Friday, April 20, 2012
The slinky: How it all started
In 1943, Richard James, a marine engineer in a Philadelphia shipyard, was working at his desk, developing a special meter designed to monitor the horsepower output on naval battleships. This meter required the use of special springs in order to stabilize the instrument in rough seas. At a certain point, James accidentally knocked a length of one of the springs he was working with off his desk. To his amazement, the spring fell from its position on the desk, then “walked” from that point to a stack of books, and eventually on to the floor where it coiled back up.
After some time, Richard made a few prototypes, which he let children in his neighborhood play with in order to gauge the response, which ended up being overwhelmingly positive. His wife, Betty, then searched for a name for this new toy. After searching through the dictionary for hours, she finally settled on “Slinky”, meaning “sinuous and slender” and had previously been used mainly as an adjective to describe women or clothing.
And the rest, as they say is history…
For her contributions in making the Slinky one of the all time best selling toys in the world, Betty James was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame in 2001. She died in 2008, at the age of 90. Her ex-husband, Richard James, died just 14 years after moving to Bolivia, in 1974.
Around 80 feet of wire was used in the original slinky design.
Other than toys, Slinkies have been used in pecan picking, drapery holders, antennas, light fixtures, window decorations, gutter protectors, bird house protectors, therapeutic devices, wave motion coils, table decorations, and mail holders, among other things. Notable among these were U.S. troops in Vietnam using the Slinky as mobile radio antennas and NASA later using Slinkies in certain zero-gravity experiments.
50,000 tons of wire (around 3,030,000 miles worth) has been used in making the slinky since 1945 to present. That’s about enough wire to go around the Earth 121 times at the equator. Story published with permission from www.todayifoundout.com
I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard