“SLINKY” SPRINGS to FAME (Sep, 1946)


Given an initial shove, “Slinky” eerily and deliberately flip-flops end over end down a flight of steps. It is simply a spring, but it does stunts that made R. P. James, Philadelphia engineer, think of converting it into a toy.

The flat-coiled strip of Swedish blue steel assumes shapes in almost unending patterns. Mr. James got his toy idea when he saw the spring roll off a workbench and do funny antics on the floor.

Inert, “Slinky” (below) is a handful of spring before wriggling into its giddy gyrations for child or grownup.

“Slinky” goes places when, with a flick of the wrist, it leaps out into space like a striking serpent. Much of its action depends on the ingenuity of its handler.

Produced in one small plant in Philadelphia, 100,000 of the springs sold so rapidly that the promoter had to subcontract to other plants in a number of cities.

  1. Hirudinea says: May 31, 20112:10 pm

    It’ll never go anywhere.

  2. Charlene says: May 31, 20117:05 pm

    Blue Steel, hm?

  3. Toronto says: May 31, 20117:44 pm

    Nowhere near as blued as a typical alarm clock spring of the era (I took several apart as a kid.)

    BTW a Slinky could also be used as a Time Tunnel for Major Matt Mason.

  4. John says: May 31, 20118:42 pm

    Charlene: Today’s mood swing has you lurching from your previous celebration of dry skin on women to now engaging in double entendre.

  5. Don says: June 7, 20113:42 pm

    As a child, I used my Slinky as the antenna for the crystal radio I built – I stretched it across my bedroom & secured it with nails in the walls on either end.

    Worked great – but I caught some big-time trouble for the nails in the walls.

    That was 50 years ago – yikes…

  6. Toronto says: June 8, 20117:00 am

    Don: my barracks roommate used one – he dropped it out our 3rd floor window at night and hauled it up when done. It worked surprizingly well for shortwave.

  7. hwertz says: June 8, 201111:36 am

    I wonder if anyone still makes real Slinkys? The new ones are plastic, and can barely lurch down a couple steps.

  8. John says: June 8, 201111:52 am

    hwertz » Wonder no more. At the risk of provoking Charlene to another sophomoric reference the original blued steel Slinky may be found here or here

    To answer your question. Slinkys are made by the Slinky Company

  9. Detlef says: June 24, 201112:45 am

    Have you ever heard about the bridge called „Slinky springs to fame“? It’s located in Oberhausen, Germany, you may find a bunch of photos at http://detlefsnotizblog…
    However the text is in German, but who needs text to unstand photos?

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