The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford

The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford

The Marvelous Thing That Came From a Spring: The Accidental Invention of the Toy That Swept the Nation by Gilbert Ford; illustrated by Gilbert Ford; photography by Greg Endries. 2016. “Drawn and colored digitally with found objects into dioramas, and photographed.”

Brief summary: Richard James worked as an engineer of the U.S. Navy in 1943 trying to invent an object that would keep ship equipment from vibrating when on the rough seas. A torsion spring fell onto his desk and bounced in an interesting way. He took it home where his son dropped it on the stairs and was amused how it appeared to walk down the steps. His wife came up with the name slinky which means “graceful and curvy in movement.” Mr. James had four hundred made and took them to several toy stores until one allowed him to demonstrate how it worked selling all 400 in ninety minutes. The couple created more with its instant popularity and built a small factory.

Comments: Mrs. James took over at this point, as her husband left to do missionary work in Bolivia. She advertised the slinky on television, which I found one of the commercials on youtube along with the famous song from my own childhood days. Betty James was inducted into the Toy Industry Hall of Fame. Narrative nonfiction/biography. Author’s notes. I found the illustrations to be unique and interesting.

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