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Metals & Minerals
Slinky - A slinking coil of metal invented in 1943 by Philadelphia shipyard engineer Richard James.

The now classic children's toy originated as a by-product of research on springs being used on naval ships to help prevent recoil when the ship's gunnery units were fired.

One day, one of the sample coils of metal began to slink end-over-end down a pile of books. Finding the accordion-like motion of the coiled spring fascinating, Richard brought some home to his children and within no time the all the kids in the neighborhood were playing with the prototypes that were to become the Slinky toy.

Slinky Dog

Thinking the Slinky might have some marketing value, James manufactured hundreds of 2 1/2-inch metal stacks with 98 coils at a local machine shop and then convinced a local department store (Gimbles of Philadelphia) to let him set up a demonstration of the unpainted spring toy during its 1945 Christmas season. Within hours he had sold over 400 Slinkys at a $1 a piece.

The earliest Slinkys were made of blue-black Swedish steel but over the years the Slinky switched to a more silvery steel.

Since 1945 over 250 million units of Slinky have been sold. The Slinkys are built in Pennsylvania and proudly sold as Made in America products. Slinkys are still cut on the same machines designed and engineered by Richard James in 1945.

Years later in 1960, Richard James joined a religious cult and died in Bolivia in 1974. In his absence, his widow Mrs. James took over the reigns of the company as CEO of James Industries. The company celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1995.


The Slinky TV jingle was introduced in 1962 and has become as one of the most recognizable toy jingles in America:

Who walks the stair without a care,
And shoots so high in the sky,
Bops up and down just like a clown,
Everyone knows its Slinky.
The best present yet to give or get,
The kids will all want to try.
The hit of the day when you're ready to play,
Everyone knows its Slinky.
Its Slinky, Its Slinky...
The favorite of girls and boys.


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