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One thing I remember about playtime was we didn't have many store-bought toys. It was easy to make fun for ourselves as we scrounged for wood and cardboard boxes. We'd string stuff together and make our housing complex with lots of rooms in which to hide. For our skateboards, we'd use old two by four scrap lumber and crates on which to fasten old roller skates. Fondly, I remember one of my favourites: the Slinky ® A few years ago I found one and kept it just for memory. It seems to have a way of getting me to "slink" back in time.

The other day I got out my original metal Slinky ® thinking there might be a new activity to play with it. Before I knew what was happening, the cats were overtaken by curiosity as they sniffed and pawed at the elastic wires. My Slinky ® is a feline favourite. While I watched, I thought about the toy's features and how it attracts humans as well.

I'd say there are at least three features that I can think of that make it aa great toy. My first observation is its smooth and free movement in the air or on a surface. Second, I noticed its flexibility. It can travel down stairs or along a slope changing direction without hesitation. Finally, I took note of its strength and resistance to decay and warpage. I've had my Slinky ® for over ten years, and it still hasn't lost much of its original condition.

In case you are not aware, the Slinky ® was invented in the early 1940s by Richard James (1914-1974). He was a naval engineer who was developing a method to stabilize delicate instruments using spring steel. When a coil rolled off a table and danced across the floor an idea for a toy was born. Richard's wife Betty came up with the name "Slinky". They produced 400 and sold them in ninety minutes at Gimbels. Other toys evolved such as Slinky Dog ®, train, eyes, and worms. After James had passed away, his wife took over the business until her death in 2008 at 90. James Industries merged with Poof Products in 2003 to create Poof ®-Slinky ®, Inc.

Some physical properties of the Slinky ® such as the period of oscillation and equilibrium make it interesting to mechanics and science buffs but its dynamics is something to embrace. We can be inspired by its smoothness, dreaming we can soar in our imagination with the ease that this toy inspires. It tells us something about letting go of our critical minds and letting the beauty of our thoughts dominate our actions. Its flexibility points to a behaviour full of giving and take options where we base decisions on the optimum good of all. Like me my Slinky ® is a little out of shape but its resistance and durability teach me to care about myself and do things that keep me healthy. What a great teaching toy! Selling over 300 Million Slinky ® toys that must have meant a surprising success.©

Toys We Love

Date

October 15, 2013

Author

James Kershaw

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Jim Kershaw says

October 15, 2016

This Slinky is probably one of my most popular memorabilia pieces during my visits to facilities.

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