Delco re:View Fall/Winter 2019 - 5

www.DelcoBar.org

A Major Point of Delco Pride
...This One is Pretty Metal!

tight aboard moving ships, it was his wife, Betty, who gave the
toy its name and brought the company out of financial ruin after
Richard left her and their six children in 1960 to join a religious
cult in Bolivia.
The first run of the toy impressively sold out within an hour
and a half at Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia. More
than 360 million Slinkys have been sold since they hit the market
in 1945. Sales of the Slinky are now in the hundreds of millions
and the Slinky continues to be manufactured in Pennsylvania
(at the Hollidaysburg factory, near Altoona), using the same
methods employed by the toy's inventor.
There are few sights more satisfying than watching a Slinky
descend a flight of stairs, and lining the toy up just right to walk
down every step elicits the same feeling as sinking a threepointer, a long putt, or an angled shot in billiards, even though
those feats of physics take much more skill. Guinness records
have been made with Slinkys; two Brits hold the record for
"most stairs descended by a Slinky," which was 30.

T

he pride exuded by residents of Delaware County, the
Philly suburb affectionately known as Delco, is so kinetic
you can almost feel the energy shift when you cross the
county border.
On Friday, August 30, 2019, "Delconians" added more spring
to their step when a roadside historical marker commemorating
the invention of the Slinky was dedicated at the corner of
Baltimore Pike and Springfield Road in Clifton Heights, near
where the toy was first manufactured.
The dedication coincided with National Slinky Day, a day on
which we reflect on how this most simple of toys has stood the
test of time, remaining one of the most recognizable toys across
the decades and continuing to entertain each new generation.
Delco historian Robyn Young advocated for the Slinky
marker, the 20th she has had dedicated in Pennsylvania, all
commemorating achievements by women.
While it was mechanical engineer Richard James who
invented the Slinky while working at the Philadelphia Naval
Shipyard in 1943, trying to create springs that could hold items

The Slinky isn't merely a toy or a collectible, it has been
placed in various utilitarian roles such as pecan picker, drapery
holder, light fixture, window and table decoration, gutter guard,
bird house protector, therapeutic device, wave motion coil, and
mail holder, among other things. The Slinky was even used by
U.S. troops in Vietnam as a mobile radio antenna, and NASA
used the Slinky in several zero-gravity experiments. Who
knew Newton's laws of motion could be both practical and
entertaining?
One of the most enduring toys of the modern era, the Slinky
has been inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2000,
named one of Time magazine's All-Time 100 Greatest Toys, and
commemorated on a postage stamp in 1999. It also has one of
the catchiest jingles of all time.
A brass Slinky was given a limited release in 1985 for the
40th anniversary, and 14-karat gold version came out in 1995 for
the toy's 50th year in production. With the Slinky marking its
75th birthday in 2020, it is anybody's guess how the celebration
will be marked!
Betty James passed away in 2008 at the age of 90, but her
legacy will live on through her family, through the toy she
worked so hard for, and now, too, through a historical marker in
Delaware County. *

Fall/Winter 2019

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Delco re:View Fall/Winter 2019

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewWinter2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewFallWinter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewSummer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewSpring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewWinter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewFall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewSummer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewSpring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewWinter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewFall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewSummer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/DelawareCountyBarAssociation/DelcoReViewSpring2017
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