SLINKY- An accident, which turned into a Toy

Slinky, is one of the most popular toys ever. Everybody has played with this, but did you know that, the reason to use it as a toy was entirely accidental!

The Slinky a toy, a precompressed helical spring was invented by Richard James in the early 1940s. Richard, a naval engineer was once trying to develop a meter to monitor horsepower on naval battleships. He was working with tension springs and by a twist of fate one of the springs fell to the ground. And, He noticed how the spring kept moving after it hit the ground and an idea for a toy was born.

Isn’t that Interesting! To include more, it became Pennsylvania\’s official state toy, in 2002.


Today, all Slinky’s are made in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania using the original equipment designed and engineered by Richard James. Each one is made from 80 feet of wire and over a quarter billion Slinky’s have been sold worldwide.

The USPTO granted this patent on January 28th 1947, with patent no 2415012 to Richard James, protecting a helical spring toy that can walk down an inclined plane or flight of steps without the application of external energy. The toy was designed to have a low natural frequency between 10 cycles and 100 cycles per minute. The patent also describes the importance of coiling the spring steel without substantial compression or lateral force tension to support the free movement of the spring.

In his granted invention, he declares – “My invention relates to toys primarily intended for amusement of children, but also for family use as parlor games and the like, and for advertising purpose”.

Photo Credit: mikemozart/ / CC BY-SA 2.0