Today's Wonder of the World is...the Slinky!
Flickr photo by blueraine tigerseye
I don't know about you, but both my newspaper and my mailbox have been stuffed lately with too many toy catalogs advertising all sorts of crazy things. Like Crazy Cluck the dancing chicken, or Basket Case, a basketball hoop you strap to your head and play by yourself, for the lonely boy or girl on your list. I look at these toys and I laugh. (Or shudder.) And then I marvel at the king of all toys: The Slinky!
What child doesn't love a slinky?
And what cat, for that matter?
Flickr photo by oreofuzzcat
I bet dogs love them too.
At least this one does.
Flickr photo by krisjaus
But monkeys? They get a little overexcited.
Flickr photo by EideMontana
My kids always got excited too.
After a few days of fun, most of our Slinkys looked like this.
Flickr photo by Liam Cassidy
Still, I love them. I love the idea that a simple coil of metal could enchant so many generations of kids! A simple coil of metal! Toy companies spend millions on research and development and marketing, and kids want to play with a metal coil!
Maybe simple really is best! My kids also loved playing with measuring cups in the bathtub, but that's another story.
I get pretty enchanted myself watching a Slinky "walk" down the steps.
Or even take the elevator.
Flickr photo by Griggity
What's even funnier--or at least strange--is the story behind the slinky. Do you know it? How one day in 1943, naval engineer Richard James saw a tension spring fall at work and keep "walking" across the deck of a ship, and thought, "I bet I could make a toy out of that!"
But Richard wasn't the only smarty of the family. When Richard had a midlife crisis and left his wife, six children, and the Slinky Empire to join a Bolivian religious order/cult, (I promise I'm not making this up,) his wife Betty took over and rescued the company. She even started up a big ad campaign complete with the famous Slinky jingle.
You know the one:
"What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, And makes a slinkity sound?
A spring, a spring, a marvelous thing, Everyone knows it’s Slinky…
It's Slinky, it's Slinky, for fun it's a wonderful toy
It's Slinky, it's Slinky, it's fun for a girl and a boy
Good for Betty! I hope she became a millionaire many times over!
Sing along, won't you?
Have a Wonder-full Wednesday, everyone!
Before you go, tell me, what's your favorite old fashioned toy?