing the latest movies.
Silly Putty Anyone?
Silly Putty was never intended to be a toy in it's first incarnation. An engineer named James Wright was trying to create a synthetic rubber, due to shortages during World War II, when he accidentally dropped boric acid into silicone oil. The result became a malleable rubber like plastic that was virtually indestructible. Since it was not suitable for it's intended purpose, other scientists began to try and find a use for it. It was passed around to neighbors and friends and was first called "nutty putty", because of it's unique properties.
In 1949, the nutty putty was put into plastic eggs and sold as a novelty toy under the trade name "Silly Putty', and has delighted young children for more than 50 years. The toy earned 6 million in it's first years of sales.