Richard James had one of those lucky accidents in history when he invented the Slinky coiled spring toy in 1943. James was a naval engineer working on a new type of tension spring for shipboard equipment. One day, he accidentally knocked a spring off a shelf and watched in amazement as it “walked” down the stairs instead of falling.
A Fluke and a Stampede
Richard James founded James Industries in Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania in 1946. The company’s first factory was located in a small building on Main Street. In 1952, James Industries moved to a larger factory on the outskirts of town. The factory in Clifton Heights continued to produce Slinky toys until 1964, when it was moved to Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.
The Slinky’s popularity continued to grow in the years that followed. In 1946, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade showcased the Slinky. In 1947, it became “Toy of the Year” according to the Toy Manufacturers of America.
The Slinky has been a popular toy for over 80 years. It has appeared in movies, television shows, and scientific experiments.
Trademark, Honors, and Ownership
In 2000, the National Toy Hall of Fame inducted the Slinky to its ranks.
Slinky is a trademark brand name. The trademark was first registered in 1946 by Richard and Betty James. The trademark has been owned by several different companies over the years, including:
James Industries (1946-1997)
Poof Products (1997-2004)
POOF-Slinky, LLC (2004-present)
The current owner of the Slinky trademark is POOF-Slinky, LLC, a company based in Fairfield, New Jersey.
Here are some additional facts about the Slinky:
The name “Slinky” came from Betty James, who found it in the dictionary. It means “stealthy, sleek, and sinuous.”
The original Slinky was made of 80 feet of spring steel.
Slinky can travel up to 3 feet per second when it is “walking” down stairs.
The Slinky has assisted in scientific experiments to study the properties of waves and energy.
In the early days, Richard James often appeared on TV shows to promote Slinky.
Slinky has appeared in such television shows as The Simpsons, Seinfeld, and The Big Bang Theory.
Over 40 countries around the world have sold Slinky.
Over 300 million Slinkys have been sold since the toy was first introduced.
- Year Started: 1944
- Year Ended: 2099
- Origin Of Name: “stealthy, sleek, and sinuous.”
- Location Sales: Worldwide
- Brand Name Predecessor: N/A
- Brand Name Successor: N/A
- Owner Original: Richard and Betty James
- Owner While In Use: James Industries
- Owner Successor: POOF-Slinky, LLC
- Year Resurrected: N/A
- What’s Popular Today: Slinky
- Naics Code: 339930
- Location Headquarters: Clifton Heights, Pennsylvania USA