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Metal slinky
Colored slinky

Slinky ( English to slink : sneak ), invented in 1945 by engineer Richard James of Philadelphia , is a toy made of a metal or plastic coil spring that animates on various games. For example, Slinky can go down stairs . The toy was born from the idea.

Flight of stairs

If the Slinky is set in motion on a staircase, it transfers the energy along its axis in a longitudinal wave . The spiral moves in a periodic motion, as if it were somersaulting .


In 1943 Richard James was working in his home laboratory near Philadelphia on the development of springs that could be used to hold delicate instruments on board ships and stabilize them even in rough seas. Once, when he accidentally knocked over one of his feathers, James discovered the stairwell.

After repeated experiments, he and his wife Betty realized the potential as toys; she christened it Slinky. In 1945 the two exhibited their first toy in the Gimbels Department Store in downtown Philadelphia, selling 400 Slinkys in 90 minutes.

The James founded James Industries in Hollidaysburg , Pennsylvania to market their product. Richard James invented machines that could wrap 80 feet of steel wire into a slinky in 10 seconds. By its 50th birthday in 1995, the company had sold over a quarter of a billion Slinkys worldwide using the same machines.

Reception in culture

The toy dog Slink or Slinkydog made a career in the Pixar film Toy Story .

Sebastian Krämer has dedicated the song Thing That Can Go Down the Stairs to Slinky .

Slinky in fashion

The term slinky is also used in fashion for slightly falling, soft clothing. There are slinky pants, skirts, dresses, jackets, T-shirts , tops and more. What they all have in common is that they are cut straight, made from soft, elastic jersey fabrics, do not fit snugly and, due to gravity, fall.

Web links

Commons : Slinky  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d The Slinky® (Inventor of the week archive). Massachusetts Institute of Technology , accessed December 28, 2012 .
  2. Ben Ikenson: Patents: Bubblewrap, Bottlecaps, Barbed Wire, and Other Ingenious Inventions: 150 Ingenious Inventions. Black Dog & Leventhal 2004, ISBN 978-1579123673 .
  3. History of the Slinky Toy
  4. Sebastian Krämer - Academy of Longing Tracklist. (No longer available online.) Http:// , archived from the original on March 2, 2017 ; accessed on March 1, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /