Toys | Life | 70s

Your Favorite Toys Were Invented By Mistake And They Weren't Even Meant To Be Toys

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We might like to think that all of our favorite toys were created with a lot of thought, care, and ingenuity, but often times they were complete accidents.

Several of the classic toys we were obsessed with when we were growing up weren't originally created with the intention of becoming a kid's toy, but once they made the switch, they became more successful than they could have ever imagined.

Here are the most iconic toys that you absolutely played with that had very different origins than what you'd expect:

Silly Putty

It's bouncy, stretchy, and all around fun, but where did it come from? Well, Silly Putty was created way back during World War II because there was a shortage of rubber. Researchers were trying to find an alternative, so they mixed silicone oil and boric acid and ended up with this bizarre substance.

It was non-toxic, bouncy, it could even pull ink off of newspapers, and it didn't mold. The one thing it couldn't do was replace rubber.

It wasn't until 1949 that toy store owner Ruth Falgatter discovered the substance and started marketing it as a toy. It didn't sell very well, at least not until she contacted a marketing consultant named Peter Hodgson who put it in plastic eggs and gave it the name Silly Putty.


Slinkys were invented after a Naval mechanical engineer named Richard James knocked over a prototype spring onto the floor. Apparently he saw it "walk" several times, stepping onto a stack of books and then onto the table and then onto the floor, before landing in a little pile like we all know that Slinkys do.

His wife Betty later revealed what he said after seeing that.  "He came home and said, 'I think if I got the right property of steel and the right tension; I could make it walk.'"

After trying different types of steel and tension, he finally found the perfect formula. He eventually came up with a faster way of processing them and was able to sell millions of them.

Those aren't the only toys that were invented by mistake...

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