1943 during World War II an engineer in the U.S. Navy was on a new ship’s
trial run. When all of a sudden a torsion spring fell to the floor,
and flipped over itself again and again. The engineer (Richard James)
noticed the torsion spring that was flipping around on the floor.
James did not exactly yell “EUREKA!” but he did take it home to tell his
After he and his wife had talked he thought and said, “I think we can make a toy out of this.” O.K., the slinky didn’t exactly change the world, but it was an awesome toy and still is. In 1946 the slinky was at the American Toy Fair.
It took James a few years to find steel wire that would coil, uncoil, and recoil with the grace of a dancer. In the meantime his wife was looking all through the dictionary trying to find a fitting name. She decided on Slinky because it meant “stealthy, sleek, and sinuous”. Then they used $500 of borrowed money and started making Slinkys.