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When was Silly Putty invented?

Updated: Jan 16

Hello again, have you recovered from Thanksgiving? I know I have, and even thought it's "Black Friday" I opted for a question about Silly Putty today! "Why", you ask? Oh, it's because yesterday after dinner we played a fun dice game. We all sat in a circle and tried to roll doubles and if you did you picked a gift, but if someone else rolled doubles within that minute, welp, sorry that gift is not yours anymore! Anywho, it was a fun, quick-paced game (which I love!), and the most talked about gift was a large Silly Putty! Not the 5lb crazy big one (yes there's a 5 pounder), just a larger one than the original Silly Putty.


Oh yes, that's where we were, the "Original Silly Putty". It was actually invented as a less expensive alternative to synthetic rubber during WWII in 1943. The invention is credited to James Wright, an engineer for General Electric (even though the first patent was given to Corning Glass Works in 1944, I know, weird right?). Mr. Wright was an engineer tasked with developing an inexpensive substitute for synthetic rubber, so what did he do?! He combined boric acid with silicone oil, duh! It created a material that could stretch and bounce further than rubber could... even in extreme temperatures! ...But no one was interested, they didn't think it was any better than the synthetic stuff already being produced.


Fast forward a few years, when unemployed copywriter, Peter Hodgson saw the marketing potential and bought the production rights and renamed it, "Silly Putty". Mr. Hodgson used the 1950 International Toy Fair to introduce "Silly Putty", packaged in a red egg (because Easter was coming). The "toy" didn't take off right away, but within the next decade or so it was an international hit... even the astronauts on Apollo 8 used it to relieve boredom and keep tools stuck in place while in their weightless environment! Silly Putty made Peter Hodgson millions.


Silly Putty is still popular today, with a market study showing over 70% of American households having purchased at least one Silly Putty. So, have you played with Silly Putty?




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