Inventions - Silly Putty
Let’s talk about Silly Putty, a super cool and bouncy toy that has been around for over 40 years!
Silly Putty is made from something called silicon, which comes from sand. Sand is something that is all over our planet and we use it for many things. During World War II, the government needed synthetic rubber for airplanes and soldiers’ boots. They asked big companies to try to make rubber out of silicon because it was so widely available. One of the engineers working on the experiments was a man named James Wright. He was doing tests with silicon oil when he accidentally added boric acid, which made a gooey substance that bounced.
At first, nobody knew what to do with this strange bouncing goo. Samples were sent to engineers all over the world, but no one could find a use for them. Then, a man named Peter Hodgson had an idea. He decided to put the goo in plastic eggs and sell it as a toy. He named it “Silly Putty” because it was such a silly and unique thing.
And boy, was he right! Silly Putty can stretch, bounce, and even pick up newspaper comics if you press it against them. It can also level the leg of a wiggly table or clean typewriter keys. It’s even been used by athletes to strengthen their hand and forearm muscles!
But Silly Putty’s not just for playing around with. It’s also been used by astronauts on the Apollo 8 spacecraft to keep tools from floating around after they left the Earth’s gravity. And the Columbus Zoo in Ohio even used it in 1981 to take the hands and footprints of gorillas!
Silly Putty is one of the first “fad” toys in America, and it’s still going strong today. Best of all, it’s affordable so almost everyone can have some fun with it. Next time you see a ball of Silly Putty, remember that it all started with a little accident in a chemistry lab and ended up becoming one of the coolest toys around!