1.07.2008

Historiography of the Slinky
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It's been a short, but event-driven year already. Mysterious assassinations, winter storms that brought sheets of snow and rain to the West, a maelstrom of beemer-crushing tree limbs on the Coast and maybe the worst blizzard since the Donner party in the Sierra, as well as unforeseen political surprises in Iowa, where the favorites in both parties were lured into an ambuscade - all suggest that a layer of unreality has been deposited upon our collective perception.

The young year 2008 also marks the 65th anniversary of the invention of the Slinky. In 1943, Richard James was working on a springloaded-powered gauge to measure the horsepower of industrial engines - in this case boilers for U.S. Navy ships, when he accidentally dropped a spring and was shocked to see it take a step forward - illustrating the principle of conservation of energy in dramatic form.

"Hmm," he thought. "This might be an interesting toy."

He spent 2 years working on the concept and introduced the Slinky at a Philadelphia department store in time for Chistmas of 1945. He had a friend in the audience buy the the first one and from then on the saga continued.

Eventually James' wife, Betty, became CEO and led the company into a diverse line of product extensions.

More than 250 million Slinkies have been sold around the world.

links:

Michigan State - history of the Slinky
About.com - invention of the Slinky

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