Original Slinky, 1945 Collectors Edition


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Product Description

The Original Slinky, 1945 Collectors Edition
In 1943, Richard James, a naval mechanical engineer stationed at the William Cramp and Sons shipyards in Philadelphia, was developing springs that could support and stabilize sensitive instruments aboard ships in rough seas.

James accidentally knocked one of the springs from a shelf and watched as the spring “stepped” in a series of bananna splits, to a stack of books, to a tabletop, to the floor, where it re-coiled itself and stood upright.

James’s wife Betty later recalled, “He came home and said, ‘I think if I got the right property of steel and the right tension, I could make it walk.” James experimented with different types of steel wire over the next year, and finally found a spring that would walk. Betty was dubious at first, but changed her mind after the toy was fine-tuned and neighborhood children expressed an excited interest in it. She dubbed the toy Slinky (meaning “sleek and graceful”), after finding the word in a dictionary, and deciding that the word aptly described the sound of the metal spring expanding and collapsing.

With a small loan, the couple formed James Industries, had 400 Slinky units made by a local machine shop, handwrapped each in yellow paper, and priced them as $ 1 a piece. Each Slinky was 2 1/2 inches tall, and included 98 coils of high-grade blue-black Swedish steel. The Jameses had difficulty selling Slinky to toy stores but, in November 1945, they were granted permission to set up an inclined plane in the toy section of Gimbels department store in Philadelphia to demonstrate the toy. Slinky was a hit, and the first 400 units were sold within ninety minutes. Over the years, the Slinky has taken on many forms and textures, but this 1945 Collectors Edition is made in the original metal used by its creator, the toy universally loved by children around the world.

This product is proudly Made in the USA.