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Make Silly Putty Stretch Pictures!

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Silly Putty began life not as a toy, but more as a mistake that a General Electric engineer made on his way to devising a substitute for rubber. GE's James Wright combined boric acid and silicone oil and produced a congealed mess. Not suitable to replace the rubber in tires and tanks (as the War Protection Board of the 1940s had hoped), the putty was nonetheless not without some talents. It bounced higher and more forcefully than rubber; it stretched farther; it withstood decay longer; and it could lift images from the pages of newspapers and comic books. The putty made the circuit of cocktail parties and adult gatherings for a few years before Peter Hodgson, a marketing consultant, packaged small quantities of the substance in plastic eggs and sold it as Silly Putty. Sales remained sluggish until a mention of Silly Putty appeared in "The New Yorker" magazine in 1950. Within three days of the magazine hitting the newsstand, orders for Silly Putty topped 250,000 eggs. And orders have hardly subsided since: by the mid-1990s, more than 200 million eggs of Silly Putty had been sold.

  • Manufacturer: Silly Putty
  • Material: printed paper
  • Origin: New Haven, CT
  • Object ID: 110.9388
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