Art & Culture FACTS History

The Accidental Origin of Slinky, the immortal Coil


Slinky has always been a phenomenal toy that every age group has fiddled with once or twice but did you know that it was born out of an accident?

During World War II, a naval Engineer, Richard James was working with torsion springs at the Cramp’s Shipyard near Philadelphia. He was trying to eliminate vibration on sensitive meters used on naval ships caused by heavy seas, recoil of gunfire, and the steel propeller shafts. One coil out of hundreds fell out of the box and he was awestruck with its movements. Intrigued by the amusing bouncing, tumbling gyrations, he took the coil home and gave it to his son. His young son sent the coil down the stairs and the coil threw itself into a loop, landed on the next step, lifted its tail, and threw itself into another loop, and so on down the long stairway.

Slinky was born!

“Children love simple things,” said Richard’s wife, Betty James who came up with the name ‘Slinky’. Toy stores were not interested in this simple thing and said that children will not buy these as they wanted more colourful, loud and quirky toys. Richard worked hard on his innovation and produced a finessed product of a 2.5 inch stack with 98 coils. Gimbels, a large departmental store bought out their entire inventory within 90 minutes of its demonstration by Richard on November 27, 1945.

And the fan following goes on till date!

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