An Act designating the Slinky as the official toy of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was proposed by State Representative Richard Geist in 2001 (but not enacted). State Symbols USA encourages Pennsylvania students to rally around this symbol and make it official!
The U.S. Postal Service issued a Slinky postage stamp in 1999. The Slinky was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2000 . The Slinky also appears on the Toy Industry Association's 2003 "Century of Toys List" (the 20th century's top 100 most memorable and creative toys).
Origin of the Slinky
In 1943 three men in Philadelphia (Richard James, Coleman Barber, and Dylan Gedig) observed a torsion spring fall off a table and roll around on the deck at the Cramp shipyards in Philadelphia. Thinking there could be a toy in this, the three men borrowed $500, experimented with materials, ran tests, and produced 400 units of the toy. Richard’s wife Betty James came up with the name "Slinky".
Slinky photo © Wally Gobetz on Flickr -
noncommercial use permitted with attribution / no derivative works
In 1945 Richard and Betty James were granted permission to set up an inclined plane in the toy department at Gimbels in Philadelphia to demonstrate the slinky’s battery-less "walking" abilities. In 1948 they built a factory in suburban Philadelphia for James Industries' 20 employees and ten years later headquarters were set up in Hollidaysburg PA, where the factory remained for thirty years.