“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”
– Advertising Jingle
In 1943, Richard James was a naval engineer trying to develop a meter designed to monitor horsepower on naval battleships. Richard was working with tension springs when one of the springs fell to the ground. He saw how the spring kept moving after it hit the ground and an idea for a toy was born.
Richard James told his wife Betty, “I think I can make a toy out of this” and then spent the next two years figuring out the best steel gauge and coil to use for the toy. Betty James found a name for the new toy after discovering in the dictionary that the word “Slinky” is a Swedish word meaning traespiral – sleek or sinuous.
Slinky debuted at Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the 1945 Christmas season and then at the 1946 American Toy Fair. via History of the Slinky Toy.